The multi-talented auteur Abbas Kiarostami says the excerpts he selected from Rumi’s Divan of Shams and published in his recent book are like text messages he sends to readers.
His book “The Fire” in which Kiarostami gave a rendition of the Divan of Shams was unveiled during a ceremony at Karnameh Publications on Thursday.
“There are some couplets in the Divan of Shams which can be used as text messages. I am not very familiar with text messages, however, they are the language of our time and should not be disregarded,” Kiarostami mentioned at the ceremony.
“The concept of the text message tells poets of our time to write in short phrases and use brevity throughout their writing. Painter Aydin Aghdashlu, once said, ‘Kiarostami is not a poetry professional but a poetry fan,’ so let me text my favorite poems to you,” Kiarostami stated.
Kiarostami expressed his thanks over holding the ceremony saying that he could not believe literati attended the event and accepted him in the world of literature.
Renowned literati including Bahaeddin Khorramshahi, Simin Behbahani, Ali Dehbashi, Mahmud Dolatabadi and Moahammad Ali Sepanlu attended the event.
“I do not aim to enter the world of literature and I am very happy that my audacities in literature are pardoned by you. All the books that I have written are not for meddling in your profession but they are only the results of my personal interest,” he mentioned.
In “Hafez According to Abbas Kiarostami” and “Sadi According to Abbas Kiarostami” he gave a rendition of poetry by the two renowned Persian poets from his own point of view. Despite being among the bestsellers, both books were widely criticized in Iranian press.
Kiarostami said that literature and poetry were his initial favorites before his entrance into the world of cinema and Divan of Shams was the first book that he considered for rendition.
“Reading the Divan of Shams is a hard task. Rumi’s poetry in the book is like a dense forest in which one cannot recognize the trees. You should have the ability to take a critical look at the work saying that this is not my sonnet. Cutting trees seems necessary while reading the book,” he said.
He said that he has selected two or three couplets from each sonnet which he tries to examine in a coherent fashion.
“I have worked on the book for seven years and I hope someone will tell me that the outcome is good since it was a difficult task,” he said, calling the book “an innovative suggestion for those who do not read much poetry.”
Photo: Abbas Kiarostami autographs a copy of his “Fire” for one of his fans after the book was unveiled during a ceremony