(1930-2000), modernist poet of 1960s-1990s, among the few of his contemporaries whose poems did not participate in the ideological discourse of the period in search of social justice and freedom, and whose rebellious discontent manifested itself more in his challenging of social norms and codes of behavior.
RAHMANI, NOSRAT (Noṣrat Raḥmāni, b. Tehran, 10 Esfand 1308 Š./1 March 1930; d. Rasht, 27 Ḵordād 1379 Š./16 June 2000), noted poet of the1960s-90s (Figure 1, Figure 2)
Nosrat Rahmani was born to Assadollāh Rahmani, an automobile mechanic with a keen interest in classical poetry, and Fāṭemeh Mirzāḵāni (Orand, p. 357). He finished his primary and secondary education in Nāṣer Ḵosrow and Adib schools (F. Rahmani, p. 21) and, after a short apprenticeship in a painting studio (Ḥariri, p. 85), enrolled in the School of Post and Telegraph in 1946. The principal of the school at the time was the eminent poet Pežmān-e Baḵtiāri, who, noting Rahmani’s literary talents, appointed him as the editor of the school’s newspaper (Ḥariri, Pp. 85-86; Orand, p. 357). Rahmani started writing poems at an early age. His first poem appeared in a newspaper called Šahbāz (Rahmani, 1991, p. 16), and later on in various papers and magazines.
In 1951 he was hired by the Ministry of Post and Telegraph, an association that did not last for long. He then embarked on an extensive involvement with print media as an income source. In this period he contributed serialized short stories to Omid-e-Irān, founded in 1949 by ʿAli Akbar Ṣafipur, and Sepid o siāh, founded in 1953 by ʿAli Behzādi. He was for a while in charge of the literary section of the Ferdowsi, a weekly magazine established by Neʿmatollāh Jahānbānuʾi in 1949 (Ḥariri, pp. 86-87; Orand, p. 357; idem, p. 146). As his introduction to Mi ʿād dar lajan (Rendezvous in the muck, Tehran, 1967; Figure 3) indicates, this might have contributed to his familiarity with Western poetry and to his later appropriation of Western motifs and imagery in several of his poems (for details, see Moḥammad Reżā Šafiʿi-Kadkani, Bā čerāḡo āiyneh: dar jost-o-ju-ye rišehā-ye taḥavvol dar šeʿr-e moʿāṣer-e Irān, Tehran, 2011, pp. 220-21).
His first collection of poems, entitled Kuč (Migration), was published in 1954, and enjoyed a second printing within a year. With the exception of few poems in Nimaic meters, most of the collection’s poems were composed in čahārpāreh (foursome), a quatrain sequence format much in vogue at the time. The collection, which included an encouraging letter addressed to the poet by Nimā Yušij, garnered commentary recognition by such critics as JalālĀl-e Aḥmad, as well as Hāj Sayyed Javādi, who commended Rahmani for his realistic style and explicit imagery (Hāj Sayyed Javādi, pp. 9-16). The article, which was originally published in Kāviān magazine, was later added to the second edition of this collection (Kuč, 2nd ed., 1955, pp. 13-16).
Čahārpāreh remains Rahmani’s meter of choice in most poems of Kavir (Desert, 1955), his second collection, which also includes a few poems in classical meters and two poems in modern Nimaic styles. The two collections were published in a volume as Kuč o kavir in 1970 (Figure 4). His third poetry collection, titled Termeh, was published in 1957 and, while consisting of several ḡazal, čahārpāreh, and do-bayti, exhibits an increasing bend toward modern Nimaic meters (Figure 5). Within the period 1959-1962, Rahmani, in cooperation with Ḥosayn Šāh-Zeydi and Šabnam Jahāngiri, participated in a weekly literary program broadcasted by Radio Arteš (The Army Radio; Orand, p. 358, Jahāngiri, p. 297).
