Why Persians Write such Great Poetry

Omar Khayyam and Hafiz – two poets who seem like old friends to me.

When I first encountered Persian poetry, I marvelled at how wonderful it was. One reason? It has an audience… a culture that celebrates, values — and funds –its expression:

— from “A Year with Hafiz” by Daniel Ladinsky. Excerpt from Henry S. Mindlin’s introduction. I highly recommend this book!

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from Flowers of Evil

Charles Baudelaire is acknowledged as the greatest French poet of the 19th century, and Flowers of Evil (Les Fleurs du Mal) is his great work. 

It’s regrettable that I can’t read French, but one thing that can provide lasting amusement is seeking out different translations for comparison. 

Here are two stanzas from A Madigral of Sorrow. This translation is by F.P. Sturm, and appears in the New Directions edition pictured below.