"Absorbing memoir, freshly relevant . . ."

The Poet's Daughter, Autographed copies
Malek o'Shoara Bahar of Iran and the Immortal Song of Freedom
by Parvaneh Bahar
with Joan Aghevli



6 x 9
240 pages
18 photos

List price : $22.95
Regular online price : $20.66
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They called it “Paradise,” their beautiful home

just outside old Tehran, and nurtured there a

close bond of mutual love and respect for

intellectual freedom. It was a magnet for leading

thinkers and activists, who visited regularly for

conversation with their best living poet and

tireless champion of democracy, human rights,

and women’s empowerment—Malek o’Shoara

Bahar. Then one morning the children watched

in horror as police dragged him away . . .

Intimate and emotionally engaging, this powerful

memoir introduces Americans to the high-profile

Iranian cultural hero Malek o’Shoara Bahar—whose

freedom poem Morghe Sahar (“Bird of Dawn”) is

sung regularly with great passion at rallies for human

rights and the empowerment of women throughout

Iran.  Bahar (1882–1951) tuned his political idealism

and vast poetic gifts to Iranian’s deepest feelings,

championing democracy, freedom, and social justice—

for which Reza Shah rewarded him with regular prison

stays and the attempted ostracization of himself and his

family.  He is revered internationally by progressive

Iranians and celebrated as Iran’s best poet of the 20th

century, many say of the past 500 years.

    Bahar’s beloved daughter begins with moving

reminiscences of her childhood and youth with him

in Iran and later in Switzerland, replete with the

charms and sensory delights of Tehran in the 1930s

and 1940s, and punctuates the story with dozens

of Bahar’s poems as they are written. Then we see

Parveneh carry his spirit forward into her own work

as a progressive activist in the USA —setting an

inspiring example not only for Iranian women but

for women throughout the world.

Early testimonials


“This is the story of a woman made strong by the

responsibilities heaped upon her from an early age.

Sustained by the powerful spirit of her father, Malek

o'Shoara, a great poet and voice of the early democracy

movement in Iran, and determined to free herself

fromoppression through education and hard work,

Parvaneh emerges from these pages as a role

model for women everywhere who struggle to

be heard. Late in life she discovered in herself a writer,

and became one of the rings in a chain of liberated

Iranian women who speak the truth to a world

ready to listen.”

—Shahrnush Parsipur, author of Women Without

Men (made into a feature-length film directed by Shirin

Neshat) and Touba and the Meaning of the Night

“A touching evocation of a man, a great poet,

a powerful political figure—all in 20th century Iran

—as told by his loving daughter. You will learn a

lot in this book about Iran and about poetry and

about women. You will be deeply moved by what

you read.”

—Marvin Zonis, Professor Emeritus, Booth

School of Business, The University of Chicago

and author of Risk Rules, The Kimchi Matters,

Majestic Failure: The Fall of the Shah, and The

Political Elite of Iran

“An absorbing memoir of an ongoing rich life

that spanned much of the 20th century and is

freshly relevant today—as thousands of Iranians

rally in the streets for freedom, singing the

anthems of the author’s father, Malek o’Shoara


—Barbara Meade, co-founder and former

owner, Politics and Prose bookstore

“Malek o’Shoara Bahar was the enlightened

cultural father of all Iranians who lived after

him. The Poet's Daughter reveals untold

minutia about the hardships that Iran's most

prominent poet and literary scholar of the

twentieth century had to endure in his pursuit

of democracy for his country. I highly recommend

it to all readers.” —Masoud Askari Sarvestani,

PhD, editor, Rahavard Persian Journal

"The Poet's Daughter is an engrossing coming-of-

age tale of a Persian girl torn between devotion to

her father—Bahar, the last icon of classical Persian

poetry—and her own relentless desire to fashion

for herself an identity as an independent, assertive

modern woman. It moves seamlessly from the

starchy solemnities of a traditional arranged

marriage in Tehran, to an androgynous man

twice her age, to the liberating pathos of marching

behind Martin Luther King in Alabama. The

beguiling simple elegance of the narrative never

shies away from the harsh and heroic realities of

the story."

—Abbas Milani, Director of Iranian Studies at
Stanford University, author of The Shah.

Library Journal Review

From Library Journal, September 15, 2011

Bahar, Parvaneh with Joan Aghevli. The Poet’s
Daughter: Malek o’Shoara Bahar of Iran and
the Immortal Song of Freedom. Larson.
Nov. 2011. ISBN 9781936012572.
$22.95. AUTOBIOG

The author is the daughter of perhaps the

most distinguished Iranian poet of the 20th

century, Mohammad Taqi Bahar (1884–1951),

also known as Malek o’ Sho’ara Bahar (King

of Poets). Because of the enormous importance

of poetry in Persian culture and her father’s

unique place in its preservation, creation, and

innovation, Bahar’s account of her family life is

of value both to students of Persian and to the

country’s history. The family picture that she

evokes here is one of intimacy shaped by a

background of political autocracy under the

late Shah’s father, Reza Shah Pahlavi. What

could such a regime think of an outspoken

democrat who insisted on the equality of

women and enjoyed alcohol? The book rep-

resents the testimony of the author’s own

remarkable life. Following her father’s exile

and imprisonment under Reza Shah and his

tubercular death in Switzerland, Bahar

traveled to the United States—over 50 years

ago—for university studies, a new life, and

involvement in the Civil Rights Movement.

Her return to Iran after the fall of the Shah

is dramatically rendered. VERDICT: This well-

written combination biography and memoir

will be of particular interest to students of

Iranian history but should also appeal to

general readers of nonfiction.  

—Zachary T. Irwin, Penn State Univ.—Erie


Publishers Weekly starred review


The Poet's Daughter: Malek o'Shoara Bahar of Iran and the Immortal Song of Freedom
In 1904, the author's father, Malek o'Shoara Bahar, became "The Prince of Poets," the last person ever to hold that title in Iran. His poetry supported Iran's quest for independence and democracy from the British and Russians as they fought to maintain their empires. Here, his adoring daughter tells of her father's fight for women's right to be educated, socially and financially independent, and free of the chador. As a result of his work, he faced imprisonment and exile, and saw his children shunned by those fearing the wrath of the government. Though his poetry was written 100 years ago, it may be even more appropriate now. Bahar's descriptions of holidays and everyday Persian life prove as beautiful as her father's work; her description of their home, called Paradise, allows readers to feel the sun, smell the sweet fruit, and hear the "Music of the Pigeons" as they are released each morning. After living in the U.S. for 50 years, writing in Persian allowed Bahar to return to the idyllic life of her childhood, and this inspiring memoir beckons readers to see the Persia of old. (Nov.)