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Book Review

This is a book review of Author Mehran Hashemi's collection of poetry, "light needs darkness to shine"


Before we begin, let's take a look at the author's bio - **

MEHRAN HASHEMI, also referred to as, HUSH M. E., is a poet who lives in a country where freedom of speech is a (limited) luxury, emerging and defying the constraints of a somewhat silenced society. He is an extraordinary wordsmith, and captivated me with his compelling micro poems of emotion, life, love, passion, struggle, compassion, darkness and light, all speaking volumes, sometimes in rhyme, prose or metaphor, leaving an indelible mark upon the heart. Born on 11 December 1993, the author is a Persian poet, animation director and activist, in the country of Iran. He began writing in 2019 and his debut poetry book came out this year of 2023. Mehran cannot hold his own book as he comes from a country where there is censorship, and the only freedom is writing. Through traumas, experiences, and challenges in life, his poems show inner strength from physical, mental and psychological well-being, struggles and the unsettling anarchic circumstances in his country.  The title, "light needs darkness to shine", along with his book are the broken pieces of his soul and poetry, intertwined.


Mehran wrote his poems in 4 sections:


·      sunrise – the green breath

·      sunshine – the hungry flames

·      sunset – the crying shadows

·      moonlight – the uprising lights

Although Mehran’s poems may be short in length, they possess an extraordinary ability to speak volumes. Each line is meticulously crafted to evoke profound emotions and convey complexities (darkness) as well as a refreshing brilliance (light). The brevity of his verses adds impact, and left me pondering over meaning, long after the last word or line was read. With a masterful command of emotion and language, Mehran artfully weaves together, words that resonate deeply within the soul. “Light Needs Darkness to Shine” explores the depths of the human connection, particularly in matters of the heart. Through his words, I was transported into a world of love and passion, reigning supreme, whether it’s the intoxicating thrill of romance or the ecstasy of sultry sensuousness or the enduring strength of emotion, his poems beautifully capture the essence of his emotions and his ability to convey intricacies through concise yet evocative poems is nothing short of remarkable.

One of the most captivating aspects of the author’s collection, is his exploration of the interplay in a dance between darkness and light, like two sides of a coin, the contrasting forces often coexist with the human experience. Through his poems, he reminds us that light can and will prevail. His poems serve as powerful reminders of the human spirit’s resilience and transformative powers of hope.

“Light Needs Darkness to Shine” showcases Mehran’s versatility in form, with some poems written in rhyme and others in simple structure. This diversity adds a dynamic element to his collection, allowing his readers to appreciate the depth of his writing craft. Regardless of the form chosen, each of his poems possess a unique cadence and rhythm that further amplifies the emotional impact of his poetry.

Mehran Hashemi is a literary force to be reckoned with. His ability to navigate complexities of life, love, passion or struggle within the confines of a silenced society is truly commendable. Through his compelling poems, he not only touches the heart, but also challenges perspectives I connected on a more profound level. He has certainly created a collection that is destined to be cherished by poetry enthusiasts, worldwide.




Mehran’s poems are concise and thought-provoking, encapsulating the ephemeral nature of artistic expression and the delicate balance between darkness and light. His poems explore the imagery of the moon, snow and the sun, creating a vivid and visual contrast that is so inviting, one can’t help but reflect on themes of transience, longing and the transformative powers of emotion and the senses. Though I have a great affinity toward all of the author’s poems,  just to mention some, I chose the following to feature with a review:

In SECTION ONE of his book – sunrise: the green breath, and on page 7, his poem:

i wrote for the moon

on the snow

then it melted away

by the

jealous sun.


