National Attar Day/Collins Virtual Reading – Poetry News Roundup April 16th

On this day, we take a look at the National day of Attar. We also take a look at Billy Collins” Virtual poetry reading.

National Day of Attar of Nishapur Marked

The 13th of April is a significant day for Iranians in their history, it marks the day that they commemorate the life and works of Attar of Nishapur, the great Persian mystic and poet.

Born Abu Hamid bin Abu Bakr Ibrahim, the poet also goes by the name Farid ud-Din. He came into the world in the northeast of Iran in the city of Nishpur. He is believed to have lived from 1145 to 1221.

Meaning “apothecary”, the name Attar was a nickname that was given to him as a result of his profession. Records from the time are few, but it is believed that he was the son of a well-to-do chemist and that he received a good education. He practised as a pharmacist and during his time in this role the people he helped confided in him, their troubles affecting him deeply. Abandoning the pharmacy, he travelled all over the region before returning home.

He is lauded as one of the most famous of the Iranian mystic poets and his works inspired the likes of Rumi, Hafiz, Nava’I and Jami as well as a number of other mystic poets. Rumi considered him to be “the master” when it came to mystic poetry and he is best known for the poem “The Conference of the Birds”. The poem is an allegorical tale of some magnificence that is all about the soul searching for meaning.

Attar died aged 78. His death was violent and occurred during a massacre at the hands of the Mongols who invaded Nishapur in 1221. There is a mausoleum to the poet which is located in the city of his birth it was built in the 16th century. Each year on the anniversary of his death a group of scholars and literati gather at his mausoleum to mark the day named in his honour.

Poetry Reading by Billy Collins to be Hosted by WMPAC

A virtual poetry reading and questions and answers session will be held by the Warren Miller Performing Arts Centre with the poet Billy Collins. The event will take place this coming Saturday.

Collins has bee dubbed the most popular poet in America by The New York Times; his work is humorous and witty and he uses humour in order to answer questions and look at observations about people”s daily lives. From 2001 to 2003 Collins served two full terms as the US poet laureate.

This is not the first time that Collins will have performed with WMPAC. In the 2016 winter season, he gave his first performance there. However, this will certainly be the first time that he has done it virtually. On Saturday Collins will be letting the WMPAC audience join him in his study at home, where he will give a reading of his work that will focus on the subject of art during a pandemic.

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