First Iranian Poet who opened up Exciting Vistas of New Persian Poetry


M. Saadat Noury
by M. Saadat Noury

Among many Iranian poets who shaped up the New Persian Poetry or New Poetry (in Persian: Sher-e Know), Ali Esfandiari, aka Nima Yooshij, Parviz Natel Khanlari, Nader Naderpor, Forough Farrokhzad, Mehdi Akhavan Saless, Sohrab Sepehri, Feraydoon Moshiri, Siavosh Kasraii, Ahmad Shamloo, Hooshang Ebtehaaj, and Mohammad Reza Shaffii Kadkani are considered to be the most famous, skillful, and professional ones. Though Nima Yooshij (1896-1960) is known as the Father of New Persian Poetry, aka Nimaii Poetry or Sher-e Nimaii, according to a number of eminent and highly respected literary and poetry scholars Nader Naderpour is considered as the first Iranian poet who opened up exciting vistas of the new Persian poetry. In this article the life story and the works of Nader Naderpour (NN) are studied and discussed.

HIS LIFE: NN was born on 6 June 1929 in Tehran, Iran. His parents were both fluent in French with a deep love for art, music and history. His father’s name was Taghi Mirza who was a descendant of Reza Gholi Mirza, the oldest son of Nader Shah Afshar. The eldest of two brothers and three sisters, NN grew up under the supervisions and cares of his culturally rich parents. His dad, who died when NN was only fourteen, was a skillful painter and also a man familiar to poetry and literature. It was the dad who taught young NN the Persian literature, and the classic poetry. When he was a preschooler, NN would sit on his father’s lap and be encouraged to read the newspaper every night. His father also had NN to memorize old and modern poetry. His mother was a talented player of the string instrument of tar, and she helped NN to develop an appreciation for music.

In 1942 during the Second World War (WWII), NN entered Iran-Shahr High School of Tehran. A year later when Iran was occupied by the Allied military forces, NN like many other students of the time, got involved in the field of politics, and he firstly participated in a small nationalist party group. Later, he joined the Tudeh Party of Iran (TPI), which became the major Communist Party of the country. Like Nima, NN also published a number of poems in the Journals such as People (in Persian: Mardom), Leader (in Persian: Rahbar), and Our Iran (in Persian: Iran-e Maa), which were all supported by TPI at the time.

It is documented that by the time NN was graduated from high school in 1948, he had already left the Party. In fact, since 1946 NN was sad and unhappy over the Azerbaijan crisis, and like many other nationalist students, he was convinced that Soviet Communism could not make any provision for the independent nationalist communist movements in other countries. Subsequently, NN challenged wholeheartedly to ensure that Iran’s parliamentary elections would be open, honest, and fair. He therefore became sympathetic to the National Front Organization (in Persian: Jebheh-e Melli) and its leader, Mohammad Mosadegh, and other nationalist champions in those elections.

In 1950 NN was sent to Paris, France, to continue his education on French Language and Literature at the Sorbonne University. During his stay in Paris, he not only became a freelance writer for various publications but he also wrote for the Third Force Party (in Persian: Nirooy-e Sevoom), which Iranian ideologue and writer Khalil Maleki had established within the umbrella of the National Front Organization in Iran. After receiving his BA degree, NN returned to Tehran and started working in the private sector.

In 1960 NN arranged the first modernist Persian poetry reading in Tehran, held at the Cultural Society of Iran & America (in Persian: Anjoman-e Farhangi-e Iran-o Aamrica). Later, he worked as a consultant at the Office of Dramatic Arts of the Ministry of Arts and Culture (in Persian: Vezaarat-e Farhang-o Honar). He was also appointed as the Editor of Theater Magazine (in Persian: Majaleh-e Namayesh), and as the Editor-in-Chief of the Monthly Journal of Art and People (in Persian: Honar-o Mardom).

In 1964 NN traveled to Europe. In Rome, he continued his studies on the Italian Language and Literature. He also spent sometimes in Paris, studying French Cinema, and devoting time to his own poetry.

In 1968, NN became one of the thirty or so founding members of the first Association of Writers of Iran (in Persian: Kaanoon-e Nevisandegaan-e Iran). He was also one of its Manifesto’s signatories, along with several other famous Iranian writers and poets. When Jalal All-e Ahmad, the driving force behind the Association, died in 1969, the Association chose NN to speak on its behalf at the interment ceremony. For two consecutive years NN was elected as a member of the steering committee for the Association of Writers of Iran. Later on, in 1977, he decided not to participate in the rejuvenation of the Association due to differences of opinion.

