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An Evening with Forugh: Iranian Poetry Night

By Annie Finch

foroogh
Forugh Farrokhzād

Travis’s post and recent events call me to describe something I’ve been wanting to post about for a while. One of the most moving evenings I’ve had as an American poet occurred in Farsi. It was at the house of close friends born in Iran, who had asked me to join a circle of Iranian-born Mainers who get together once a month simply to appreciate and read and enjoy poetry together.

The night I was there, the focus of the evening was on the work of Forugh Farrokhzād, a beloved Iranian poet. Slides of her life were shown, and we read aloud some of her poems. I was asked to read one of her poems in translation and one of my own. The people in the group were so welcoming and absorbed the poems so deeply, some of them in tears at hearing my poem, that I was overwhelmed in return. None of these people would call themselves poets (though there was one novelist and one translator among them): they were readers and lovers of poetry who work in a great variety of professions from nurse to business executive.

We went around the circle, everyone sharing a poem, more often than not evoking tears and laughter in response. The audience was entirely engaged, and so was I. I have been in many countries where poetry is clearly loved and respected to a degree unknown in the U.S., but this evening was of another order still. Perhaps it was the added bittersweet emphasis of exile, perhaps the deep importance of poetry to Persian culture in particular Once in a while, during a break in the action, someone would kindly translate a snippet for me. But it hardly mattered. I was rapt. During one of these interludes, my translator, a nurse, said to me, “In the U.S., if a person is under stress, they are told to sit in a room and meditate. In our culture, they are told to read poetry.”

At the end of the evening, drums and tambourines were brought out and the poetry changed into song. After many hours, I went home deeply moved at the power of poetry to bring people together and to touch us into a place of common humanity. Though I could barely understand a word of what that happened that evening, the evening honestly brought me more joy and a deeper understanding of poetry than many of the evenings I’ve spent devoted to poetry in English. To be among a group of non-poets who have come together voluntarily so that they can literally laugh and cry over poems is a truly humbling experience for a poet.

I was not surprised when, recently, I read in Meg Bogin’s book The Women Troubadours that were it not for Persian poetry, English poetry would have no rhyme; the gift of rhyme came to us from Iran by way of the troubadour poets, through North Africa and into southern Europe. I will never be surprised again by anything I learn about the importance of poetry in Persian culture.

Poem by: Forugh Farrokhzad
Translated by: Sholeh Wolpé

Sky
The Wind will Blow Us Away

Inside my little night, alas,
the wind has a rendezvous with the leaves;
inside my little night, there is fear
and dread of desolation.

Listen.
Hear the darkness blow like wind?
I watch this prosperity through alien eyes.
I am addicted to my despair.
Listen.
Hear the darkness blow?

This minute, inside this night,
something’s coming to pass. The moon
is troubled and red; clouds
are a procession of mourners waiting
to release tears upon this rooftop,
this rooftop about to crumble, to give way.

A moment,
then, nothing.

Beyond this window, the night quivers,
and the earth once again halts its spin.
From beyond this window, the eyes
of the unknown are on you and me.

May you be green, head to toe—
put your hands like a fevered memory in mine…
these hands that love you.

And cede your lips
like a life-warmed feeling
to the caress of my lovesick lips.

The wind will one day blow us away.
The wind will blow us away.

From Sin–Selected Poems of Forugh Farrokhzad, translated by Sholeh Wolpe

Comments (25)

  • On June 19, 2009 at 12:57 pm Jordan wrote:

    I recently became a big fan of this blog and thought you and your readers might be interested in another favorite of mine, Narrative Magazine (at http://www.narrativemagazine.com). It offers its contents for free and also accepts all types of submissions (fiction, poetry, art, photography, non-fiction, etc.) Narrative also has a few contests going on now that I think your readers might enjoy. Hope you have a chance to check it out and maybe mention it in your blog or links section!

  • On June 20, 2009 at 3:40 pm Terreson wrote:

    What a good story, really good story. The moment comes through in relief. And I am down right envious. You are right, of course. Older, still traditionally based societies are more tied to poetry than ours is. I know that in the early nineties the Russian poet, Yevtoshenko, could read to SRO audiences in sports arenas. Paul Blackburn once told a story of waking up in Malaga to a street sweeper going about his business reciting Lorca. And I guess it is still true that Chilean peasants, farmers, and workers know Neruda by heart.

