Wednesday, February 04, 2009

2nd Iranian Literary Arts Festival, SF, 5-6 February 2009

Poetry about heart's love, healing life, and a homeland

30 years ago, the United States and Iran had the nationstate equivalent of a lover's quarrel. The divorce was terrible. As in such things, it was the children of Iran who suffered, and many were forced to leave home. Yet slowly, over time, the diaspora of Iranians around the world have used their beautiful language to help heal many of the old wounds and make sense of the world.

Belonging, the collection of Iranian poetry from around the world produced by Niloufar Talebi and her colleagues at the Translation Project, is an exquisite bi-lingual collection of such expressions. With English and Farsi on facing pages, the book is a visual depiction of the mirrored, reflective mind maintained the international Iranian community. Thinking of their new homes, and remembering their homeland.

The title is an imperative towards harboring a heart of bittersweetness: Be Longing. And a recognition of that conditional feeling of inclusiveness: Belonging.

The collected poetry comprises a sensuous world remembered and imagined, filled with lemons and oranges, romantic flowers, dull drab days, novelties of life in the Western world, old fondnesses of Iran, matter-of-fact realities, scathing ironies, and infinite personality quirks.

The free festival event this week, in partnership with the San Francisco Public Library, promises to bring the black-and-white words on a page to full color and lively bloom. Hope to see you there!


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