Rahmani’s Mi ʿād dar lajan, in which čahārpāreh appears only sporadically, and Ḥariq-e bād (Fire in the wind, Tehran, 1970) are also marked by his adherence to Nimaic meters, while in his later collections, Šamšir, maʿšuqeh-ye qalam (Sword, the mistress of pen, Tehran, 1989), Piāleh dowr-e degar zad (The cup circled once again, Tehran, 1990), and Biveh-ye siāh (The black widow, Tehran, 2002), he opts for freer adaptations of Nimaic meters. Ḥariq-e bād, was the recipient of the ‘Poetry Award’ of the National TV Organization in 1971. Throughout these years Rahmani also cooperated with various journals, including Kayhan, and one of its offshoots, Majalleh-ye zan-e ruz (Women today), as the editor of their literary sections (Orand, pp. 357-65).Rahmani married Purān Širāzi in 1960 and had a son, Āraš. In 1964 he married Šādān ʿAlavi-Moqaddam with whom he had a daughter named Bārān. The marriage ended after two years (Šarifi, pp. 36-38). He spent the last years of his life in Rasht, where he lived with his first wife and their son (F. Rahmani, pp. 21-22; Orand, p. 360).
Rahmani’s literary career can be divided into two distinct and interrelated phases.
The influence of Fereydun Tavallali, among the period’s prominent advocates of the genre of čahārpāreh, is readily discernible in Rahmani’s first three poetry collections, Kuč,Kavir, and Termeh, which were published from 1954 to 1957 (Dastḡayb, 1974, p. 56; Bābāčāhi, p. 18). The collections, in line with the themes and motifs that had found dominant expression in the period’s literary production, were permeated with a looming fear of death, solitude, and anxiety (Nuriʿalāʾ, p. 230) and an explicit praise of wine, opium, and sinful love. However, his poems did not participate in the ideological discourse of the period in search of social justice and freedom, advocated by most of his contemporaries. Rahmani’s rebellious discontent manifested itself more in his challenging of social norms and codes of behavior and was best reflected in his embracing of disruptive sexual desires, and by extension, self destruction:
Bā man zani nešast ke labhāyaš
taf kardeh az lahib-e nafashā bud
Nā-āšnāḡonud kenār-e man
Ammā … če āšnā-ye havas-hā bud!
Man darḡobār-e jāduʾi češmaš
taṣviri azḵarābi-e ḵod didam.
Dar duzaḵ-e siāh-e šabi maḡmum
golhā-ye nang az tan-e učidam!
(Kuč, 1955, pp. 110-12)
Sat beside me a woman,
her lips burning with the flame of her breath.
Laid in my bosom, outlandishly,
yet so conversant in the language of desires.
In the enchanted dust of her eyes
I saw the image of my own desolation.
From her body, I harvested the flowers of shame,
in the murky hellhole of a gloomy night)
(Kuč, 1955, pp. 110-12)
Rahmani’s poetry in this phase, either in classical or Nimaic meters or in čahārpāreh, stays within the more conventional formats of the genres with no variations and fails to conjure up the studied language skills by which the poetry of such poets as Tavallali are recognized.
Rahmani’s reliance on the broken meters and unequal hemistiches of Nimaic poetry remains visibly dominant in Mi ʿād dar lajan and Ḥariq-e bād, the first two collections in the second phase of his literary repertoire. From Šamšir, maʿšuqeh-ye qalam onwards, however, he exhibits a progressive sensibility toward the internal rhythm of words and poetical phrases, resulting in an occasional deviation from recognizable meters or formats.
Vaqti asbāb-bāzihā-yemān rā migeraftand
nagahān geryeh mikardim
Dārim bozorg mišavim
va bahānehāmān barā-ye geryeh kardan
dārad tamām mišavad
(Biveh-ye siāh, 2006, p. 639)
When our toys were taken from us
we used to cry instantly
We are growing up
And will be soon left with no excuse to cry
Although he is among the few of his contemporaries whose poems did not participate in the ideological discourse of the period in search of social justice, Rahmani’s poetry yields to significant thematic changes in this phase, most notable among them the broadening sphere of his poetical sensibilities from personal issues to those more of public concern, which facilitates the readers’ identification with the poetical persona (Fotuḥi, p. 47). Corporeal love leaves the arena of his lyrical poems, and the image of woman is often accorded respect and admiration (e. g. “Shirin” and “Man āberu-ye ʿešqam,” Majmuʿeh-ye ašʿar, 2006, pp. 556-59, and 562-67, respectively). Disillusionment and anguish are more dominant in his poems of this period. He complains of failure and financial collapse (e.g.,“ Neron kojāst?” Majmuʿeh-ye ašʿar, 2006, pp. 435-36), deliberates on fatigue and pain (e.g.,“Az Bāmiān be Balḵ,” ibid., pp. 697-702), and ponders death (“Nirvānā,” ibid., pp. 568-69). In this period his poems, as held by a critic, mirror the sufferings of the people in an intimate and simple language (Dastḡayb, 1967, p. 23). Šamšir, maʿšuqeh-ye qalam, which consists of a single long poem, is laden with Rahmani’s seemingly uninformed criticism of Western history, culture, and science, and exhibits, in an intensely macabre overtone, his contentions with frustrated hopes and desires.
