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The Neighbor Says

Nima Yushij and the Philosophy of Modern Persian Poetry
Nima Yushij, Mohammad-Reza Ghanoonparvar
ISBN: 978-1-58814-063-0
Format: Hardcover
Trim: 6 x 9 inches
Publication Date: 01/05/2009
Pages: 208
Language: English
Series: Studies in Persian Literature 2
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THE NEIGHBOR SAYS is a collection of the letters of Nima Yushij (1897-1960), the prominent twentieth-century Iranian poet who is regarded as the founder and father of modern Persian poetry. Nima Yushij devoted his life to his art and advocating his innovative style in poetry, mostly through his correspondences. The letters in The Neighbor Says are addressed to an imaginary neighbor or acquaintance. Although in many instances he comments on specific poems or stories that are assumed to have been sent to him by the person he addresses in his letters, it gradually becomes clear to the reader that “the Neighbor” might not exist at all and that he might be an alter ego of the poet, a device with which he can expound his ideas about poetry. The importance of the letters lies in the fact that Nima Yushij employs them as a vehicle through which to express his philosophy, ideas, and vision for a modern, innovative, and revolutionary approach to the art of poetry. In these letters which may serve as his “manifesto” for modern Persian poetry, Nima Yushij discusses, often in detail, what he means by modern prosody; why he more or less but not always abandons the classical rules of versification; how his vision and understanding of modern life and modern man differs from that of his predecessors i.e., Persian poetic giants such as Rumi, Hafez, Sa‘di, Ferdowsi, and Nezami. This is the literary tradition that Nima Yushij challenges. He challenges the traditions in the society and the traditional ways not only by writing poetry that sounds strange and unfamiliar, almost difficult to understand, as many of his contemporary readers were inclined to believe, and breaking the traditional rules of prosody and diction, but also introducing his own rules of prosody and a new poetic vocabulary. The volume also includes an essay on an important, usually neglected, aspect of the writings of Nima Yushij, namely his short stories, which should be considered indispensable to an understanding and appreciation of his poetry.


MR GhanoonparvarM. R. GHANOONPARVAR is Professor of Persian and Comparative Literature and Persian Language at the University of Texas at Austin. He has published widely on Persian literature and culture in both English and Persian and is also the author of Prophets of Doom: Literature as a Socio-Political Phenomenon in Modern Iran; In a Persian Mirror: Images of the West and Westerners in Iranian Fiction; Translating the Garden; Reading Chubak; and Persian Cuisine: Traditional, Regional and Modern Foods. His translations include Jalal Al-e Ahmad’s By the Pen, Sadeq Chubak’s The Patient Stone, Simin Daneshvar’s Savushun, and Sadeq Hedayat’s The Myth of Creation and his edited volumes include Iranian Drama: An Anthology; In Transition: Essays on Culture and Identity in Middle Eastern Societies; Gholamhoseyn Sa’edi’s Othello in Wonderland and Mirror-Polishing Storytellers; and Moniru Ravanipur’s Satan Stones and Kanizu.

The photograph of Nima Yushij on the dust jacket (© 2004 Hadi Shafaieh) is courtesy of Hadi Shafaieh, the well known Iranian photographer.



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