    About the Troubador stuff. I guess it is still considered a classic study of Troubador poetry. “The Troubadors,” by Robert Briffault, written in Paris during the Nazis occupation. Briffault devoted an early chapter to, what he called, the Moorish origins of the Troubador aesthetic, the Moors of Spain themselves would have drawn on the classic Persian poetry. Lorca also understood the extent to which Flamenco poetry was indebted to such Persian poets as Hafiz.

    Fun stuff to think about, if maybe a little bittersweet. At least for an American lover of poetry.

    Terreson

  • On June 20, 2009 at 5:05 pm Annie Finch wrote:

    This amazing link was just posted on Wom-Po:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKUZuv6_bus&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.huffingtonpost.com%2F&feature=player_embedded

    “Poem for the Rooftops of Iran”

    • On June 21, 2009 at 5:13 am Margo Berdeshevsky wrote:

      heart-breaking.
      thanks annie for this one – I must have missed it.
      have just referenced it on Martin earl’s thread…speaking of an Andre bresson exhibit i attended, that seemed so apt:

      One silent moment from the Bresson exhibit, a poem in stasis, silence, in the eye: “Resistance, Bords du Rhin, France 1944.” One shadowed body, the resistant, one may believe, lies horizontal in its silence, perpendicular to the feet of two fog swathed vertical bridges, to who knows where? And the body’s…the photo’s…resonance, to me at least, to the Youtube poem that Annie Finch posted on her other thread here – (whispered from a rooftop in Teheran this week, while shouts of the quotidian filled the flickering dark below that voice) — what more may we ask of poetry, on this day?

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKUZuv6_bus&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.huffingtonpost.com%2F&feature=player_embedded

      Sometimes I believe I may know–why one has eyes. and breath.

      margo

  • On June 20, 2009 at 6:20 pm Terreson wrote:

    Thanks, Annie Finch. Shelley would get it; maybe the first to put light on the battle. I found myself tearing up while listening to the poem. Always the same battle, the same f***ing battle, between individual liberty, the right to self-expression, and the tyranny of organized state, religion, or corporation whose desired models of behavior are always as misfitting as cookie cutters. It is the same battle as we faught in Chicago, 1969; the same battle as got faught in Paris, 1848. The same battle as got faught in Prague, 1968. I’ve been following events in Tehran closely, daily, this last week. The poem you link to exactly reflects my instinct for what is happening there. In the end, not today, this week, or this year, those Iranian Romantic types will win. Romantics always win. Theirs is a spirit like water that always finds a way around a dam.

    Terreson

    • On June 20, 2009 at 9:53 pm Christopher Woodman wrote:

      A little like birth and death, the babies always win and then the teenagers take over.

      The irreconcilable opposites between which meaning is both made and hung.

      Such a struggle to be free. So many eggs get broken, so many graves dug.

      When the Romantics take over, Tere, the Reign of Terror begins!

      Because Summerhill threw away the keys, that’s why everything got broken.

      And as to water, what an innundation is just waiting to happen down below the dams in China. (Will it be the Great leap Forward this time, or the Cultural Revolution?)

      (Or the War on Terror?)

      And yet? And yet I’d give my life for that too, were I Iranian—but not for my country, never. For the meaning, just a tiny glimpse of it, a ray of sunlight through the veil and bars.

      (Did you see the Iranian football team lining up for the Confederations Cup in South Africa? The green arm bands? Who wouldn’t die to play like that!)

      Christopher

  • On June 21, 2009 at 1:19 pm Terreson wrote:

    A bit of synchronicity perhaps. Yesterday I visit a convenience store owned by an Iranian-American. He goes by his last name but I will call him by his first, Ali, since it is as generic as Joe or Sam. He has been in America since the revolution. He has a brother who was tortured so badly in the late seventies he is a mental vegetable. I’ve never known from which side the beating came. Ali calls me his friend and by now I know major chuncks of his life story, a little bit at a time.

    Ali is one of the most optimistic men I’ve ever met, which is a trait I’ve noticed in emigrees over the years. This week he has been troubled and preoccupied. His worry has less to do with which side of the Iranian argument will win and more to do with the very stability of the country itself, which I can understand. Mind you, Ali is not a poet or an intellectual. He is an entrepeneur, a hard headed business man who buys and sells. He chain smokes and late at night he will sit in his store drinking beer and watching t.v. Nor is he a religious man. He thinks all religion is hogwash. Judging from what he says and does I would say his central value revolves around family.