His poem begins with simple yet an evocative line: “I wrote for the moon”, this opening sets the tone for the poem, hinting at the poet’s desire to express emotions through art. The moon, often associated with mystique and longing, becomes a symbol of inspiration and aspiration. The following line: “on the snow” adds a layer of vulnerability and fragility to the poem. Snow, with its delicate and temporary nature, represents an ephemeral canvas for the poet’s words. The use of preposition “on” suggests a temporary connection, as if the poem is etched on a transient surface. The poem takes an unexpected turn with the line: “then it melted away”. This sudden shift in imagery conveys a sense of loss and impermanence. The melting snow symbolizes the fleeting nature of artistic creation and the inevitable passage of time. It also serves as metaphor for the transient nature of emotions that may fade away, leaving only traces behind. The final line: “by the jealous sun”, introduces the theme of jealousy and conflict. The sun, often associated with warmth and radiance, becomes a figure of envy. The personification of the sun as “jealous”, adds a human element to the natural world, emphasizing the complex emotions that can arise in the face of artistic expression. Jealousy implies that the sun’s radiance may overshadow the moon’s gentle glow, making it difficult for the author’s words to be seen and appreciated.


Another poem that touched me in Section One – sunrise: the green breath, Page 10:

I found a jasmine

in your heart

it smelled home

though we were apart

i couldn’t live there for a lifetime

yet your scent remained

in my art.

This poem beautifully captures the bittersweet essence of love and longing. The metaphor of finding jasmine in the heart symbolizes the discovery of something pure and beautiful within the subject’s loved one. Despite being physically separated, the scent of jasmine lingers in his heart, serving as a reminder of the deep connection they once shared. The poem evokes a sense of nostalgia and the recognition that while the relationship may not have lasted, the impact of that love will forever remain.


Section One – sunrise: the green breath, Page 16:

once upon a time

we used to write for each other

in the nights

on the sky

when the moon

was our connection


Mr. Hashemi writes of a captivating journey through time when two souls found solace in writing for each other. “once upon a time” immediately evokes a sense of nostalgia and fairy tale-like enchantment, beautifully capturing the essence of a deep and intimate bond as it flourishes under the night sky and the moon acting as a celestial thread connecting the two. The poem hints of a love story that transcends physical distance and relies on the power of imagination and emotional connection. The moon becomes a conduit for their communication, adding a touch of magic to the narrative, further amplifying the sense of longing and yearning for each other’s presence.



SECTION 2 – sunshine: the hungry flames, Page 36:

the locked-up piano desires a warm touch from the

pianist to get rid of her soul’s dust and moan for him

a seductive piece


The imagery of a locked-up piano sets the stage for a longing to be released. The piano symbolizes the poet’s soul, yearning for the touch of a pianist, representing desire for connection and expression. The mention of dust and moaning adds a sensual and seductive element to the piece, evoking the idea of hidden desires waiting to be unleashed. Mehran’s poem effectively captures the longing for connection and the potential for passionate expression through music


SECTION 3 – sunset: the crying shadows, Page 96:

I’m fighting in silence to silence the screams to make peace with the things which were one day my dreams


This poem conveys a sense of inner turmoil and struggle. The poet describes “fighting in silence” to suppress the screams within. This can be seen as a representative of inner conflict, or emotional pain. The line, “to make peace with the things which were one day my dreams” suggests that the poet is trying to come to terms with the fact that the dreams may no longer be attainable or have changed. This poem explores inner struggle, acceptance and the process of letting go.



SECTION 4 – moonlight: the uprising lights, page 126:

He’s a writer who pushes out the words from his heart the pain makes him shout while giving birth to his art REVIEW: In this poem, the poet vividly expresses the process of creating art. The imagery of the poet pushing out words from his heart, evokes a sense of passion and emotional intensity. The line, “the pain makes him shout” suggests that the act of creating art is not always easy, but rather requires the release of pent-up emotions. The poet beautifully captures the rawness and vulnerability of his creative craft.


In conclusion, Mehran’s poems skillfully incorporate vivid imagery and concise language to convey a profound sense of transience and longing. He invites readers to contemplate his art of writing and the internal as well as external factors that influence creative expression. He has left an indelible impression upon my thought processes, with the simplicity of language, adding to the charm of his book. He gives to readers, concise and poignant poems, managing to convey a wealth of emotion. His poems speak the universal human desire for connection and longing in deepest bond with another person, an invitation to reflect on our own experiences of love, longing and the power of imagination to bridge distance. His book will surely resonate with many who have connected, as well as I, appreciating heartfelt and introspective writing.

Reviewed by Annette Nasser Editor of ILA Magazine USA 12.17.23

Read more about the Author's book on Amazon: light needs darkness to shine

and on Goodreads

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