You're still a bud, yet hundreds of nightingales surround you.
Hafez is Iran's most beloved, most highly revered, and most frequently quoted lyric poet. He was born in Shiraz circa 1320 and died around 1390. Not much is known about his life except the most general facts. Son of a merchant, Hafez was well educated, married, and had a son. After his talent for poetry became apparent, Hafez became the court poet for most of the rulers of Shiraz during his lifetime.
In Iran Hafez is known by the following name, Khajeh Shams ad-Din Mohammad Hafez-e Shirazi. The word Khajeh is a term of respect which is awarded to someone who embodies wisdom and learning. Shams ad-Din literally means "sun of religion" and was also a descriptive phrase signifying his expertise in the Qu'ran. Mohammad is Hafez's given name. The term "Hafez" is an honorary title given to someone who has memorized the entire Qu'ran. Hence, Hafez's pen name is derived from his knowledge about the Qu'ran. The Shirazi at the end of the name alerts the reader to the poet's hometown. Hafez is believed to have spent most of his life in Shiraz, except for one or two incidents when he was exiled.
Hot off the press, the Spring/Summer issue of the Atlanta Review is devoted to new poetry from post-revolution Iran and its diaspora, and is edited by the Levantine Review's poetry editor, Sholeh Wolpé. We present here a preview with three select poems from this wide-ranging collection. Order your print copy of the Atlanta Review's special Iran issue.
In Praise of Big Noses
I am the only one of four sisters
who hasn't gone under the knife.
http://www.atlantareview.com/page50.htmlI resisted the pleas of my aunt and sisters
to become "more beautiful," "more you."
I've kept my stately proboscis
in-tact-choosing not to excise its grandeur.