    Yesterday I am listening to his concerns and I say to him, don’t ask me why, that Hafiz is one of my favorite poets. His expression tells me he is not sure he hears me correctly at first. Then his eyes light up and he becomes animated. Hafiz, he says, is more holy than the Koran. He picks up a flattened paper bag, folds it under his arm as if it is a book, and says: if I go to buy a car I carry Hafiz with me for good luck; if I ask a girl to marry me I take Hafiz with me and pray to him.

    Pretty wild huh? A poet more sacred than a prophet.

    Terreson

    • On June 21, 2009 at 3:48 pm Desmond Swords wrote:

      HIGHLY EXPERIMENTAL MODERN GUFF: DO NOT READ IF
      YOU’RE LOOKING FOR QUALITY: TGHIS IS SHIT: GO AWAY: PUH-LEEZE !!!!

      Non-native American society being such a young civilization, only 500 years old, it is unsurprising your civilization has a laughable paucity of prophetic voices revered by the non-native populace.

      When we take into account it was founded on the premise of slavery for most of its history, with a perverse blind-spot in the holy text guaranteeing life liberty and the pursuit of happiness to all except – you know, the slaves who were human but not as human as Whitey – then it’s no wonder America’s unable to filter many memorable voices into poetry.

      Sidney Lanier, he was amazing.

      The Symphony (Edited Pimped-Extraction)

      When Nature from a far-off glen
      Has flute soft messages for men,
      Will this flute play again,

      Goddess alone sweetly singing,
      Breathing through life’s strident polyphone
      And flute-voiced world whose pure tone
      Sweet friend,
      Human love ascending
      To finer and diviner end
      Than mere human thought,
      Can comprehend for one
      Whose fibre plies,
      The weft in airs of harmony,
      Demanding a science of why
      Man’s tender pain crys inward
      And sky-gods mating earth with sky.
      Do not overbold:
      But hold
      And manifold Nature’s power.

      And speak of each no-tongue tree
      That spring by spring, dumbly
      and wistfully,
      Their mighty prayerful arms outspread
      Above men’s unheeding heads,
      Bless – big their bough shedding downward

      Speaking all-shaped bloom and leaf,
      Lichen on stone and moss on eave,
      Grass and grain in rank and sheave;
      Broad-fronded fern and keen-leaved cane,
      Briery mazes, bounding lanes,
      And a marsh-plant thirsty-cupped for rain,
      With milky stem and sugary vein.

      ~

      The pictures of last year’s election, are the only ones i followed with any real interest, and i showed my hand for Obama fairly early on.

      Interestingly in Britain and Ireland, the vast majority of blogging poets were silent on the election and voiced no support for Obama, until he got in.

      I thought at the time that this reluctance to voice an opinion on the 2008 election, was a sign of how ingrained the philosophy promulgated in The Project for the New American Century had seeped into the mind-set of the liberal left-leanining arty types – that we had resigned ourselves to stasis and accepting the fact of rich bad-white-guys always getting the result they desire, by dishonest means, smearing, twisting the truth, intimidation and blatant physical force.

      I think with the political leaders in Britian being so tied in with Bush, and in the absence of a charismatic figure with the world-changing potential as Obama, the brits were watching on TV unable to take it fully in, as though it was an extended episode of the West Wing rather than Reality unfurling before our very eyes.

      I don’t know if there was any deeply buried and latent racism affecting their thoughts, or the fact that a person of color becoming pres being just so foreign to the brits, that they were stunned.

      I remember towards polling day when a few did start to twitter, their language was one of restraint, saying, lets not get carried away, and if this guiy does get in, you know there’s a heck of a lot of probs to sort out, and one N. American poet, claiming to support Obama, reluctantly predicted McCain would get in, and i will never forget, s/he removed the post after the vent, just so – you know – their own prophetic abilities wouldn’t be on public record as flawed.

      I remember as it unfolded, the (truly scary) scenes with Palin and McCain in which they tried to divide the people of America, Palin herself i remember thinking, was the car-crash desperado of American Idol politics, and predicting (to myself) that the teenage pregnancy marriage wouldn’t last.

