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Children's Poetry in Iran

A brief interview with Mahmud Kianush, who is regarded as the founder of children's poetry in Iran.

Why did you start writing Children's poetry?

"More than 30 years ago, I was invited by the Centre for Educational Publications (Ministry of Education) to contribute to seven bi-weeklies for children, young adults, teachers and parents. That was when I realised that I wanted my contributions to be poetry for children.

I began to study the situation at the time. What I found was that only a few contemporary poets, who were not really aware of what children's poetry should be, had occasionally written some poems for children. Any other works published for children were chosen from contemporary as well as classical poets, who had not originally intended their work to be for children, but since the subjects and expressions were simple they were thought suitable for that age group. From this I concluded that in reality we did not have any children's poetry.

It was then that I thought back to my own childhood, and tried to remember which poems I liked, and what made them memorable. I found that there were only a few nursery rhymes and folk songs that had made an impression on me. So thinking like a child, and having those nursery rhymes as a source of inspiration in words and music, I started to write a number of experimental poems, and published them in the bi-weekly magazines.

I was then able to create poetry that I would have liked to have read when I was a child."


What is Children's Poetry?

"Poems for children are like toys, that are made of words, and these words give wings to their imagination. Children want to sing them, to dance with them, and to play with them. Therefore, the poems have to be musical, colourful and easy for children to be used as toys.

Since children are of an age when they are beginning to experience nature and life, subjects have to be chosen through their searching and discovering eyes. What they discover in their environment be it things, people, emotions; everything in their poems has to be in accordance with this journey in playfully knowing and understanding the world."


How did you become known as the founder of Children's Poetry in Iran?

"After eight years of writing poetry for children which accounted for eight books of poetry , I explained the principles that I had discovered and invented in a book entitled;

"Children's Poetry in Iran"

Published by Agha publications, Tehran, 1973

As a result of this work, I became known as the founder of children's poetry in Iran. Today, many young poets famous for writing children's poetry, have been influenced by my works."


Why did you stop writing children's poetry?

"There came a time when I felt that I had written what I believed to be almost all the suitable subjects for children in my poetry, and to write any more would have meant that I would be repeating myself. That was when I knew that I had to stop and let other poets give their share of words to children."


Some examples of Kianush's poetry for children (In Persian):

    The Green Indian Parrot

    From the book: "The Green Indian Parrot"

    Published by: Kanoon-e Parvaresh-e Fekri, Tehran.

    In the Birdcage

    From the book: "The Green Indian Parrot"

    Published by: Kanoon-e Parvaresh-e Fekri, Tehran.

    The Little Butterfly

    From the book: "The Green Indian Parrot"

    Published by: Kanoon-e Parvaresh-e Fekri, Tehran.

    The moon above, the moon below

    From the book: "The Garden of Stars"

    Published by: Kanoon-e Parvaresh-e Fekri, Tehran.

    Like a deer it runs

    From the book: "Children of the World"

    Published by:Kanoon-e Parvaresh-e Fekri, Tehran.


    From the book:"The Language of Things"

    Published by:Kanoon-e Parvaresh-e Fekri, Tehran.


These books are available through;



The Distribution Department,

Kanoon-e Parvaresh-e Fekri,

Ostad Motahhari Avenue,

Fajr Street,

Number 37,





Tehran : 826328



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Copyright© 1998 K. Kianush, Art Arena