Parvin E'tesami

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Parvin E'tesami
پروین اعتصامی
Parvin E'tesami.jpg
Raḵšanda Eʿteṣāmī

1907 (1907)
DiedApril 4, 1941(1941-04-04) (aged 33–34)
Alma materIran Bethel School
Spouse(s)Fazlollah Etesami (1934–1935, separation)
RelativesAbolhassan Etessami (uncle)

Parvin E'tesami (also known as, Rakhshandeh Etesami, Parvin Etesami (Persian: رخشنده‎), Persian: پروین اعتصامی‎) (1907 – April 5, 1941), was an Iranian 20th-century Persian poet.[1][2]


Parvin etesami.jpg

Parvin E'tesami was born in 1907 in Tabriz to parent, Mirza Yussef Etessami Ashtiani (E'tesam-al-Molk). Her paternal grandfather was Mirza Ebrahim Khan Mostawfi Etesam-al-Molk.[3][4] Her grandfather Mirza Ebrahim Khan Mostawfi Etesam-al-Molk was originally from Ashtiyan, but moved to Tabriz and was appointed financial controller of the province of Azerbaijan by the Qajar administration.[4]

E'tesami had four brothers, her mother died in 1973. Her family moved to Tehran early in her life, and in addition to the formal schooling, she obtained a solid understanding of Arabic and classical Persian literature from her father.[5] At the age of 8 she started writing poems.[5]

She studied at the Iran Bethel School in Tehran, an American high school for girls where she graduated in 1924.[6] Afterwards, she taught for a while at that school.[6] For her graduation she wrote the poem, A Twig of a Wish (1924) about the struggles facing Iranian women, their lack of opportunities and the need for their education.[7]

In 1926, she received an invitation to become the tutor of the queen of the new Pahlavi court, but she refused.[7]

On July 10, 1934, she was married to a cousin of her father, Fazlollah Etesami, and they moved to the city of Kermanshah.[8] But the marriage only lasted for ten weeks and they separated due to differences of interests and personality and she returned to Tehran.[8]

She was a member of the Kanoun-e-Banovan and supported the Kashf-e hijab reform against compulsory hijab (veiling).[9]

In 1936, E'tesami was awarded by Reza Shah Pahlavi the third-degree Iran Medal of Art and Culture, but she declined.[7]

In 1938–39 she worked for several months at the library of Danesh-Saraay-e 'Aali, (currently known as Tarbiat Moallem University) of Tehran.

Her father died in 1938, and she died only three years later of Typhoid fever.[1][10] She was buried near her father in Qom, near the Masumeh shrine.

Parvin Etesami's house became an Iranian national heritage site on October 19, 2006.


Parvin's Grave in Qom

Parvin was around seven or eight years old when her poetic ability was revealed. Through her father's encouragement, she versified some literary pieces which were translated from western sources by her father. In 1921 to 1922, some of her earliest known poems were published in the Persian magazine Bahar (Spring). The first edition of her Diwan (book of poetry) consisted of 156 poems and appeared in 1935. The poet and scholar Mohammad Taqi Bahar wrote an introduction to her work. The second edition of her book, edited by her brother Abu'l Fatha Etesami, appeared shortly after her death in 1941. It consisted of 209 different compositions in Mathnawi, Qasida, Ghazal, and Qet'a (another form of Persian poetry), and stanzaic forms. It totaled 5606 distiches.

In her short life, she managed to achieve great fame amongst her fellow Iranians. Parvin's poetry follows the classical Persian tradition, its form and its substance. She remained unaffected by or perhaps ignored the modernistic trends in Persian poetry. In the arrangement of her poetry book, there are approximately 42 untitled Qasidas and Qet'as . These works follower a didactic and philosophical styles of Sanai and Naser Khusraw. Several other Qasidas, particularly in the description of nature, show influences from the poet Manuchehri. There are also some Ghazals in her Diwan.

According to Professor Heshmat Moayyad, her Safar-e ashk (Journey of a tear) counts among the finest lyrics ever written in Persian.

Another form of poetry, the monazara (debate), claims the largest portions of Parvin's Divan. She composed approximately sixty-five poems in the style of monazara and seventy-five anecdotes, fables, and allegories. According to Moayyad: "Parvin wrote about men and women of different social backgrounds, a wide-ranging array of animals, birds, flowers, trees, cosmic and natural elements, objects of daily life, abstract concepts, all personified and symbolizing her wealth of ideas. Through these figures she holds up a mirror to others showing them the abuses of society and their failure in moral commitment. Likewise, in these debates she eloquently expresses her basic thoughts about life and death, social justice, ethics, education, and the supreme importance of knowledge".[1]

Parvin E`tesami began writing poetry from a young age; her first published works appeared in the Iranian magazine Baharin the early 1920s, when she was just a teenager. Throughout her life, E`tesami's work was a marriage of the traditional and modern; while her poetic style eschewed the new modernist styles and adhered closely to the forms and structures of classical Persian poetry.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Heshmat Moayyad. Parvin Etesami. Encyclopædia Iranica. Retrieved April 4, 2010.
  2. ^ C. Kramarae and D. Splender (2000). Routledge International Encyclopedia of Women: Global Women's Issues. Routledge. p. 1273. ISBN 0-415-92091-4.
  3. ^ "Persian Language & Literature: Parvin Etesami". Iran Chamber Society. Retrieved 2021-04-09.
  4. ^ a b Moayyad, Heshmat (December 15, 1998). "Etesami, Mirza Yusuf Khan Ashtiani, Etesam-al-Molk". Encyclopedia Iranica, Vol. VIII, Fasc. 6. p. 666. Retrieved April 8, 2021.
  5. ^ a b Bashiri, Iraj (February 2001). "Parvin E'tesami's Life". Bashiri Working Papers on Central Asia and Iran. Retrieved 2021-04-09.
  6. ^ a b Moayyad, Heshmat (December 15, 1998). "EʿTEṢĀMĪ, PARVĪN". Encyclopaedia Iranica, Vol. VIII, Fasc. 6. pp. 666–669. Retrieved 2021-04-08.
  7. ^ a b c "Persian poet Parvin E'tesami commemorated". Iran Art. Iran Daily. 2021-03-16. Retrieved 2021-04-09.
  8. ^ a b "Parvin Etesami; Shining jewel in Persian literature's history". Mehr News Agency. 2021-03-15. Retrieved 2021-04-10.
  9. ^ Hamideh Sedghi, “FEMINIST MOVEMENTS iii. IN THE PAHLAVI PERIOD,” Encyclopaedia Iranica, IX/5, pp. 492-498, available online at (accessed on 30 December 2012).
  10. ^ "Audio version of Parvin Etesami's divan released in Armenian". Tehran Times. 2016-06-28. Retrieved 2021-04-10.
  11. ^ Allen, Roger M.A. (July 20, 1998). "Islamic arts - The modern period". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2021-04-09. The lyrics of Parvīn Eʿteṣāmī (died 1940) are regarded as near classics, despite a trace of sentimentality in their sympathetic treatment of the poor.

Further reading[edit]

  • Fomeshi, Behnam M. (2021). "'The Female Rumi' and Feminine Mysticism: 'God's Weaver' by Parvin Iʿtisami". British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies. doi:10.1080/13530194.2021.1971513.

External links[edit]