Persian Poetry Through the Ages: From Rumi & Hafez to Forough Farrokhzad & Kaveh Akbar

Persian Poetry Through the Ages: From Rumi & Hafez to Forough Farrokhzad & Kaveh Akbar

Take inspiration from a poetic tradition filled with imaginative verse and spanning more than eight centuries.

Poetry written in the Persian language, also known as Farsi, has a rich history that dates back hundreds of years. While Rumi is probably the best-known Persian poet in the English-speaking world – translations of his work have turned him into a U.S. bestseller – there are many other Persian poets that deserve readers’ and writers’ attention.   

In this course, we will focus on English translations of some of the most well-known Persian poets of the past, including Rumi and Hafez, and then read modern and contemporary poetry that has stemmed from Persian traditions. Although Farsi is an official language in modern-day Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan, we will mainly look at work by 20th century Iranian poets such as Forough Farrokhzad, as well as contemporary Iranian-American poets like Kaveh Akbar and Solmaz Sharif, as these are most readily available in English.   

Throughout the course, readings will be accompanied by prompts based on ideas and forms explored in Persian poetry to inspire contemporary poets to learn from a tradition that spans more than two centuries and is filled with imaginative verse which, whether it was written in the 1200s or 2000s, still feels fresh today. 

5 fortnightly sessions over 10 weeks. No live chats. Suitable for UK & International students.

To apply for a concessionary rate, please send relevant documentation showing your eligibility for one of our concessions to [email protected] Conditions of eligibility are detailed here. More information about how all our online courses work can be found on the Online Courses page.

Image Credit: Yasin Abbasi

About Natasha Hakimi Zapata View Profile

Natasha Hakimi Zapata is a poet, journalist, university lecturer, and literary translator whose work has appeared on The Nation, Los Angeles Review of Books, In These Timesand elsewhere. She has received numerous awards for her creative writing, journalism, and literary criticism, and holds a Creative Writing M.F.A. from Boston University and both a B.A. in Spanish and a B.A. in English with a creative writing concentration from the University of California, Los Angeles. In 2016, Literal Publishing released full-length bilingual editions of her translations of Alicia Borinsky’s My Husband’s Woman and Liliana Lukin’s Theater of Operations. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter at @natashakimiz. 

‘I return to Poetry School courses again and again because they are so accessible online. The tutors are published poets who prepare excellent resources and original prompts. You meet new people, share ideas and write more and better poems. There is always something different to explore and to learn.’

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