      And when Obama did get in i remember a few brit poets offering congratulations, and most of them i thought, you know, they just didn’t really mean it, it disn’t ring true. Like losers of a comp congratualting the winner through gritted teeth, because him being pres (potentially) changes the whole cosy set-up of the old whitey Imperialist gig, whereby an uncle tom can in the house of the plantation owner, of course you know, be equal – of course, of course, democracy and freedom for all is jolly jolly important, just not at this moment – because giving freedom to the *other*, well, it’s not as simple as it seems and blah blah blah.

      ~

      Yeah, you guys need a prophetic voice, maybe someone who can see things detached, who will unite and heal America, someone like Lennon, down the road from him perhaps, a Lancastrian living in Dublin who lurves y’all – ME perhaps.

      Yes. America
      let US be the prophet

      quarter back canvas ring-king
      bathing in a prize of heavy weight light

      poet-scop placebo champ where shame stands
      head in hand turning faced to a wall

      eying evenly the we of US America, all
      weeping into an ink-veined night above

      the Ohio river, Roman gold far away
      from home we won: US – A disgusted

      letting it fall because he was one of US
      one breath from the lynch mob hooded

      voodoo of a KKK us, the hard soul for sale
      each summer we gunners slaved to reach

      a quota of kills, attainment strung
      star to stripe from three strained songs,

      the US string – our reed woven slumbering
      in a sky of names, our grief silent

      sleeping in a mirror of the word none
      reach before speaking the wholly ghost

      joy glaring on a page of sense the US A
      talks of.

      God naming the one shade-filled syllable
      gone, a world through which we briefly flit

      fathers in ferment, it was mother Disney
      muzzling our sun one night, another planet

      on Epcot TV in slow-mo picture, planes
      hand set to tick tock, click off and Vote

      Disco going back two courses and all of US
      between the lines Abraham quoth –

      Happy Days, Sloppy Bob, Scalljah, Love
      Boat, Burton, 1492 – all collide within

      one person behind the times behind a hand
      beneath what line Homer’s Iliad bulls-eyed

      dead centre, on the middle of God’s stage
      entering ollamh, the zone sucked strange

      into what felt like a void: ancient eyes
      sensing unaltered time the centuries read

      connected to a different spritual scene
      six foot smiling copy of blank pages 4

      US – our eyes passing across that tome
      about turned upward to a dyad and clapped

      another world dying as we enter opposite
      realms of slim taste and death amidst

      solidity all very fixed, all very exquisite
      superficial calm holding in tenuous balance

      the things that went on. Long walks, old
      guitar and stringing up, listening to Pink

      Floyd bootlegs the evening before a morning
      we were late for class and did not realize

      exiting to change, half in imitation,
      how lifeless was our bluff – like who did

      we think we wuz America – played so short,
      so intense, it calloused cuticles

      when the ratio went vibrato and taught us
      how to block ahead, stumbling stopping US

      from becoming any good at sustaining sound
      in a leaden note, our sound a cry, US

      in the intricacies of language moving
      towards music as Mohammad listens

      to the propagation of good wisdom
      enriching nobility, as yet formless, yet

      within conceived as the good Idea
      Hope and History delivers to rhyme

      experience with wisdom and seer no room
      to argue, maneuver nor dissuade, a fait

      accompli, this Woman’s magic sequestered
      by an iris tracing an imminent flit

      into the dark.

  • On June 21, 2009 at 3:51 pm Desmond Swords wrote:

    oops, punctuation error halts the flow, should be:

    And sky-gods mating earth with sky
    Do not overbold:
    But hold

  • On June 21, 2009 at 10:14 pm Christopher Woodman wrote:

    Thanks for all that, Desmond, and I mean it all right from the very first word to the last. And so appropriate to this thread too–and needless to say to this hour.

    Except for the title, of course. The only part I didn’t like was the title, dear Desmond, but for every last word of the rest I say lucky Harriet!

    Thank you for the intro, thank you for “the laughable paucity of prophetic voices” and “the holy text guaranteeing life liberty and the pursuit of happiness to all except…” How apt at this moment when great-hearted Persia has only that still, small voice on the rooftops in the darkness even as the Supreme Spiritual Leader, so rooted in the writings of God, and a poet too, has to lie!

