“It’s hard to exaggerate the importance of poetry in Iranian culture.”

‘Life is like a ball of wool’: how Iranian poetry brought me closer to my father: When I invited my father Bahram to read Persian verse over my music, neither of us were prepared for such an emotional reaction – Cyrus Shahrad – The Guardian – 6/18/2017

“It’s hard to exaggerate the importance of poetry in Iranian culture. As a child, my father was made to commit the ancient poets to heart, and their words continue to provide a moral template for his life, just as they do for much of Iranian society. I’ve seen many a Tehran dinner party end with my father and his friends seated around the table, bouncing lines of Hafez, Saadi or Rumi between each other – one man reciting, another picking up where his friend left off. There are minor humiliations for those who fumble or forget lines, and the whole thing is wrapped in an air of male bravado, but it’s also an experience shot through with emotional openness, and I’ve seen painful verses reduce grown men to tears.”

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