Iran Away


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

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