Chasm. Mist. Dark Song. Hour of Execution. Behind the Wall. These are just some of the poetic titles of Ahmad Shamlu (1925–2000) that together form the cipher to one of the most powerful figures in modern world literature.
Brought together here in translation for the first time, these selected works provide a gateway to the paradoxical imagination of an author who traverses immense distances of oblivion & light. On the one hand, Shamlu is known as a poet of night-raids & prison cells, dead-ends & burial orations, one for whom endlessly doomed horizons always keep him close to themes of martyrdom, fatality, rage, atrocity, & struggle.
And yet, he is also the writer immortalised under the pen-name “Daybreak,” a figure of illumination and ecstatic intensity who once declared himself the “vanguard of the sun” and who threatened to “hang the devil’s lantern from the porch of every hidden torture chamber of this oppressive paradise.”
In a space caught between honour-codes and devastation, futility and apotheosis, one finds the poetic verses of Shamlu as among the first in a bloodline unbound-by-world.
Ahmad Shamlu, Born Upon the Dark Spear (2015)
Translated by Jason Bahbak Mohaghegh
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