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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Leading Iranian Poet Dies at 75




TEHRAN, Iran -- Ahmad Shamlou, one of Iran's finest poets, who fell foul of the shah and grew disillusioned with the Islamic Revolution that overthrew him, died Monday. He was 75.


Shamlou, who had lived recently in virtual seclusion in a Tehran suburb, died in the hospital after a long battle with diabetes.


A major force in the secular intellectual movement opposed to the shah before the 1979 revolution, he developed a free-flowing poetic style at odds with the tightly balanced rhymes of classical Persian poetry.


His early poems often dealt with social and political injustice. Influenced by Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca, American Langston Hughes and French communist Louis Aragon, Shamlou also wrote increasingly of love and human suffering. His books were banned for long periods before and after the revolution, but since the early 1990s, his poems have appeared in literary magazines.


Shamlou never joined a political group, but before the revolution he had immense influence on the intellectual movement that fought the shah's dictatorship in parallel with the Islamic movement.


His criticism of the shah's regime cost him a brief stint in jail and forced exile in the 1970s.


On his return, he was immediately disillusioned as the Shiite clergy cracked down on secularism and intellectuals. He took refuge in poetry.


His book of poems "Aida dar Ayaeneh" (Aida in the Mirror) has been interpreted both as an expression of his mad love for his companion, Aida Sarkisian, and an expression of his passion for life.


His works were translated into English, French, German, Russian and Japanese.