Sin: Selected Poems of Forugh Farrokhzad

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University of Arkansas Press, 2007 - Poetry - 134 pages
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For the first time, the work of Iranian poet Forugh Farrokhzad is being brought to English-speaking readers through the perspective of a translator who is a poet in her own right, fluent in both Persian and English and intimately familiar with each culture. Sin includes the entirety of Farrokhzad's last book, numerous selections from her fourth and most enduring book, Reborn, and selections from her earlier work and creates a collection that is true to the meaning, the intention, and the music of the original poems.

Farrokhzad was the most significant female Iranian poet of the twentieth century, as revolutionary as Russia's Akhmatova and Tsvetaeva and America's Plath and Sexton. She wrote with a sensuality and burgeoning political consciousness that pressed against the boundaries of what could be expressed by a woman in 1950s and 1960s Iran. She paid a high price for her art, shouldering the disapproval of society and her family, having her only child taken away, and spending time in mental institutions. Farrokhzad died in a car accident in 1967 at the age of thirty-two. Sin is a tribute to the work and life of this remarkable poet.

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Sin: Selected Poems of Forugh Farrokhzad

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In her foreword, Alicia Ostriker compares the late Iranian poet Farrokhzad's work to that of tortured geniuses Anna Akhmatova, Sylvia Plath, and Dahlia Ravikovitch. There's only one problem: the poems ... Read full review

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Winner of 2010 Lois Roth Persian Translation Award
"A poet of sensuous extremes, Farrokhzad at times fuses with the living natural world. ...She is either feverishly alive or hopelessly dead. But
part of her immediacy is that she always writes as if she were speaking—to herself, or a lover, or the reader. Perhaps to all three at once. Sholeh Wolpé, a poet and artist in her own right, Iranian-born and cosmopolitan, is a daughter of the freedom made possible by poets like Farrokhzad. Her translations are hypnotic in their beauty and force. This book will be treasured by readers who crave not a clash of cultures but a connection."
— Alicia Ostriker, Professor Emerita of Rutgers University, author of eleven volumes of poetry, and twice nominated for a National Book Award
"In Wolpe's fresh and vital translation, a musical and compelling English version that draws the reader along and captures a sense of the exquisitely balanced pacing of Farrokhzad's language, and the immediacy and authenticity of her voice, the members of the Lois Roth jury found themselves experiencing Forugh's Persian poems with new eyes."
— Excerpt from the Lois Roth judges' award statement
"Sholeh Wolpé’s exquisite poetic voice and her superb command of the art of translation meld together in translations that exude the passion, defiance, and crackling wit that mark Forugh Farrokhzad’s poetry. Capturing her alternating mood, cascading images, and rippling emotions, Wolpé’s translations make Farrokhzad’s poetry burst into life in English. Wolpé is the best imaginable guide to this gifted Iranian woman’s poetic universe. "
— Nasrin Rahimieh, Director of Dr. Samuel M. Jordan Center for Persian Studies at UCI, and author of "Missing Persons: Discovering Voices Iranian Cultural History"
"Maligned and admired in her all-too-brief life, demonized and eventually banned soon after the Islamic Revolution, Forugh Farrokhzad is a literary icon and guru in Iran today. Her poetry, like the response it elicited, is a perfect metaphor for a society in transition. Sholeh Wolpé’s selection of poems and the lush lucidity of her translation convey the quickly evolving and the richly paradoxical nature of Farrokhzad's poetry. It is a welcome addition to the slim body of literary translations available in the U.S."
— Farzaneh Milani, Director of Studies in Women and Gender and Professor of Persian and Women Studies at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, and author of "Veils and Words: The Emerging Voice of Iranian Women Writers"
"Forugh is a dynamic inventor in life and poem, risking all to create a role for women's place, art, spirit. Her poetry has a Houdini slight-of-hand perfection of the impossible, each word poised, of raw reality and acrobatic beauty, yielding unparalleled verse. Compact, extravagantly imagistic, she left a complete corpus, but her heart-breaking early death, like that of Miguel Hernandez and Garcia Lorca to war's brutality, has deprived the world of this genial magus. Her Persian voice survives. Sholeh Wolpe's translations, meeting the rigor and esthetic of her compatriot, flow and carry us into rare catharsis. They resurrect Forugh."
— Willis Barnstone, Author of Sweetbitter Love: Poems of Sappho, Border of a Dream: Poems of Antonio Machado, and Life Watch

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About the author (2007)

Sholeh Wolpe is the author of two collections of poetry, including Rooftops of Tehran, and she is the editor of Breaking the Jaws of Silence: Sixty American Poets Speak to the World and The Forbidden: Poems from Iran and Its Exiles. She is a regional editor of Tablet & Pen: Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East. Her books of translations include Sin: Poems of Forugh Farrokhzad, which was awarded the Lois Roth Persian Translations Award in 2010, and a Persian translation of Walt Whitman's Song of Myself.

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