Revered in eleventh-century Persia as an astronomer, mathematician and philosopher, Omar Khayyam is now known first and foremost for his Ruba'iyat. The short epigrammatic stanza form allowed poets of his day to express personal feelings, beliefs and doubts with wit and clarity, and Khayyam became one of its most accomplished masters with his touching meditations on the transience of human life and of the natural world. One of the supreme achievements of medieval literature, the reckless romanticism and the pragmatic fatalism in the face of death means these verses continue to hold the imagination of modern readers.
Omar Khayyam is famous as a poet, astronomer and mathematician - he was one of the greatest mathematicians of the Middle Ages. He was born near Nishapur in north-east Persia and is thought to have died in approximately 1122. John Heath-Stubbs published several volumes of poetry, including Collected Poems 1988. He also translated poetry, including Leopardi. He edited selections of Swift, Shelley, TEnnyson and Pope, as well as various anthologies. He received the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry in 1973 and the OBE in 1989 for services to literature.