Window on Iran - Part 10

Window on Iran - Part 10

Current Issues:

I did not find Iran in the headlines (itself an amazing news). Instead, I attach an informative interview with Dr. Trita Parsi the US-based scholar on Iran (and the current President of NIAC). He talks about the position of Iranian politicians, the executive powers of the Iranian President, and possibilities of diplomatic solutions to the nuclear standoff, among other things: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1543504,00.html

Iranian Americans:

The prominent Iranian American I would like to introduce to you this week is again a musician. This is, in fact, one of the top female classical guitar players in the world, Dr. Lily Afshar. Born and raised in Iran, Lily Afshar completed her graduate work in music at the Boston Conservatory. She has been teaching in University of Memphis since 1989 and, at the same time, has been performing internationally. More recently, she has started the Persian instrument setar. To see a picture of Lily Afshar and read about her achievements, click on:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lily_Afshar


A Major Contemporary Persian Ghazal Writer:

Reference to Persian poetry usually evokes thought of classical figures such as Omar Khayyam, Hafez and Rumi. From time to time, the modern verse of Forough Farrokhzad, Ahmad Shamlu and others of their generation becomes available in English. Twentieth century Iranian poets are known almost exclusively for their reformist tendencies that transformed classical genres into what Iranians now call shi’re now, literally “new poetry.” In this poetry, figures such as Farrokhzad introduced wonderfully fresh ideas which were not considered fit for poetry before. In the poem “From darkness,” for example, Farrokhzad wrote:

I called you
my whole being held in my hands
like a bowl of milk
the moon glanced blue on the panes

The fact that is almost entirely unknown outside Iran—because very little translation has been done—is that twentieth century Iran has great ghazal writers some comparable to Sa’di and Hafiz only writing their ghazals in a new poetic language. Houshang Ebtehaj with pen name Sayeh (b. 1927) is one such master poet. For a recent photo of Ebtehaj during a poetry reading click on http://saamhouse.co.uk/gallery/archives/000029.php#000029  Despite the imposing look, and his reputation as a poet with political and social comittment, Ebtehaj has a vast quantity of gentle lyric poetry in ghazal form (as well as many in modern poetry). To my knowledge, there are no English translations of these ghazals. If you read Persian click on http://www.easypersian.com/houshang_ebtehaj/sineh_sardan.htm to see a couple of the ghazals in Persian (and a short and basic biography in English).

On the topic of classical persian poetry, if you are interested in reading stories from Firdowsi’s classical epic Shahnameh “The Book of Kings” as comic books, clik on:  http://www.hyperwerks.com/series/rostam_chara1.html  (courtesy of Ladan Foroughi).


Iranian Cinema:

Iranian women’s most recent international achievements have included the movie “Friday Evening,” Mona Zandi’s directional debut, which won the special jury prize in Cologne film Festival last week: http://www.payvand.com/news/06/oct/1170.html  In fact, the festival dedicated an entire section to Iranian women film makers. On the topic of cinema, another Iranian (this time male) director Azizollah Hamidnejad won the Tegernsee Award for his film “Tears of Cold” in the Mountain Film Festival held in Germany, Oct. 18-22.
Visual Delight:

I leave you with two oil paintings by the young painter Adel Younesi. The theme of both is street side peddlers. I find them both delightful: http://www.elahe.net/photo.php?picid=3474 and another one on the same theme http://www.elahe.net/photo.php?picid=3473


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