Outdated Humanism and Literary Authority as Threats to the Popularity of Ahmad Shāmlu’s Poetry

Saeid Rezvani

Abstract


Shāmlu belongs to the few poets of the modern Persian poetry, who can be called neoclassical, namely, those whose work has a distinctive character and who are influential in the history of modern Persian literature. These special characteristics of Shāmlu’s poetic features together with his socio-cultural and political vision as manifested in his poems had excessively allowed for his oeuvre to be popularized, forming a large crowd of admirers who even tried to mythologize his character and art. Shāmlu’s enthusiastic admirers, moreover, insist that his poetry is everlasting and even immortal. This article claims that critics should not function as judges of history, declaring a contemporary work of art as an immortal artefact. To this light, the article will argue that Shamlu’s innovation in poetry is not just linguistic, but rather an element that signifies his intellectual superiority. Moreover, the article examines two characteristics of Shāmlu’s poetry, which could probably endanger the popularity of his poems with future generations. It, therefore, first explores the authoritative position of the poet vis-à-vis his audience; and then examines the special relationship of humans with nature.
INTRODUCTION
In the modern Persian poetry, Ahmad Shāmlu is best seen as a neo-classist whose poetry bears a distinctive structural quality, allowing for the work and at once the poet to emerge as historico-literary markers. The elements that had pushed Shāmlu’s poetry to such literary significance are as follows:
- Shāmlu is one of the few poets with a distinctive language of his own. While some scholars find Nimā Yushij as the progenitor of modern Persian poetry, Shāmlu belongs to a minor crowd with a rather personal and particular language and lingual authority. Shāmlu’s take on language, the sort which is regarded as a combination of the 4th and 5th century prose (Barāhani, Qāleb-e sheʻr-e Shāmlu, p. 895) with contemporary features and even slangs and colloquial discourse (Rezvani, pp. 179, 185-187), appears as one of the accepted poetic languages of the modern Persian poetry. Considering the notable number of current modern Persian poets who had borrowed from “linguistically authoritative” poets, one can understand Shāmlu’s


Keywords


Modern Persian Poetry, Ahmad Shāmlu’s Poetics, Requirements of Authority in Poetry, Humanism in Poetry, Demythologization of Shamlu’s Poetic Authority, Poetics of Modern Persian Poetry

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