Reviews & Such
Since Sir William Jones first made the attempt to set in English the “orient pearls at random strung” of Hafez, the most canonical of Persian lyric poets, dozens of translators have attempted English translations and versions of Hafez, but few have succeeded. Squires’ Hafez captures the energy and depth of this fourteenth-century poet in contemporary English without archaisms or predetermined interpretation. It displays a supple and at times even exhilarating handling of language and form. The integration of annotations and commentary provide the uninitiated reader with the right balance of background information and a personal, lyrical encounter with the raw poem. Squires’ intimate familiarity with the poems, and the clarity and crispness of the diction he employs, almost makes Hafez a contemporary writer, but without obscuring from today’s reader the chronological and cultural difference, and the unique qualities of the fixed-form ghazal he practiced.