In 1971, NN took over as the director of Contemporary Literature Department (in Persian: Gorooh-e Adab-e Emrooz) in the Iranian National Radio and Television, where he directed many programs on the life and works of contemporary literary figures. NN fled the Iranian Revolution in 1980 for France and resided there until 1987. He was elected to France’s Authors Association, and participated in several conferences and gatherings. In 1987, he moved to California, USA. During his residence in the USA, NN gave several speeches and lectures at Harvard University, Georgetown University, UCLA, and UC Berkeley. NN was considered as the first Iranian poet who opened up exciting vistas of the new Persian poetry, and he was regarded as one of the leaders of the movement for the New Poetry or Sher-e Know in Iran and among other Persian speaking nations like Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Pakistan.

HIS WORKS: NN is well known for his extensive research on Iran's contemporary poetry, and also his thorough, insightful analyses of Iranian poets (Hafez, Ferdowsi, Khayyam, Molawi Rumi, and many others). In addition, he is recognized for his perceptive commentaries on Iran's recent history and his astute observations on Iranians' cultural and political challenges. NN published his first poems in the 1940s and completed four collections by the 1970s. He published various collections of poems, many of them translated into English, French, German, and Italian. Here is the list of his publications:

Eyes and Hands (in Persian: Cheshm-haa-o Dast-haa): (1954)
Daughter of the Cup (in Persian: Dokhtar-e Jaam): (1955)
The Grape Poem (in Persian: Sher-e Angoor): (1958)
Collyrium of the Sun (in Persian: Sormeh-e Khorsheed): (1960)
Not Plant and Stone, but Fire (in Persian: Giaah-o Sang Nah, Aatash): (1978)
From the Sublime to the Ridiculous (in Persian: As Aasemaan taa Rissmaan): (1978)
The Last Supper (in Persian:Shaam-e Baazpaseen): (1978)
False Dawn (in Persian: Sobh-e Drooghin): (1982)
Blood and Ash (in Persian: Koon-o Khaakestar): (1989)
Earth and Time (in Persian: Zamin-o Zaman): (1996)

In the introduction to his tenth and last collection of poems, Earth and Time, NN noted that, [Poems come from “Heaven” and remain alien on “Earth”; instead of “place” they deal with “nature” and instead of “time” they deal with “history.” A poet who leaves his country and migrates to an alien land talks about his new home in terms of his original homeland. With his words he pictures the nature of his homeland, and instead of speaking of the “past” or the “future,” he links “history” with “eternity.” For an exiled poet the images of his homeland will always stay alive, but the homeland’s history, as well as its present, will be (for him) “eternity”].

The poems composed by NN are rich in imagery and deeply imbedded in the texture of Persian language. NN was an imagist, a wordsmith in one, and he ultimately was a classic poet living in a modern world, in a modern style.

NN also published a large number of scholarly and research papers on Iran’s politics, culture, history, and literature in various Print Journals and Magazines such as Iran-Shenasi, Mehregan, Sokhan, and Rahavard as well as in many different Online Jourmals.

NN was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature and was awarded the Human Rights Watch Hellman-Hammett Grant (HHG) in 1993. HHG is mostly awarded to the writers in exile whose works are banned in their own homelands.

SAMPLES OF HIS POETRY: Here are some parts of the poems composed by NN and translated in English by Farhad Mafie, and this author (MSN):
The Winter Homily

“O, the fire that flames from inside the night
rises to dance,
but turns to stone by morning
O, the memory of the earth’s seething anger
in the days when the sky’s rage was spreading.
O, the sense of pride
O, the point where epics begin and end
O, the magnificent summit of old epics
O, the house of Ghobad!
O, the stony nest, the destiny of the phoenix
O, the land of Zal the Champion’s childhood”: Farhad Mafie (Los Angeles, 2000).
View the complete Persian Text on the comment section below

“In the midst of the battle, we understood
The words were not able and never could
Get the job done as it really should
And seize a very great raiding road”: MSN (Montreal, 2006).
The Persian verses composed by NN read as follows:
Maa dar miyaan-e mahlekeh daanestim
Kaz vajeh kaar vijeh nemi-aayad
In harbeh raa tavaan-e tahaajom nist

View the complete Persian Text

HIS END: Sadly, NN died from a heart atack in his Los Angeles home on Friday 18 February 2000, at 11:00 AM. Visitors to the Los Angeles area often pay their respects to NN by visiting his gravesite located at Westwood Village Memorial Park and Mortuary, 1218 Glendon Avenue.

Shortly after NN passed away, his widow Jaleh Bassiri established the Naderpour Foundation in Los Angeles. The aim of the Naderpour Foundation is to promote cross-cultural studies and comparative approaches to East-West literary tradition by focusing on the late poet's legacy.

