For almost a thousand years, cultured Muslims from many regions of the world turned for inspiration and solace to the Persian mystical poetry of the Sufis. Originating in medieval Iran and Afghanistan, these poems spread as far as the Balkans, Bengal and beyond, shaping the religious and cultural life of South and Central Asia no less than the Middle East. In this podcast, we’ll be introduced to the most important poets and their main spiritual themes, brought alive by sample verses recited in the original Farsi and English translation. Whether the celebrated Rumi or lesser known mystics like Sana’i and Bidel, we’ll ask why we should still read these poets today. Nile Green talks to Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak, the author of Recasting Persian Poetry: Scenarios of Poetic Modernity in Iran (University of Utah Press, 1995).

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