Left to right: Ahmad Shamlou, Yadollah Royaie and Esmail
A picture from the early days of New Wave Poetry
By Esmail Nooriala
October 24, 2000
Thank you for forwarding to me Mr. Kamal Noori's email. He has once
again uncovered a footprint of mine in the pre-revolution cultural territory.
The picture belongs to 1344 or 1965. I was the editor of Negin
(owned and published by Dr. Mahmoud Enayat). Mr. Alexander Tamraz, the
man who took the picture, used to write for us. His brother, Henrik, was
a champion weight lifter, and used to run the cultural events page in Negin.
I lost touch with Alexander after this picture was taken until I met
him in Los Angles in 1997. He and many other old friends came to my wife,
Shokooh Mirzadegi's book signing at the Nashr-e Ketab bookstore.
The picture was taken at Talar-e Iran, a gallery for modernist painters
in Tehran. It was set up by Ru'in Pakbaz, Mohammad Reza Jowdat and a few
others, including me and a young artist called Mir Hossein Mousavi, who
became the Prime Minister after the revolution!
When, we set up Kanun-e Nevisandegan-e Iran (Writers Guild of Iran)
in 1967, and I became the secretary of the new organization, I used this
gallery for our monthly gatherings. It was right on the opposite side of
Tehran University and our sessions were attended by many students. This
forced SAVAK to close the gallery a year later. And it was re-opened, devoid
of its political inclinations, in another location just before the revolution
The year 1965 saw the culmination of a modernist movement that came
to be known as "mowj-e no ye she'r" (New Wave Poetry). A year
later Yadollah Royaie, who was considered as the leading influence of the
movement, moved away from its principals only to render a new school of
poetry that was named "she'r e hajm" (he called it "Spacemantalism!").
I have written about this movement in detail in my book "Theory of
The same year I published a periodical called "Jozve ye She'r"
(Pamphlet of Poetry) that included the works of poets belonging to there
new movements. Most of the poets who later became recognized as creative
literary figures of the country's new generation began their works from
Both "She'r e Mowj-e No" and "She'r e Hajm" were
directly related to the poetry of Ahmad Shamlou, mostly in form and poetic
imagery, if not in content. Shamlou was the only successful poet who had
left the "Nimaa'i" poetry (which was related to our classical
forms through its uninterrupted usage of the poetic rhythms) by elevating
the Persian blank verse to the position of a serious poetic language.
To me, this picture is a potent aid of our literary memory. I can write
pages about what was going on around the time and content of this picture
but I do not think much of it will be of any interest to most of your readers.
So, I stop here and thank you for sending me Mr. Kamal Noori's discovery
of the day!