TEHRAN (MNA) – September 18 is the death anniversary of Seyed Mohammad-Hossein Behjat-Tabrizi, better known by his pen-name Shahriar (1906-1988), who was a prominent Iranian poet.
Iranians honor his memory on this date every year, which has been named as the ‘National Day of Persian Poetry and Literature’.
Born on January 2, 1906, in a village near Tabriz City, East Azarbaijan Province, Shahriar’s passion for poetry was recognized at an early age. While still in high school in Tabriz, his first poems appeared at the school’s journal.
Initially, he published his poems under his given name, Behjat, but later chose the name Shahriar.
His first poetry collection ‘Divan-e Shahriar’ was published in Tehran in 1931, with introductions by celebrated poets and scholars such as Saʿid Nafisi, Ḥossein Pezhman-Baḵtiari, and Malek-al-Shoʿara Bahar, who praised his eloquent language, and his innovative and well-crafted imagery.
Although Shahriar wrote in various forms, including lyrics, quatrains, couplets, odes, and elegies, he composed some of his most appreciated poems in the traditional genre of ghazal. His poems are mainly influenced by Hafez, a well-known Iranian poet.
Shahriar’s lyrical poems could be divided into three broad categories of religious, panegyric, and love poems, although the lines between the three are blurred.
Azeri origin poet wrote poems in Azeri language, too. His most famous poem in Azeri language ‘Heydar-Babaya Salaam’ (Hello to Heydar-Baba) was published in 1954and has been translated into more than 30 languages.
Heydar Baba is the name of a mountain where the poet spent his childhood. Many of his bittersweet memories are reflected in his works.
‘The Blessing Bird of Good Omen’, which is about Imam Ali (peace be upon him), is just one of his many other noteworthy poems.
Shahriar saw three eras of Qajars, Pahlavi, and the Islamic Republic. A deeper look into his poetry shows his objection to injustice and narrow-mindedness. He supported his people at critical times such as the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war when he reinforced the morale of Iranian soldiers through his poems.