    Thank you for the Sidney Lanier, such a wonderful antidote for our times, and a great poet just waiting to be rediscovered like American landscape painting as our greatest artistic creation ever and, dare I say it, even the American landscape itself!

    Thank you for the Obama paean and ululation, which strikes me particularly deeply as an American who has lived abroad for 5 decades and for so much of that time has had to try not to explain our choice of presidents! Can you imagine what that has been like in the last 8 years in particular?

    And now to see that most handsome of faces representing ALL the races of the world looking out at us all and speaking in a voice that I not only want to hear but that I want to remember and am proud to pass on? I used to look away with George W. Bush, turn my eyes quite literally aside!

    And Yes, America/let US be the prophet! A full song full of thought, good-will, wild Irish word clusters and the noblest intentions!

    “Happy Days, Sloppy Bob, Scalljah, Love
    Boat, Burton, 1492 – all collide within

    one person behind the times behind a hand
    beneath what line Homer’s Iliad bulls-eyed

    dead centre, on the middle of God’s stage…”

    Troy is the beginning of Asia, did you know that? Geographically?

    Your bulls-eye’s dead centre, good Desmond, and your performance God’s stage.

    Thanks,

    Christopher

  • On June 21, 2009 at 11:26 pm Terreson wrote:

    Desmond Sword says: “Non-native American society being such a young civilization, only 500 years old, it is unsurprising your civilization has a laughable paucity of prophetic voices revered by the non-native populace.

    When we take into account it was founded on the premise of slavery for most of its history, with a perverse blind-spot in the holy text guaranteeing life liberty and the pursuit of happiness to all except – you know, the slaves who were human but not as human as Whitey – then it’s no wonder America’s unable to filter many memorable voices into poetry.”

    Desmond Sword I try to avoid your comments. Nor am I a knee jerk patriot. In politics I am a Southern populist (clearly a minority opinion). And I think the poet, Robinson Jeffers, was right when he took exception to FDR’s Imperialist ambitions. But, man, you say such dumb things and then pass it off as if you are some kind of Taliesin or some kind of Amergin. (It is likely I know your lit history better than you know mine.)

    Item one. There is no such a thing as a native American population. My maternal grandmother was half-Creek and so I’ve had reason to work through the question. With the possible exception of a small pop. of indigenious people in southwestern South America, the Americas were populated by paleo-Siberians going back 10,000 years BCE. Those were the ice age years. The Innuits of the arctic circle (Eskimos to most) came much, much later, long after the life and death of Jesus Christ. A good 500 years before Columbus sailed the ocean blue Norsemen were on our New England shores. DNA evidence proves the extent to which New England’s First Peoples got screwed. My point would be this. I am passing tired of this dichotomizing between native American and non-native American. There is no such a thing as a native American. Conversely, every child born here should be called native American. All the peoples who have come to these continents came from elsewhere first. The same is true in your neck of the woods too. You Celts are late arrivals to Ireland. There is only one continent that can lay claim to a native pop. of homo sapien sapiens. Africa. The rest of us are adventurers and opportunists.

    Item two. In a short 500 years, in fact, America has produced maybe too many prophetic poets, even more prophets in that other, sweet America called South America. Anne Bradstreet, Washington Irving, E.A. Poe, Melville, Thoreau, Emmerson, Eliot, Pound, Sexton, Plath, Snyder, and Morrison. All poets. All prophets.

    Item three. Desmond Sword I want you and everone else on your side of the pond to understand something. Most slave owners in America 150 or so years ago were of Irish, Scottish, and English descent. No Germans were involved, neither the Italians or East Europeans. Where did the Irish, the Scot, the English get the idea they could own a human?

    Terreson

    • On June 21, 2009 at 11:54 pm Christopher Woodman wrote:

      cf. “Lascaux” by Gary B. Fitzgerald followed by commentaries for your side of the pond.

      http://www.poetryfoundation.org/harriet/2009/06/poets-and-painters/#comments

      This is really silly, Tere–wonderful material massacred. I’m certainly glad you told us you know your lit history, otherwise we might have suspected animus.

    • On June 22, 2009 at 10:52 pm John Oliver Simon wrote:

      This.

