Mirror of Dew: The Poetry of Alam-taj Zhale Qa'em-Maqami

Mirror of Dew: The Poetry of Alam-taj Zhale Qa'em-Maqami

by Harvard

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Overview

Mirror of Dew introduces one of Iran's outstanding female poets, whose work has not previously been available in English. Zhāle Qā'em-Maqāmi (1883-1946) was a witness to pivotal social and political developments in Iran during its transition to modernity. Persian poetry at that time was often used polemically and didactically, for a mass audience, but Zhāle did not write to be published. The poems, like the mirror, samovar, and other familiar objects we find in them, appear to be the author's intimate companions.

Her poetry is deeply personal but includes social critique and offers a rare window into the impact of a modern awareness on private lives. Zhāle is biting in her condemnation of traditional Persian culture, and even of aspects of Islamic law and custom. She might be called the Emily Dickinson of Persian poetry, although Zhāle was married, against her will. Zhāle is far from the first female poet in Persian literature but is the first we know of to write with an interior, intimate voice about private life, her anxieties, her frustrated love, her feelings about her husband, and many topical issues. This volume presents the Persian text of Zhāle's poems on pages facing the English translations.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674428249
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 07/07/2014
Series: Ilex Series , #14
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Asghar Seyed-Gohrab is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Middle Eastern Studies at Leiden University.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

A Note on Translation, Transliteration, and References xi

Introduction: Life and Work 1

Persian Women Poets 7

A Historical Sketch of Zhale's Time 10

Zhale's Poetry 12

Themes in Zhale's Poetry: Her Husband 19

The Position of Women 29

Living in a Harem 36

Zhale as a Mother 38

The Samovar 43

The Mirror as a Companion 44

The Curler as a Companion 46

Conclusion 48

Zhale's Collected Poetry 51

A Message to Women of the Future 53

What Would Have Been? 55

Women and the Mirror 57

Depiction of Existence 59

Far from a Child 63

The Difference between Men and Women 65

Love and Benevolence 67

To Unborn Child 71

On Child's Death 73

Reproach to My Husband 75

The Dungeon of the Harem 81

A Mother's Duty 83

The Rights of Men and Women 85

The Night of Apprehensions 89

Love 91

Conversation with a Sewing Machine 93

Advice for the Sisters 97

Complaint against the Comb 99

Answering the Letter of a Friend 101

Sharing Pain with the Samovar' 105

Mother's Love 109

Longing for Love 111

A Favor from the Mirror 113

A Childish Judgment 117

Jealous 121

The Widow 127

A Memory of the Time I Was Married 131

Sharing Pain with a Mirror 133

A Picture in Golden Frame 139

Claiming Chastity 145

A Husband, Not an Intimate 147

A Fitting Husband 151

A Love Poem 153

Thoughts of a Concubine 155

Insult 159

Throwing Insults 163

After My Husband's Death 167

The Lover of Love 171

Predicting Women's Freedom 173

Impossible Love 177

Confession 179

Bandit 181

Hair Curler 185

Message to the Unborn 187

An Unstable Wish 191

Problem 193

A Serious Joke 195

The Trace of Oh 199

Far from the Child 199

Cutting the Hand 199

Bidding Farewell 199

A Firm Answer 201

Works Cited 203

Index 209

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