Democratic Poetics: A Comparative Study of the US and Iran

Behnam Fomeshi

Published Date: Feb 28, 2022


Walt Whitman (1819–1892), the father of American free verse, and Nima Yushij (1897–1960), the father of Persian New Poetry, each played a central role in his respective poetic tradition. Whitman’s free verse and Yushij’s New Poetry are the results of translating the discourse of democracy to a literary discourse. In this way, there are multiple points of comparison between these poets’ corresponding approaches to poetic theory, practice, and context. The purpose of the present study is to unravel the relationship between sociopolitical situations in Whitman’s and Yushij’s societies and examine the resulting literary changes. Analysis of the points of similarity and difference in each poet’s sociopolitical context and the literary development of their respective nations will lead to a deeper understanding of the general laws of literary development, whilst simultaneously highlighting the historical peculiarity of each national literature, the uniqueness of each sociopolitical context, and the individuality of each author.


American Free Verse, Comparative Poetics, Persian New Poetry, Nima Yushij, Walt Whitman

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Kritika Kultura
Department of English
School of Humanities
Ateneo de Manila University

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Jan Baetens
Faculty of Arts
Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven (Belgium)

Joel David
Professor of Cultural Studies
Inha University (South Korea)

Michael Denning
Professor of American Studies and English
Department of English
Yale University (US)

Faculty of Cultural Sciences
Universitas Gadjah Mada (Indonesia)

Regenia Gagnier
Professor of English
University of Exeter (UK)

Leela Gandhi
John Hawkes Professor of the Humanities and English
Brown University (US)

Inderpal Grewal
Professor of Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies
Professor of South Asian Studies, Ethnicity, Race and Migration Studies
Yale University (US)

Peter Horn
Professor Emeritus and Honorary Lifetime Fellow
University of Cape Town (South Africa)
Honorary Professor and Research Associate in German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

Anette Horn
Professor of German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

David Lloyd
Distinguished Professor of English
University of California, Riverside (US)

Bienvenido Lumbera
National Artist for Literature
Professor Emeritus
University of the Philippines

Rajeev S. Patke
Director of the Division of Humanities
Professor of Humanities
Yale NUS College (Singapore)

Vicente L. Rafael
Giovanni and Amne Costigan Endowed Professor of History
University of Washington (US)

Vaidehi Ramanathan
Department of Linguistics
University of California, Davis (US)

Temario Rivera
Professorial Lecturer
Department of Political Science
University of the Philippines

E. San Juan, Jr.
Philippines Studies Center (US)

Neferti X.M. Tadiar
Professor of Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
Barnard College (US)
Director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
Columbia University (US)

Antony Tatlow
Honorary Professor of Drama
Trinity College Dublin (Ireland)