Dr. Amir Rezvani and the Poetry of Hâfez




We had a special visitor join us this week at rehearsal! Dr. Amir Rezvani, a professor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University, graciously spoke to us about the famous Persian poet Hâfez and his many works.


Hâfez is the most beloved poet in Iranian culture. His works are open to many interpretations – and indeed, as Dr. Rezvani told us, many Iranians will often turn to his writing to reinforce their beliefs or to find answers or meaning in their own lives. Born in the 14th century, Hâfez wrote lyrical poems that are called “ghazals.” Ghazals contain rhyming couplets and are usually about love, whether it be love for another person or love for a divine figure. Hâfez’s ghazals are filled with a longing for one’s “Beloved” above all, according to Dr. Rezvani.


While he is mainly celebrated for his poetry, Hâfez’s contributions to Persian culture extend to many other areas such as philosophy and politics. He even has his own national holiday, October 12th.  Naturally, Hâfez’s ghazals have inspired many composers throughout the centuries, and one such modern composer to set his words to music is Abbie Betinis. WVC will be performing From Behind the Caravan: Songs of Hâfez at our spring concert in April.


We’re honored that Dr. Rezvani took the time to teach us about Hâfez so that we could better understand his words – and it was wonderful to have him work with us on the Farsi pronunciations as well! Thank you, Dr. Rezvani, for sharing an important part of Iranian culture with us!



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