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At Home with Aida Shamlou

The late leading Iranian poet, Ahmad Shamlou, and his wife, Aida, lived and worked together for 40 years.
Aida is now working on Shamlou's unfinished works, publishing them and preserving his legacy. In an exclusive interview with Jadid Online, she tells the story of their love and partnership in life.


Aida Shamlou

In all the 40 years we lived together, our work was inseparable from our lives. We lived our lives along with work and music. Difficulties and worries just added to our enthusiasm, and our common goal helped us to survive our misfortune through perseverance.

We first met in the spring of 1341 [1962]. He wrote me poems in his beautiful handwriting, and I would put them in a small inlaid wooden box. We moved in to live in the same house from 1343 [1964].

I eagerly and lovingly kept anything that had any sign of Ahmad about it. Gradually, in this way, it made a complete archive, and with the generous zeal of his enthusiasts and poets, is bearing ever more fruit: all the poems for him, all the recitals of his poetry and putting it to music, in the form of calligraphy, into graphics, posters and photographs- together with all the art given to us is added to this archive.

So our home, with the help of kind friends and with the generosity and eagerness of young people, has blossomed and borne fruit and has now become ‘House of Bamdad’ [Bamdad meaning Dawn is Shamlou’s pen name].

In the difficult years, his perseverance in the isolation, his pain deep in his heart and also his physical body were apparent to me, and I suffered through it with him. I could see, even with all his suffering and pain, he was relentless in his efforts to leave no door or path untried, in his quest to express himself.

Sometimes, I was like a colleague, assisting his work. He would dictate and I would type, we proofread and edited the manuscripts, we would make notes of any phrases and expressions we picked up from conversations and from reading for the book ‘The Book of the Alley’. Gradually this cooperation took a more serious and permanent form and could continue. Now, as Shamlou has laid this charge upon us, we are trying to continue the work in a way befitting him.

As for the last few years, one can always mention the compilation and publishing of a memorial work in honour of ‘Bamdad’, repaying the debt to his admirers who had written about him from the depths of their hearts.

Also three of his previously unpublished translations have been published now: The Epic of Gilgamesh (new edition), Three Plays from Lorca (in one volume) and And Quiet Flows the Don, and it was with the finishing of those books that he also approached his own end.  

Three compilations of Shamlou’s work have been published: the first is a collection of his poems, which is to be reprinted without printing mistakes and in a better quality and size, the second is ‘Like an Endless Street’, a translation of a selection of poems from great poets of the world’ and the third is ‘A Translation of Short Stories and Yarns’, which has short stories from various writers translated in the past and printed in various publications or anthologies.

Other books in the process of compilation now are: Descriptive Review of the Works of Ahmad Shamlou including a descriptive list of his works and the works of others about him, a book of his speeches and a book of his articles.

Also a collection of five tapes and CDs of poems and the voice of Shamlou, recorded in 1373 [1994], were released in 1383 [2004]. Shamlou’s website, www.shamlou.org , was set up in 1369 [1990] with the help and support of our friends. We are striving to increase its usefulness.

We, the admirers of Shamlou, have kept our promise with each other to meet every year on the 21st of Azar [Dec. 12th] in memory of his birthday and we bring the creativity of various artists with us.

With gratitude and in recognition of our friends and colleagues who have been my support and together with in these last few years.



Esfand 1386 [March 08]

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- Saghi shamlou، 2010/05/30
My dad's name was ahmad shamlou . The famous poet / writer who lost his life after a long time with serious health problems in hospital. Over 5000 poeple went to pay their last respect to my dad when he died in lran . I miss my dady a lot but i never forget my dady . With love xxx saghi shamlou
- rolsworth، 2010/03/27
How you find ideas for articles, I am always lack of new ideas for articles. Some tips would be great
- miAd.p، 2009/01/09
ey kAsh ein haioulA hezAr sar midAsht, hezArAn sar midAsht
- anahid، 2008/09/15
I admire you, Shamlou is great. I live with his poems but his greatness is completed with his wife and a great partner who never quits.
- محمد، 2008/08/18
هرگز باور نکردم رفتنش را, چرا که او جمعیتی کثیر است و همچنان جاریست , در تو و در من.
- marziyeh karami، 2008/06/14
labanat be zerafate sher ,shahvani tarine booseha ra be sharmi chenan mobadal mikonad ke jandare gharneshin az an sood mijooyad ta be soorate ensan dar aayad...
- marziyeh karami، 2008/06/14
goonehayet ba do shiare movarrab ke ghoroore tora hedayat mikonand va sarneveshte mara...
- marziyeh karami، 2008/06/14
boosehaye to gonjeshkakane por gooye baghand...
- Mahdi، 2008/06/05
شاملو به قدري بزرگه، كه نميشه با كلمات توصيفش كرد. من بدون شاملو خوابم نمي بره. و شما آيداي عزيز بزرگي شمارو در توصيفات شاملو شاهديم.
شعر فارسي با حافظ شروع شد و با شاملو به پايان مي رسد. عاشقانه مي پرستمتون
- Mahmood، 2008/05/11
I love Aida and Shamloo
- Ali، 2008/05/01
He was great.
- Ehsan Baroutian، 2008/04/21
Dear Aida
I am one of a million people who love you and him.
My life is based on his poems.Unfortunately i couldn't meet him but untill now 3 times i have met him when i was sleep.one night he gave me a book as a gift and we talked, when i woke up my eyes were wet.
thank you for the video.He will always be in my mind.
- Mina Abdollahian، 2008/04/18
Thank you, for the video of your house. He will always be in our hearts and minds. I wish someday I could visit you at Shamlou's museum.
I am a public librarian in Fresno, California; may I invite you to have a presentation for our Iranian community at our library?
I would appreciate your respond.
Mina Abdollahian
- Anonymous، 2008/04/15
these are all beautifull and effortless loving energy ,work,support and concern for the shinnig , living spirit of dearest poet of IRAN. it is also paying respect to all his unforgetable gift wich reflected trough his loving mind and feellings for human family. thanks and many blessings, http://www.myspace.com/aliseda
- amir malek، 2008/04/12
Thank you - that was a beautiful piece. I, like many iranians, am familiar with the work of Shamlou and of his devotion to his wife & partner Aida. Now we see and hear of her devotion to him. What a magnificent partnership! Great piece beautifully produced. Bravo!
- Aziz Malekzadeh، 2008/04/12
It is perfect ,but not enogh.any way many many thanks for it
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