In the classical Persian tradition, the concept of "literature" was almost synonymous with "poetry." Prose was used for utilitarian purposes, particularly in religion, government affairs and in scientific papers. The structure and form of classical verse is based on the distich (couplet) called a bayt, which consists of half lines that are metrically identical. Persian metrics are based strictly on the number of syllables. This compilation includes selected bayt s from classical poets such as Rudaki, a ninth century Persian poet often referred to as the father of post-Islamic Persian poetry, Hafiz, Saadi, Ferdowsi, Nizami, Attar and many others. Also included are examples of contemporary and modern poetry, which unlike the classical poetry, is an entirely free and unbounded form. The giants of this new form of poetry are Nima, Shamloo, Farrokhzad and Sepehri.
The selected verses in this collection are drawn from the works of 186 poets, organized alphabetically using the first letter of the verse, so that this book can be used as a guide in the traditional Persian "Game of Poems" (Mosha'ereh). This game begins with the first player reciting a poetry verse by heart. From there, the next player has to recite another verse that begins with the last letter of the previous verse and so on! Although this sounds like a very difficult game, many Persian-speaking people still memorize famous poems and are able to play this popular game with ease. On each page of this book, the reader will find poems spanning from antiquity to the present day and will astonishingly be able to understand and relate to even the oldest poems.