Rahmani’s Mardi ke darḡobār gom šod (The man who vanished in the dust, Tehran, 1958) is a collection of 28 novelistic compositions criticizing his own unrestrained lifestyle and his addiction to heroin—a book that he himself denies to be of any literary value (Rahmani, 1963, pp. 5-6).
Poetry collections of Nosrat Rahmani.
Biveh-ye siāh (The black widow), Tehran, 2002.
Ḥariq-e bād (Fire in the wind), Tehran, 1970.
Kavir (Desert), Tehran, 1955.
Kuč (Migration), Tehran, 1954.
Mi ʿād dar lajan, (Rendezvous in the muck), Tehran, 1967.
Piāleh dowr-e degar zad (The cup circled another round), Tehran, 1990.
Šamšir, ma ʿšuqeh-ye qalam (Sword, the mistress of the pen), Tehran, 1989.
Termeh, Tehran, 1957.
The collected poems were published as Noṣrat Raḥmāni: Majmuʿeh-ye ašʿar, Tehran, 2006 (Figure 6).
ʿAli Bābāčāhi, “Noṣrat Raḥmāni: ḵireh dar āiyneh-ye emruz,” Ādineh 47, Tir 1369 Š./July 1990, pp. 18-20.
ʿAbd-al-ʿAli Dastḡayb, “Noṣrat Raḥmāni, šāʿer-e moʿāṣer,” Payām-e novin 10/9, Farvardin-Ordibehešt 1353 Š./April-May 1974, pp. 55-63.
Idem, “Naqd-e Miʿād dar lajan,” Ferdowsi, no. 844, Bahman 1346 Š./February 1967, p. 23.
Aḥmad Fotuḥi, “Ḥariq-e bād: Šeʿr-e Noṣrat Raḥmāni,” Payām-e novin 6/62, Tir 1349 Š./July 1970, pp. 47-48.
Nāṣer Ḥariri, “Goft o šonudi bā Noṣrat Raḥmāni,” in idem, ed., Darbāreh-ye honar o adabiyāt: goft o šonudi bā MoḥammdʿAli Sepānlu, Noṣrat Raḥmāni, MoḥammadḤosayn Šahryār, Bābol, 1990, pp. 83-114.
Šabnam Jahāngiri, “Goft-o-gu bā Esmāʿil Rahā,” in Orand, ed., 2009, pp. 291-313.
Ḥāj Sayyed Javādi [no first name], Dabāreh-yeKuč, 2nd ed., Tehran, 1955, pp. 9-16.
Esmāʿil Nuriʿalā, ed., Ṣovar o asbāb dar šeʿr-e emruz-e Iran, Tehran, 1969.
Mehdi Orand, ed., Noṣrat Raḥmāni (Tāriḵ-e šafāhi-e adabiyāt-e moāʿṣer-e Iran, 6), Tehran, 2009.
Idem, “Goft-o-gu bā Šabnam Jahāngiri,” in Orand, ed., 2009, pp. 143-68.
Idem, “Goft-o gu bā Araš Raḥmāni,” in Orand, ed., 2009, pp. 27-96.
Farroḵ-laqā Raḥmāni, [no title], in Orand, ed., 2009, pp. 21-22.
Noṣrat Raḥmāni, Mardi ke darḡobār gom šod, 3rd ed., Tehran 1963.
Idem, “Man mirāṯdār-e Hedāyat budam na Nimā,” Ādineh 53, Dey 1369 Š./January 1991, pp. 16-21.
Moḥammad Reżā Šafiʿi-Kadkani, Bā čerāḡo āiyneh: dar jost-o-ju-ye rišehā-ye taḥavvol dar šeʿr-e moʿāṣer-e Iran, Tehran, 1390.
Fayż Šarifi, ʿEšq bar āstāneh: čand o čuni bā Noṣrat Raḥmāni, Shiraz, 2009.