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Hafez and Bloodaxe Books: My Persian Poetry Journey

Persian life

In a world where my love for poetry intertwines seamlessly with my affection for Persia, I recently found myself opening a special package from Bloodaxe Books. As the pages of ‘Beloved’ unfolded before me, I couldn’t help but reflect on the delightful journey that led me here.

A Poetic Past:

From the earliest days of my childhood, poetry held a special place in my heart. Thanks to my mum, who would read to me with such passion, those moments became some of my fondest memories. Little did I know that these innocent beginnings would pave the way for a lifelong love affair with words.

In 1986, my mum’s encouragement led me to enter the Evening Chronicle Poetry Competition, sponsored by none other than Bloodaxe Books. Winning a spot among the 20 winners in the junior section not only marked a proud moment in my 10-year-old life but also ignited the flame of imagination that would guide me into the future.

A Marriage of Verse and Culture:

Fast forward to the present day, and my love for poetry has played a role in shaping even my personal life. Fate led me to marry a Persian, and, as it turns out, the connection between poetry and Persian culture is as natural as breathing.

Even my husband, whom I affectionately refer to as “H,” a self-professed numbers man, couldn’t escape the allure of Persian poetry. In Iran, the love for verse is deeply embedded in the culture, with almost every Persian capable of reciting lines from the works of legendary poets like Hafez.

The Enigmatic Hafez:

Speaking of Hafez, his presence in Persian literature is nothing short of monumental. As one of the most important poets and mystics of the 14th century, Hafez’s words are a source of national pride. It’s a privilege to be acquainted with a culture that holds Hafez in such high esteem, especially considering how unfamiliar it is in the West.

‘Beloved’ by Bloodaxe Books:

Now, imagine my excitement when I discovered that Bloodaxe Books had published ‘Beloved,’ a collection that brings forth 81 poems by Hafez, translated by Mario Petrucci. This book delves into Hafez’s core subjects – love, the enjoyment of life, sorrow, and loss.

Navigating the Ambiguous:

Translating Hafez’s intricate works into English is no small feat, as H would gladly attest. The poems, rich with ambiguity, offer multiple interpretations, making them all the more special. Hafez’s verses resonate with the emotional tapestry of life, making them universally relatable.

Fal-e Hafez: The Persian Oracle:

In Persian tradition, Hafez’s guidance extends beyond the pages of a book. The practice of fal-e Hafez involves a canary selecting a card with a poem, providing answers to life’s questions. I, too, sought wisdom in the gardens of Hafez’s Mausoleum in Shiraz, guided by the lyrical advice of a canary.

Hafez, with H’s assistance, has become my poetic companion, offering answers, guidance, and direction during moments of uncertainty.


As I embrace the melding of my love for poetry, Bloodaxe Books, and the cultural richness of Persia, I invite you to explore ‘Beloved’ and experience the enchanting world of Hafez. For £12, this treasure trove of Persian wisdom can be yours at www.bloodaxebooks.com, bridging the gap between East and West through the universal language of poetry.


Saffron and Cyrus is a Newcastle-based family lifestyle blog, covering health, wellness, days out, travel, reviews, recipes and more from our family life.
The blog is written by new mum over 40, Aranda, with input from hubby H and son, Little C.

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