Literary Imitation in Three Poems Attributed to Tahirih Qurrat al-ʿAyn
published in Hawwa, 21:4, pages 304-334
Leiden: Brill, 2023-12
Abstract: Throughout both modern and contemporary periods of Iranian poetry, the figure of Tahirih Qurrat al-ʿAyn as a poet has been largely ignored, while some focus has been placed upon her historical roles. Although a large part of this active disregard for her poetry has undoubtedly stemmed from politico-religious intolerance, it has also partially resulted from a lack of detailed information and primary sources. This article advances our understanding of Tahirih the poet by comparing three of the most famous poems attributed to her – “Ay ʿāshiqān, ay ʿāshiqān shud āshikārā wajh-i ḥaqq,” “Ay bi sar-i zulf-i tu sawdā-yi man,” and “Jadhabāt shawqik uljimat bi-salāsil al-ghamm wa-l-balā” – all of which are “literary imitations” (istiqbāl), with the original pieces composed by Rumi, Hātif, and Jāmī, respectively. By comparing Tahirih’s poems with the previous pieces, we gain access to the subtleties and nuances that inform us about the poetic persona of this historical figure.