While no-one knows the exact date of origin of the Avesta, the first-known example of Persian literature, it is known that various forms of Persian poetry developed around the 9th century AD. Typical were the masnavi, with its unique rhyming couplets, and the ruba I, similar to the quatrain (a poem of four lines). Poems of more than 100 nonrhyming couplets, known as qasideh, were first popularized by Rudaki who flourished under the Samanid ruler Nasr II.
These styles later developed into long and detailed “epic poems”, the first of which was Ferdosi s Shahnameh.
Many poems celebrated the glories of the old Persia before whichever foreigners had most recently invaded and occupied the country.
Early in the last century modernist Persian poetry changed the poetic landscape. This style is exemplified by the work of Nima Yushij. Poets such as Forough Farrokhzad and Sohrab Sepehri were influential from the 1950s onwards. Ahmad Shamloo s Fresh Air, a book of poems published in 1957, marked the introduction of a lyrical style that was also political and metaphoric. Parvin Etesami is a noted female poet, renowned for the religious poems. Mecca of the Heart and Eye and Heart. She died in 1941 at 35.