      • On June 23, 2009 at 3:51 am Christopher Woodman wrote:

        John Oliver Simon,
        I always look forward to your comments, and you’ve given me a great deal to think about many times. But I’ve struggled with your cryptic little “This” just above, and as I must assume from the timing that the comment is addressed to me specifically, it’s important I do understand.

        Do you mean “This!” or “This?”—or what?

        If I were Gary I would also want to know, or Terreson.

        Indeed, I would like to ask you all to help me, an older man hardly in the mainstream and with almost no blog experience. So please do answer.

        1.) Do you feel I was wrong to reply to Gary in Martin Earl’s thread on poets and painters, and then to link to that here? What I want to know is if I have been wrong specifically to ask Gary to post his poems on Harriet only when a.) they address the issue and b.) address the issue in a deeper way than he could in ordinary prose?

        2.) Was I wrong to come down so hard on Terreson just above, and indeed accuse him of undermining the integrity and mood of this thread in order to score points? (Perhaps it’s common, but I haven’t seen anything like this on Harriet before.)

        What I like about Harriet is it’s sense of self-government. Don’t we all have to give ourselves credit for that?

        That’s a huge question in human affairs, of course, and one the events in Iran certainly high-light. And out of a sense of solidarity with those struggling for self-detarmination in Teheran this evening, let’s speak about this huge question right here.

        Christopher

        • On July 2, 2009 at 4:13 pm John Oliver Simon wrote:

          I’ll reply here, Woodie, since I can’t follow the thread’s emerging topology.

          Lauds and praises first to Annie for sharing the power and love of a Persian Shab-e-She’r.

          “This.” (with period) in my other active Net community (a passel of simulated historical baseball managers) is a handy tag to indicate agreement with the last speaker. What he said. I was agreeing with the thrust of Terreson’s defense of an American prophetic tradition as against Desmond’s Eurocentric jibes which were already pretty far off thread for the Iranian focus.

          Desmond ends up proposing himself for the mantle of American shamanic voice. I’ll be over to take up the reins of Irish poetry just about the time that happens. As to the blame for a thread going off topic, there’s plenty to go around for all of us (including this digression).

          It reminds me of the three monks who take a vow of silence. After awhile one asks, “How long did we say we have to be silent?” whereupon the second one accuses, “You talked!” and the third states smugly, “I am the only one who has not broken his vow.”

          Probably a gentle nudge in the direction of the original thread is more effective than a scold. I should talk. Wonderfully well-read one-trick-pony Tom pushes my buttons, and I can’t read Desmond’s novella-length rants (mostly I take his advice and scroll on down).

          One trick pony.
          One horse town.

          I thought we might have the beginning of an exquisite corpse there, but nobody picked up on it. Don’t get me started on flarf. Iranian poetry beats it all hollow.

          I like when you wrote in a recent thread, Woodie, that you didn’t know and didn’t really care if you were right or wrong. The burden of having to be right all the time saps energy.

  • On June 21, 2009 at 11:48 pm Desmond Swords wrote:

    Hey Terr dude, like cool out guy, like, real cool yah?

    Like, let it go bro, like the US we wuz back then mahn, we wuz bad Whitey Terr bro, real bad-ass slave-owning non-natives who went to steal gold mahn, and use the natives as our gimps yeah? Yeah bro?

    And Terr my love, it’s Swords man, not Sword.

    Are your eyes OK dude?

    • On June 22, 2009 at 12:18 am Christopher Woodman wrote:

      Honestly, Tere. How could you? What possessed you to think that a post like Desmond’s should be sabotaged at 5am, and the whole Iranian Poetry Night sunk before dawn?

      Let us have a bit of light sometimes. Let us respect Annie Finch for a start, who initiated this thread out of her heart. Then let us celebrate Forugh Farrokhzād, whose face greets us so eloquently even if we have no access to her work, and let us join hands with her Iranian admirers and compatriots in Maine, to show them our admiration for who and what they are, and our understanding. Then let us play again and again that YouTube video, and weep with that voice in the darkness despite the desperate cries and catcalls somewhere down there in the chaos below. And finally, let us hear Desmond, the voice of a difficult friend who’s also such a fine poet. Why can’t you let him lift us with all that goodwill to perceptions we so rarely get?

      Why should we let your unexamined sense of rivalry poison all that, Tere? Why should we tolerate your intolerance?