EPILOGUE: Here are the various remarks about NN and his poetry as cited by some Iranian scholars and researchers:

“In my opinion, Naderpour’s poems are lasting poems. Undoubtedly, his works will be counted among the classics in the Persian language. In the last twenty years we owe thanks to Naderpour for many expressions that have now become popular and universal, such as the sadness of exile, being cut from our own roots, disheartened by the homeland that is being traumatized. In addition, he has given life to his poems through his beautiful descriptions, and through new, effective explanations he has made apparent to us the ambiguous, complex conditions of our own hidden conscience. His poem is the poem of our sadness, our worries, our hopes, and our disappointments”: Ehsan Yarshater (2001).

“Naderpour supported the three principles established by Nima. First, he believed that like natural or conversational speech, poetry must convey the meaning; the number of words as well as the simplicity or complexity of the phraseology must be dictated by the requirement of the expression of the thought being expressed. In other words, he believed that the phrases expressing single thoughts do not have to be of the same length. Secondly rhythm, Naderpour believed, need not follow an established, monotonous form. Rather, like natural speech, it should be allowed to vary depending on the requirements of the thought structure being expressed. Thirdly, rhyme must appear at the end of each completed thought pattern. Rather than forced on thought segments, Naderpour believed, rhyme must serve as a unifier; it must join complete thought segments and present them as a cohesive expression of the poet's sentiments”: Iraj Bashiri (2008).

“Naderpour loved to talk about what was going on in Iran as long as you could talk on the same level": Farhad Mafie (2000).

"Naderpour made it very easy and approachable for younger people who've been away from their culture. His death was the perfect definition of a tragedy": Parastoo Izad Seta (2000)

Nader Naderpour will never be forgotten and his words and work will live on forever.

Manouchehr Saadat Noury, PhD

Bashiri, I. (2008): Online Article on “Nader Naderpur’s Life”.
Mafie, F. (2001): Online Article on “A Brief Biography of Nader Naderpour: An Iranian Poet, Thinker, and Patriot who Died in Exile”.
Mafie, F. (2002): Online Article on “Nader Naderpour Lives On”.
Saadat Noury, M. (2006): Online English Translations of Naderpour’s Poem on “Awareness”.
Saadat Noury, M. (2008): Online Article on First Iranian Scholar in Persian Language and Literature: Parviz Natel Khanlari.
Sarhaddi Nelson, S. (2000): Iranian Community Mourns an Idol, ed., Los Angeles Times, Memorials on 25 February 2000.
Various Sources (2010): Articles, Notes, and News on Nader Naderpour.
Wikipedia Enctclopedia (2010): Online Note on Nader Naderpour (in English and in Persian).
Yarshater, E. (2001): Remarks about Nader Naderpour, Kaveh Magazine (Germany), No. 90.

Read more about Iranian poets on FIRST IRANIANS

Read more about Naderpour in Persian: دهمین سالگرد درگذشت نادر نادرپور 


more from M. Saadat Noury
Homan Mohabadi Ebrahimi

Homily of Departure (Khotbeheh Azimat)

by Homan Mohabadi Ebrahimi on

I also liked the Poem of the Homily of Departure (Khotbeheh Azimat) that you posted on your other article about Naderpour. Thank you for sharing.

Homan Mohabadi Ebrahimi

Good to Know

by Homan Mohabadi Ebrahimi on

It is always very nice & refreshing to read your writings. It is good to know that Naderpour used to wrote for the Third Force Party which Khalil Maleki had established within the umbrella of the National Front Organization.

M. Saadat Noury

Thanks to Yolanda, Anahid, and R2-D2

by M. Saadat Noury on

یاد و شعر و سخن و گفتار نادر نادر پور پس از گذشت یک دهه همچنان زنده و جاودانه است



Dear Dr. Noury

by R2-D2 on

A very interesting blog, Thank you

I think you may enjoy this

"خطبـه هلاک": شعر: نادر نادرپور، دكلمه: استاد جمشيد فرزانفر





by yolanda on

Thank you for your exhaustive research on NN's life. A very interesting blog. Here is NN' Homily of Perdition poem:


Anahid Hojjati

Dear Ostaad Noury, thanks for your excellent blog on Naderpour

by Anahid Hojjati on


Dear Ostaad Saadat Noury, thanks for your excellent blog on Nader Naderpour. Now you have motivated me to read more of his works.  Growing up, if my memory serves me right, somehow I did not think of Naderpour to be as Nimaii as others like Akhavan, Forough, and Shamloo. Later on, when Naderpour was in exile, I read cople of his poems and it seemed to me that they had become more biting.  What I am writing here is based only on reading few of Naderpour 's works and now after your blog, I understand that I do need to learn more about place of Naderpour in Persian poetry.



