We had the best poets in Mashhad. In a particular period of time, the poets in Mashhad were really the best in the country. We knew all of them very well. Mashhad poets - both those who composed qasidas and those who composed ghazals - were among the best. During the time when these individuals were active, there were only three literary societies in Mashhad. One was established by the late Negarandeh. These literary meetings were held in his own house. And the house did not belong to him, he had rented it. Once in a while, he changed his house and those who wanted to participate in the meetings had to get the new address. At that time, I was in Qom. Whenever I went to Mashhad, I participated in the meetings. This continued until I moved back to Mashhad. This was one literary society and 10, 15 individuals participated in it.
There was one samovar there and the late Negarandeh himself poured tea for the poets. Mr. Shafiee Kadkani, Mirzazadeh, Ghahraman and Qodsi cultivated their talents in those meetings. In the beginning, they were not so outstanding. When the late Sahebkar - known as Sohi - joined the society, he was a clergyman, but he had poetic talent and he used to compose ghazals. A few years ago, when he passed away, he was one of the outstanding experts in Indian style. He was not so outstanding in the beginning. He grew in those meetings. Even Mr. Ghahraman - who is really a prominent and brilliant poet - was not so outstanding when he participated in the meetings in the years 1337 and 1338. However, he and others cultivated their talents there.
There was another literary society whose meetings were held on Fridays in the late Farrokh's house. This literary society had 10, 15, 20 participants. Another literary society was recently established by Mr. Ghahraman. The meetings were held in his house. Some time ago I went to Mashhad and Mr. Ghahraman said to me that the meetings are still held in his house. This is a literary society. In such societies, poets can cultivate their talents and gradually eliminate their weak points - there is no poet without any weak point - and develop their poems. Of course, if they are lucky to benefit from a veteran poet, expert and genius, it will be much better. If not, they will not be as good. Therefore, a literary society is very necessary and you should attend to it.
~Ayatollah Khamenei at a meeting with poets on May 3, 2015