According to Vafaei, the main body of the book is devoted to personal contemplations of the writer on contemporary poetry and the roots of its transformation. In other words, it not only deals with the main events in the literary history of the Constitutional period, it also casts light on the roots of the transformation of poetry and as well as New Poetry, Blank Verse and their founders in Iran.
Vafaei continued: "Kadkani's mastery over various fields of knowledge and his justice has made the book as the best reference for the study of contemporary Persian poetry and since he wrote it down when still in youth, the book reflects a kind of elucidation without any obsession with the reaction of intellectuals of the time.
He added: "The main parts of the book were written about half a century ago while the latest parts go back to about 20 years ago. However, the book is recently released to the book market."
Vafaei added: "In this book Master Shafiei Kadkani has clearly shown the best and worst of contemporary poetry while studying the relationship between contemporary Iranian poets with western poetry."
One of the most interesting parts of the book is where Kadkani assesses the poetry of Iraj Mirza, Malek-ol-Shoara Bahar, Aref Qazvini, Mirzadeh Eshqi, Parviz Natel Khanlari, Ahmad Shamlou and Nima Youshij.
Mohammadreza Shafiei Kadkani's 'With Light and Mirror: In Quest of the Roots of Contemporary Iranian Poetry's Transformation' is recently marketed by Nashr-e Sokhan in 680 pages. It is consisted of five main chapters and indices.
The first chapter, entitled 'Another Outlook' discusses various topics like transformation in social institutions, economical transformation, Abbas Mirza's reformations, freedom as the ultimate goal, patriotism, criticism of religion or religious reformation, criticism of superstitions, heterodoxy and blasphemy, religious pluralism, religion and religious forces, religion and religious poetry, children's poetry, etc.
The second chapter entitled 'Pioneers of Transformation' deals with the life and works of Mirza Fath-Ali Akhoundzadeh, Mirza Malcolm Khan, Seyyed Jamaleddin Asad-Abadi and Mirza Aqa Khan Kermani.
The third chapter is titled as 'Traces of Foreign Poetry' and deals with various phases of our familiarization with foreign poetry, endeavourers, and European countries' share and influence.
Entitled 'Transformation of Form and Structure', the fourth chapter discusses how the first translations affected Iranian poetry and includes topics like first encounter with the west, first translations, the oldest translations of European fables, 'blank' and 'free' verses, the effects of European rhetoric, poetic manifests and the influence of European poetry.
The last chapter of the book, 'Journey from Tradition to innovation', discusses the life and works of characters Adib Neyshabouri, Adib Pishavari, Adibolmamalek, Iraj Mirza, Ali Asqar Lahouti, Aref Qazvini, Mirzadeh Eshqi, Mohammad-Ali Anousheh, Badiolzaman Forouzanfar, Nima Youshij, Vosuqoldowleh, Mehdi Akhavan Saless, Forough Farrokhzad, Sharyar, Parviz Natel Khanlari, Mehdi Hamidi, Fereydoon Tavalloli, and Ahmad Shamlou.
The index also brings some articles by Kadkani, namely 'First Steps towards Transformation of Contemporary Poetry', 'The Preceding Views of Nation' and 'Persian Qazal's Icon in the West'.
As Kadkani states in the foreword, "Poetry like any other forms of art is a two-way street. On the one way the artist is driving, and on the other way, history and society. If the opposite figures do not show any sign of acceptance, true art never gets organized."
He continues: "Newspapers always demand their daily nourishment, but poetry – true poetry – in the history of literature of a nation is the one recited and memorized by the mass of people."
Mohammadreza shafiei Kadkani was born in 1939 in Kadkan. He used to publish his poems under the pseudonym 'm. Sereshk'.