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Poetry in Persian

Nizami, the poet

Nizami Poetry
Nizami Books
Alyas Yusif Oglu is known as Nizami (Nezami) Ganjavi of Ganja (born and lived in Ganja, Azerbaijan). He lived 1141-1203 AD His father was Yousef-ibn-Zaki and his mother name was Raiseh.

Nizami was married three times. His first wife was Afagh who he deeply loved. His only son Mohammad was from Afagh. When Nizami was writing "Khosro and Shirin", Afagh died. After the death of Afagh, he married again. His second wife died when he was writing "Layla and Majnun". He got married for the third time. His third wife died when he was writing the book of "Eghbalnameh." Nizami surprisingly said, "It seems that with every book I write, I give a sacrifice."

His son Mohammad was seven years old when Nizami wrote "Khosro and Shirin", fourteen years old when he wrote "Layla and Majnun", and eighteen or nineteen when he wrote "Haft Peykar" (Seven Beauties). Nizami said that his son encouraged him to write "Layla and Majnun." It is said that his son was very intelligent and familiar with poetry. Nizami sent his son to give his messages to King Malek Ezeddin as well as to deliver a copy of "Eghbalnameh" which Nizami wrote in the name of the king.

Nizami lived for 63 years. All his life, he never left Ganja and died there. It is said that he was good-natured and he believed that with pleasantness and cheerfulness one can combat the hardships of life (see the poem he wrote in this regard). He was always studying science and art. He knew the science of astronomy and he used its terminology in his poetry skillfully.

He wrote about thirty thousands couplets in five Masnavi (poetry in rhymed couplets) poetry books of "Mahzan-ol-Asrar", "Khosro and Shirin", "Layla and Majnun", "Haft Peykar" (Seven Beauties), "Eskandar Nameh" and he wrote one book which is not Masnavi. He gave each of his masnavi books as a gift to the kings of the time.

** Among his works that have found their way to the West are "Haft Peykar " (Seven Beauties) and "Layla and Manjun."

The "Seven Beauties" refer to seven paintings of seven daughters of kings from India to China to Kharazm. When Bahram, the Sassanian King sees the paintings he falls in love and marries all seven princesses.

"Layla and Manjun" is considered a love story that reveals the path of the soul. It contains 4,000 couplets and was supposedly written in only four months.

Unfortunately the 'stories' are too long to put on this web site but you can buy the books or check your local library for them:

**Layla and Manjun from The First Love Stories by Diane Wolkstein

Nizami Poetry
Nizami Books