Farid Attar

The Conference of the Birds
  • The Conference of the Birds

  • Composed in the twelfth century in north-eastern Iran, Attar's great mystical poem is among the most significant of all works of Persian literature. A marvellous, allegorical rendering of the Islamic doctrine of Sufism - an esoteric system concerned with the search for truth through God - it describes the consequences of the conference of the birds of the world when they meet to begin the search for their ideal king, the Simorgh bird. On hearing that to find him they must undertake an arduous journey, the birds soon express their reservations to their leader, the hoopoe. With eloquence and insight, however, the hoopoe calms their fears, using a series of riddling parables to provide guidance in the search for spiritual truth. By turns witty and profound, The Conference of the Birds transforms deep belief into magnificent poetry.

Farid Ud-Din Attar, recognised as one of the greatest poets of Persia, was born around 1120 A.D. in Nishapur (also the birth place of Omar Khayyam) in North Eastern Iran, and died shortly before 1220. He was one of the earliest Sufi poets of Persia. His other chief works are Memorial of the Saints, The Book of the Divine, The Book of Affliction and The Book of Secrets. Dick Davis is Professor of Persian and Chair of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at Ohio State University. He has published five books of poetry, critical works and translations from Italian as well as from Persian. He translated The Legend of Seyavash by Ferdowsi for Penguin Classics, and also edited Edward FitzGerald's Ruba'iyat of Omar Khayyam for Penguin. Afkham Darbandi was born in 1948 in Tehran, where she grew up. She trained as a nurse and then as a translator. She and Dick Davis were married in 1974.

We use cookies on this site to enable certain parts of the site to function and to collect information about your use of the site so that we can improve our visitors’ experience.

For more on our cookies and changing your settings click here

Strictly Necessary


Preferences & Features

Targeting / Advertising