All translations cut both ways. While, on the one hand, they rarely capture the nuances or flavour inherent in the original or even measure up to the fervour enshrined in it, they do serve in reaching out to a wider audience. This, latter aspect is especially and significantly heightened when the original in question is starkly socio-political in its content and has, as one of its primary aims, the creation of a widespread awareness of an unjust socio-economic and political system and its destruction. The volume under review serves this task only partially. An anthology of poems that deals with the conflicts manifest in the social, political, economic and religious life of Iran during the last three decades or so does, at the outset, call for a brief introduction which would delineate the contemporary history of the country or explain the reasons accounting for the emergence of this poetry of revolt. An introduction of this kind would not only have added weight to the poems by providing a backdrop to them but would also have given the general reader a clearer picture of the issues involved.
May-June 1981, volume 5, No 5/6