"Behbahani . . . blends Eastern and Western cultures, leaps from one time period to another, switches back and forth from masculine forms, and imbues the lines with multiple layers of meaning."—The Miami Herald
"The Sultan of today's ghazals is indeed Simin Behbahani."—Houshang Golshiri, writer and editor, Karnameh
"Simin Behbahani's ghazals are the echoes of contemporary Iranian women's voices, demanding their share of love's beauty, universal justice, and individual freedom."—Javad Mojabi, writer and literary critic
"Simin is living proof that Scheherazade is among us, reincarnated in millions of us, Muslim women, sculpting the world we want simply by weaving words. Scheherazade changed the violent king by feeding him soft words. She did not shout, she just murmured stories in the nights. How can violent weak policemen resist the ancestral voice of a poetess like Simin declaring softly: Gaze in my eyes at consciousness flourishing like a garden. Hear a world of awakenings dormant in my words. Hear the world awakening in my words."—Fatima Mernissi
As a Muslim woman writing in Iran, Simin Behbahani’s collections contain some of the seminal work of twentieth-century Persian literature.
Written over almost a half-century, much of her work reflects the traumatic experiences that have shaped recent Iranian history: revolution and war. In a balance of artful inquiry and shocking realism, Behbahani’s language and imagery probe the depths of political, cultural, and moral oppression. In the traditional verse of the ghazal, she improvises with meter to echo and provide new interpretations.
Simin Behbahani is a distinguished voice in Iranian literature. Her work has attracted the attention and admiration of an evergrowing readership inside and outside Iran.
Farzaneh Milani teaches Persian language and literature and women's studies at the University of Virginia and is the author of Veils and Words: The Emerging Voices of Iranian Women.
Kaveh Safa has taught courses in anthropology and Persian at the Universities of Virginia and Chicago.
6 x 9, 212 pages