SOHRAB SEPEHRI was born in 1928 on a journey between Kashan, his family's home, and Qum. An acclaimed painter, Sepehri published eight books of poetry during his lifetime and traveled widely throughout the world, including Europe, South Asia, the Middle East, China and Japan, the United States and South America. Many of his poems were influenced by his relationship with nature, and his studies of Eastern philosophy and visual arts and were often composed in a cadence similar to spoken language, considered a radical innovation at the time. Sepehri died in 1980 and in Iran is considered to be one of the most important poets of the twentieth century.
KAZIM ALI is the author of numerous books of poetry, fiction and essays, including most recently Bright Felon: Autobiography and Cities, Orange Alert: Essays on Poetry, Art and the Architecture of Silence, and Fasting for Ramadan: Notes from a Spiritual Practice. He teaches at Oberlin College in the Creative Writing and Comparative Literature programs and in the Stonecoast MFA Program.
MOHAMMAD JAFAR MAHALLATI is currently Presidential Scholar in Islamic Studies at Oberlin College. He served as Iran's ambassador to the United Nations from 1987 to 1989 and successfully negotiated a peace agreement to end the war between Iran and Iraq. His scholarship has focused on Islamic and Sufi poetry and most recently on the philosophy of friendship. Mahallati has published in The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, the International Herald Tribune and other papers.