Nimā Yushij (Persian: نیما یوشیج) (November 12, 1895 –
January 6, 1960), also called Nimā (نیما), born Ali Esfandiāri (علی
اسفندیاری), was a contemporary Tabarian and Persian poet who started the
she’r-e now (شعر نو, "new poetry") also known as she’r-e nimaa'i (شعر
نیمایی, "Nimaic poetry") trend in Iran. He is considered as the father
of modern Persian poetry.
He was the eldest son of Ibrahim Nuri ofYush (a village in Baladeh, Nur County, Mazandaran province of Iran). He was aTabarian but had also Georgian roots. He grew up in Yush, mostly helping his father with the farm and taking care of the cattle. As a boy, he visited many local summer and winter camps and mingled with shepherds and itinerant workers. Images of life around the campfire, especially those emerging from the shepherds' simple and entertaining stories about village and tribal conflicts, impressed him greatly. These images, etched in the young poet's memory waited until his power of diction developed sufficiently to release them.
Nima's early education took place in amaktab. He was a truant student and the mullah (teacher) often had to seek him out in the streets, drag him to school, and punish him. At the age of twelve, Nima was taken to Tehran and registered at the St. Louis School. The atmosphere at the Roman Catholic school did not change Nima's ways, but the instructions of a thoughtful teacher did. Nezam Vafa, a major poet himself, took the budding poet under his wing and nurtured his poetic talent.
Instruction at the Catholic school was in direct contrast to instruction at the maktab. Similarly, living among the urban people was at variance with life among the tribal and rural peoples of the north. In addition, both these lifestyles differed greatly from the description of the lifestyle about which he read in his books or listened to in class. Although it did not change his attachment to tradition, the difference set fire to young Nima's imagination. In other words, even though Nima continued to write poetry in the tradition ofSaadi and Hafez for quite some time his expression was being affected gradually and steadily. Eventually, the impact of the new overpowered the tenacity of tradition and led Nima down a new path. Consequently, Nima began to replace the familiar devices that he felt were impeding the free flow of ideas with innovative, even though less familiar devices that enhanced a free flow of concepts. "Ay Shab" (O Night) and "Afsaneh" (Myth) belong to this transitional period in the poet's life (1922).