"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 translation is remarkable for its craftiness and fluency. . . . The poems are sure to impress the American reader with their honesty, technical precision, rhythmic quality, and compassionate concern for the underdog."—World Literature Today
"Simin is 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."—Fatima Mernissi, author of Dreams of Trespass
Simin Behbahani’s collection contains some of the most formative work of twentieth-century Persian literature. Written over almost a half-century, much of her poetry reflects the traumatic experiences that have shaped Iranian history: revolution and war. Behbahani balances artful inquiry and shocking realism in both her language and imagery to 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 (1927–2014) was a celebrated poet, lyricist, and activist. She received the Simon de Beauvoir Prize for Women’s Freedom in 2009 and was nominated twice for the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Farzaneh Milani is professor of Persian literature and studies in women and gender at the University of Virginia. She is the author of Veils and Words: The Emerging Voice of Iranian Women Writers and Words, Not Swords: Iranian Women Writers and the Freedom of Movement.
Kaveh Safa has taught courses in anthropology and Persian at the Universities of Virginia and Chicago.
6 x 9, 210 pages