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Little in the life of the great Persian mystic poet Hafez (or Hafiz) is known for certain. Various dates for his birth and death are cited, generally between 1310-1326 and 1388-1390 respectively, and the many stories posing as biography are mostly unverified traditional anecdote. For all his success as a court poet, he faced (it seems) a number of political, professional and personal upheavals, including war, self-imposed exile, unrequited love, and the death of his wife and son.  Nonetheless, he brought to Persia’s already mature romantic lyrical tradition perhaps the most consummate and inventive realisation of the ghazal. In Iran, his Divan is to be found in the majority of homes. The poetry is recited by heart and is used in bibliomancy.  Translations and imitations of his works flourish across the world, and his tomb in the Musalla Gardens (in Shiraz, his birthplace) is a famous site of pilgrimage.

Mario Petrucci's translation, Beloved: 81 poems from Hafez, is published by Bloodaxe in September 2018.


Books by Hafez


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