Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Center for Contemporary South Asia

CCSA Steering Committee Member and Aga Khan Professor of Islamic Humanities, Shahzad Bashir, has published a new book titled, The Market in Poetry in the Persian World.

Book Summary: 'Poetic speech is a pearl, connected to the king's ear.' This statement gestures to words as objects of material value sought by those with power and resources. I provide a sense for the texture of the Persian world by discussing what made poetry precious. By focusing on reports on poets' lives, I illuminate the social scene in which poetry was produced and consumed. The discussion elicits poetry's close connections to political and religious authority, economic exchange, and the articulation of gender. At the broadest level, the study substantiates the interdependency between cultural and material reproduction of society.