Exposing the Hidden. A Study of Sohrab Sepehri’s Seday-e Pay-e Ab as an attempt in Concreting the Abstract
Abstract: Sohrab Sepehri (1928-1980) is considered as one of the most influential contemporary poets and painters of Iran. He first started writing poetry by imitating the trend of free verse poetry known as “Nimaei”, however, he very soon found his own unique style and continued on in that trend. His works have been translated into Italian, Spanish, English and French. He is known to have been very well educated in not only Islamic Mysticism, but also in Western philosophy and Far East religions like Buddhism due to his many trips abroad. Despite the fact that his poetry is known to be very simple in wording and rather close to colloquial language, however he still manages to convey deep life ponderings and philosophies. One of the most famous poems he is widely known for is Seday- Pay-e Ab, literary translated to English as “The Sound of Water’s Footsteps”, written in 1965. In this lengthy poem Sepehri not only tries to introduce himself, but also his ways of thoughts and beliefs. He uses very concrete metaphors and similes in the lines that depict his belief in God. In this paper, through presenting in brief the ideologies of classical mystical poetry and Derrida’s deconstruction of the logocentric binaries; namely that of absence and presence, the author attempts to discuss the reasons behind the success of this poem in making abstract ideas concrete and how despite seeming novel and different in expressing Islamic mysticism he is still very much following other canon figures’ steps. The author argues that language as a social construct and literature as a product of this is in fact the reason behind his simultaneous difference and similarity from the classics.
Keywords: Difference, Derrida, Logocentric, Sepehri, Deconstruction.
Mahsa Nouraei holds a B.A. and M.A. in English language and literature from the University of Isfahan, Iran. She is currently pursuing a Doctoral degree at Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”, faculty of Classical and Modern Philology, focusing on comparative contemporary literature of Iran and North America under the supervision of Dr. Panov, head of the Iranian Studies department and the Scientific supervision of Prof. Danova, dean of the faculty. Other than participating in academic conferences, over the years, she has also had her poetry published in various anthologies.”
Mahsa Nouraei – Exposing the Hidden (pdf)