Nima Yushij


Nima Yushij (1895–1958) is the father of the modern Persian poem. Yushij brought about a revolution in poetic form, putting an end to the thousand-year domination of a poetic line with syllabically equal hemistiches (rather like old English verse), replacing it with a new form of poetry, called ‘Nimayi’ poetry, much like blank verse in its effect. His greatest contribution to poetry lay in his radically different conception of poetry. He bravely declared that Persian poetry had been dead for centuries.

Yushij was an admirer of French poetry, especially French symbolism. He is a poets’ poet, like Mallarmé who believed that the work of poetry was ‘negation’ – negation of the world external to
the poem and negation of poetic tradition. Nima never mentioned Mallarmé but his own specific treatment of poetry is not unlike Mallarmé’s. The most frequent motif in Nima’s poems is ‘night’ and his poems about night are among his best, especially the later poems which became ever shorter and more concentrated. This is one of his very last poems.

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