by yolanda on

                The Winter Homily

              Translated By Farhad Mafie

  • O, the fire that flames from inside the night!
  • rises to dance,
  • but turns to stone by morning!
  • O, the memory of the earth’s seething anger
  • in the days when the sky’s rage was spreading.
  • O, the sense of pride!
  • O, the point where epics begin and end!
  • O, the magnificent summit of old epics!
  • O, the house of Ghobad !
  • O, the stony nest, the destiny of the phoenix!
  • O, the land of Zal  the Champion’s childhood!
  • O, the astonishing summit!
  • O, the anonymous grave of the unfortunate Jamshid!
  • O, the cliff of anguish of Zahhak the Black-Hearted!
  • O, he who was thrown into his brother’s well!
  • But the king’s crown
  • at the moment of the fall
  • was saved for the world from the well’s narrow pass.
  • O, the white summit on the horizon of childhood!
  • So like a whitened sugar cone on blue paper.
  • O, the summit new in appearance to the poet’s imagination!
  • Like a gigantic stone that lasts forever!
  • I am, on a night when even the crickets are sleeping,
  • the loneliest voice in the world,
  • never reaching anyone else, from any direction.
  • I am, in the frozen silence of this dark night,
  • the loneliest voice and the loneliest person,
  • lonelier than God
  • working on the numinous creation of the world,
  • lonelier than the stars’ praying sound
  • along the hands of speechless trees,
  • lonelier than the breeze’s morning anthem
  • in the city of sleepers.
  • You, O, far summit!
  • In the beginning of the upcoming spring,
  • will the loneliest voice in the world
  • be allowed to echo in your quietness?
  • Will my lost voice, panting,
  • be able to find a path to your height?
  • Will your cold mouth, by my warm tune,
  • be able to erupt again?
  • Ah, O, the tranquil and the virtuous!
  • O, the dour wintry face!
  • O, the angry lion!
  • Will I, from the small door of this strange exile,
  • again see the rising of the sun
  • from your summit peak?
  • Will I be able to see you again?

M. Saadat Noury

Persian Version of Winter Homily

by M. Saadat Noury on

خطبه ی زمستانی
 ای آتشی که شعله کشان از درون شب
 برخاستی به رقص
 اما بدل به سنگ شدی در سحرگهان
ی یادگار خشم فروخورده ی زمین
در روزگار گسترش ظلم آسمان
ای معنی غرور
نقطه ی طلوع و غروب حماسه ها
ای کوه پر شکوه اساطیر باستان
ای خانه ی قباد
 ای آشیان سنگی سیمرغ سرنوشت
ای سرزمین کودکی زال پهلوان
 ای قله ی شگرف
گور بی نشانه ی جمشید تیره روز
ای صخره ی عقوبت ضحک تیره جان
ای کوه ، ای تهمتن ، ای جنگجوی پیر
ای آنکه خود به چاه برادر فرو شدی
 اما کلاه سروری خسروانه را
 در لحظه ی سقوط
از تنگنای چاه رساندی به کهکشان
 ای قله ی سپید در آفاق کودکی
چون کله قند سیمین در کاغذ کبود
 ای کوه نوظهور در اوهام شاعری
 چون میخ غول پیکر بر خیمه ی زمان
من در شبی که زنجره ها نیز خفته اند
تنهاترین صدای جهانم که هیچ گاه
از هیچ سو ، به هیچ صدایی نمی رسم
من در سکوت یخ زده ی این شب سیاه
تنهاترین صدایم و تنهاترین کسم
تنهاتر از خدا
در کار آفرینش مستانه ی جهان
تنهاتر از صدای دعای ستاره ها
در امتداد دست درختان بی زبان
تنهاتر از سرود سحرگاهی نسیم
 در شهر خفتگان
 هان ، ای ستیغ دور
ایا بر آستان بهاری که می رسد
 تنهاترین صدای جهان را سکوت تو
کان انعکاس تواند داد ؟
 ایا صدای گمشده ی من نفس زنان
راهی به ارتفاع تو خواهد برد ؟
 ایا دهان سرد تو را ، لحن گرم من
آتشفشان تازه تواند کرد ؟
آه ای خموش پاک
ای چهره ی عبوس زمستانی
 ای شیر خشمگین
ایا من از دریچه ی این غربت شگفت
بار دگر برآمدن آفتاب را
از گرده ی فراخ تو خواهم دید ؟
ایا تو را دوباره توانم دید ؟

نادر نادرپور