cover image The Mirror of My Heart: A Thousand Years of Persian Poetry

The Mirror of My Heart: A Thousand Years of Persian Poetry

Edited and trans. from the Persian by Dick Davis. Mage, $45 (340p) ISBN 978-1-949445-05-3

Davis, a poet, scholar, and translator of Persian literature, delivers an anthology that provides ample context for readers looking to explore Persian poetry written by women from the Middle Ages to the present. “A significant feature of Persian poetry,” Davis writes, “that distinguishes it from most verse written in European language is that almost all of it—from the earliest poems, to the present day—remains relatively accessible to a contemporary speaker.” Among the contemporary poets included in the anthology is Pegah Ahmadi (born in 1974), an Iranian political refugee and one of the translators of Sylvia Plath into Persian. “Why in the depths of no-progress is nothing moving?” she asks in an untitled poem. “Language is a cutting off of terror/ look, blood doesn’t flow from the wrist,/ and neither does it clot/ and I, whose eye was an open history of intensity,/ throw a razor into the abyss.” With its subtle, comprehensive history of how female poets have responded to political upheaval throughout the centuries, this work provides readers with a thoughtful and thorough introduction to Persian poetry, and the important role that women have played in shaping it. (Oct.)