      Christopher

  • On June 21, 2009 at 11:54 pm Desmond Swords wrote:

    Thanks very much Woodie, you are very kind and generous to comment so positively on my effort.

    i am hoping to break big in America. maybe WB Logan chancing acrtoss me here and writing an e mail, asking if he can do a feature on me in the NY Times and to buy my papers for his university, and then take my rightful place ion the 21C pantheon of innovative voices who are just humble blogging attic-dwellers with no sinecured support or patron art lovers who just wanna get back to basics and party wiv da word moan..

    only joshin, thanks very much..

  • On June 22, 2009 at 4:48 pm Kenneth Goldsmith wrote:

    Farrokhzād’s films and music are on UbuWeb:

    http://ubu.com/sound/farrokhzad.html
    http://ubu.com/film/farrokhzad.html

  • On June 23, 2009 at 3:54 am Christopher Woodman wrote:

    My last post addressed to John Oliver Simon should have gone right here.

    Don’t fail me in your answers!

  • On June 24, 2009 at 1:01 am Annie Finch wrote:

    Some eloquent comments here, in a difficult time. Thanks for the links, Kenneth.

  • On July 2, 2009 at 1:33 pm Richard Jeffrey Newman wrote:

    I am coming to this post very late, catching up as I have been on a lot of things since events in Iran literally overtook me. (My wife is Iranian; she still has family there; and I am pretty involved in things Iranian, having translated two books of classical Iranian poetry, etc.), but I just want to appreciate Annie’s appreciation of what, in Persian, is called Shab-e She’r (literally: night of poetry), which is a tradition in Iran not entirely unlike the mushairra in Pakistan, though there are significant differences. For anyone who might be interested Persian Arts Festival hosts a monthly Shab-e She’r–I used to be PAF’s literary arts director–on the third Wednesday of each month, from September to June, in NYC at the Bowery Poetry Club.

    I’d also like to announce that PAF will be cosponsoring with a host of other organizations, like the Association of Iranian-American Writers and ArteEast, on July 11 at BPC, from 2-5 PM, a reading in solidarity with the opposition in Iran. Check out PAF’s website</a for details.

    • On July 10, 2009 at 9:02 am Annie Finch wrote:

      Dear Richard, many many thanks for adding your expertise and sensitivity to the context to this thread. What a wonderful culture to make such an important place for poetry. I also wanted to mention that on Norouz, the new year, my friends follow the custom, which I understand is pretty widespread in Iran, of keeping a volume of Hafiz’s poetry on the celebratory table and opening it at random to receive an augury or insight.
      I’m so glad you found this thread and came by.

  • On July 2, 2009 at 3:40 pm Prem Nizar Hameed wrote:

    Poetry has a special power to keep people together. If I am under stress, I too read something and scribble something. Then my stress will melt away.

    A prominent ruler of a country once told, whenever he wanted to know the current situation in his country, he would never ask his officials but he would approach the good poets in his country to get the clear picture of the situations. Because a good poet is widely awake to see what is going around him.

    Good poems always stand above all the conflicts. I remember Mahmoud Darwish who termed Arab Israeli conflicts as “a struggle between two memories”. Only can a beautiful mind define such a way.

    If poems can unite us, we should stand for poems, we love for poems. Disunity is the catalyst of all the problems in the world. I try to write both in my mother tongue and English. For that, I am indebted to the inspirations of a great and internationally recognized poet: Madhavikutty alias Kamaladas. She passed away recently. Without dedicating a few lines to her, this short piece of writing will remain incomplete.

    My story
    As told by you
    Delves into the infinite;
    Hisses at the serpent temple
    Aroma of the literary scent
    Vanished into the oblivion;
    In the lamp of love
    Kindle some desires still
    Up above the sensual feels;
    Tales & poems fold hands
    To pay tribute to the golden hand
    Yet, the pomegranate tree blooms….

    (First letters of each line make her name: MADHAVIKUTTY in acrostic style)

    Prem Nizar Hameed

    • On July 10, 2009 at 9:05 am Annie Finch wrote:

      Dear Prem, I appreciate the insights in your post very much, and your poem. Thank you for the anecdote and the wonderful Darwish quote! I agree; only a beautiful mind could have made such a definition.


Posted in Uncategorized on Thursday, June 18th, 2009 by Annie Finch.