Iran is ground zero for poetry. Sure, Italy has a good poetic reputation, world-historically speaking, but how you gonna beat the cradle of civilization? Ancient Persia was particularly well-loved for its versification; think Rumi. Since 1979, a lot of the torchbearers of Iran's rich traditions have left home, and local poetry organization the Translation Project recently gathered writings by many such art refugees in Belonging: New Poetry by Iranians Around the World, edited by Niloufar Talebi. At the Iranian Literary Arts Festival, several of those poets Ziba Karbassi, Granaz Moussavi, Majid Naficy, Partow Nooriala, and Abbas Saffari present live recitations from the book. But their lineage challenges them to do more than just read: The tradition of Naghali, a storytelling style traditionally presented in coffeehouses, encourages collaboration and drama. In that spirit, this evening's readings are augmented by a screening of Icarus/Rise, a film put together by the project to illustrate 30 years of the Iranian emigrant experience the movie includes live music, dancers, and bilingual poems.
Feb. 5-6, 6:30 p.m., 2009