Forough Farrokhzad

Forough Farrokhzad

Forugh Farrokhzad ( _fa. فروغ فرخزاد) (January 5, 1935February 14, 1967) was an Iranian poet and film director. Forugh Farrokhzad is arguably Iran's most significant female poet of the twentieth century. She was a brilliant modernist poet and an iconoclast.


Forugh (also spelled as Forough) was born in Tehran to career military officer Colonel Mohammad Bagher Farrokhzad and his wife Touran Vaziri-Tabar in 1935. She was the third of seven children (Amir, Massoud, Mehrdad, Fereydon, Pouran, Gloria) and attended school until the ninth grade, then learning painting and sewing at a girl's school for the manual arts. At age sixteen or seventeen she was married to Parviz Shapour, an acclaimed satirist. Forugh continued her education with classes in painting and sewing and moved with her husband to Ahvaz. A year later, she had her only child, a son named Kāmyār (subject of "A Poem for You").

Within two years, in 1954, Forough and her husband divorced. Parviz won custody of the child. She moved back to Tehran to write poetry and published her first volume, entitled "The Captive", in 1955.

Forough, as a female divorcée writing controversial poetry with a strong feminine voice, became the focus of much negative attention and open disapproval. In 1958 she spent nine months in Europe and met film-maker/writer Ebrahim Golestan, who inspired her to express herself and live independently. She published two more volumes, "The Wall" and "The Rebellion" before going to Tabriz to make a film about Iranians affected by leprosy. This 1962 film was called "The House is Black" and won awards world-wide. During 12 days of shooting, she became attached to Hossein Mansouri, the child of two lepers, whom she adopted and had live in her mother's house.

In 1963 she published the volume "Another Birth" and by now her poetry was mature and sophisticated, also being a profound change from previous modern Iranian poetic conventions. On February 13, 1967, at 4:30 pm, Forough died in a car accident at age thirty-two. In order to avoid hitting a school bus, she swerved her Jeep, which hit a stone wall; she died before reaching the hospital. Her poem "Let us believe in the beginning of the cold season" was published posthumously and is considered the best-structured modern poem in Persian.

A brief literary biography of Forough, Michael Hillmann's "A lonely woman: Forough Farrokhzad and her poetry", was published in 1987. Also about her is a chapter in Farzaneh Milani's work "Veils and words: the emerging voices of Iranian women writers" (1992).

She is the sister of the singer, poet and political activist Fereydoon Farrokhzad (1936 — 1992; assassinated in Bonn, Germany). Translations into English include those by [ Sholeh Wolpe] , "The Sad Little Fairy " [ Maryam Dilmaghani] , "Sin: Selected poems of Forough Farrokhzad". Nasser Saffarian has directed three documentaries on her; "The Mirror of the Soul" (2000), "The Green Cold" (2003), and "Summit of the Wave" (2004).

amples of her poetry in English

Another Birth
"Translations by Ismā'il Salāmi"

My entire soul is a murky verse
Reiterating you within itself
Carrying you to the dawn of eternal burstings and blossomings
In this verse, I sighed you, AH!
In this verse,
I grafted you to trees, water and fire

Perhaps life is
A long street along which a woman
With a basket passes every day
Perhaps life
Is a rope with which a man hangs himself from a branch
Perhaps life is a child returning home from school
Perhaps life is the lighting of a cigarette
Between the lethargic intervals of two lovemakings
Or the puzzled passage of a passerby
Tipping his hat
Saying good morning to another passerby with a vacant smile

Perhaps life is that blocked moment
When my look destroys itself in the pupils of your eyes
And in this there is a sense
Which I will mingle with the perception of the moon
And the reception of darkness

In a room the size of one solitude
My heart
The size of one love
Looks at the simple pretexts of its own happiness,

At the pretty withering of flowers in the flower pots
At the sapling you planted in our flowerbed
At the songs of the canaries
Who sing the size of one window.

This is my lot
This is my lot
My lot
Is a sky, which the dropping of a curtain seizes from me
My lot is going down an abandoned stairway
And joining with something in decay and nostalgia
My lot is a cheerless walk in the garden of memories
And dying in the sorrow of a voice that tells me:
"I love
Your hands"

I will plant my hands in the flowerbed
I will sprout, I know, I know, I know
And the sparrows will lay eggs
In the hollows of my inky fingers
I will hang a pair of earrings of red twin cherries
Round my ears
I will put dahlia petals on my nails
There is an alley
Where the boys who were once in love with me,
With those disheveled hairs, thin necks and gaunt legs
Still think of the innocent smiles of a little girl
Who was one night blown away by the wind
There is an alley which my heart
Has stolen from places of my childhood

The journey of a volume along the line of time
And impregnating the barren line of time with a volume
A volume conscious of an image
Returning from the feast of a mirror

This is the way
Someone dies
And someone remains
No fisherman will catch pearls
From a little stream flowing into a ditch

Know a sad little mermaid
Dwelling in the ocean
Softly, gently blowing
Her heart into a wooden flute
A sad little mermaid
Who dies with a kiss at night
And is born again with another kiss at dawn

Translations of Forugh's works

*Arabic: Mohammad Al-Amin, Gassan Hamdan
*Azeri: Samad Behrangi
*English: Ismail Salami; [ Maryam Dilmaghani] , [ Sholeh Wolpe] . April, 2008 note: A new English translation of selected poems, the first by a poet/non-scholar is out, called "Sin." It is translated by Sholeh Wolpe, who can be heard reading selections of the book on the radio show, "Voices of the Middle East and North Africa," available here:
*French: Mahshid Moshiri
*German: Annemarie Schimmel
*Italian: Domenico Ingenito, []
*Turkish: Hashem Khosrow-Shahi, Jalal Khosrow-Shahi


* Farzaneh Milani, "Veils and words: the emerging voices of Iranian women writers" (Syracuse University Press, Syracuse, N.Y., 1992). ISBN 0-815-62557-X, ISBN 978-1-85043-574-7.
* Interview with Simin Behbahani on the occasion of the fortieth anniversary of Forugh Farrokhzad's death on Thursday 13 February 2007 ( [ BBC Persian] ).


* Michael Craig Hillmann, "A lonely woman: Forough Farrokhzad and her poetry" (Three Continents Press, Washington, D.C., 1987). ISBN 0-934-2111-16, ISBN 978-093-42111-16.

Further reading

* Manijeh Mannani, "The Reader's Experience and Forough Farrokhzad's Poetry", Crossing Boundaries - an interdiciplinary journal, Vol. 1, pp. 49-65 (2001). [ PDF]
* Michael Craig Hillmann, "An Autobiographical Voice: Forough Farrokhzad", in "Women's Autobiographies in Contemporary Iran", edited by Afsaneh Najmabadi (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1990). ISBN 0932885055. This essay can be read here: [] .
* Sholeh Wolpe, "Sin: Selected poems of Forugh Farrokhzad"(University of Arkansas Press, Fayetteville, Arkansas, 2007). ISBN 1557288615


* "Moon Sun Flower Game", German Documentary about Forough Farrokhzad’s adopted son Hossein Mansouri, by Claus Strigel, Denkmal-Film 2007, [ film resume at producer’s website]

External links

* [ A Website Dedicated to Forough]
* [ Another website containing her poems in English]
* [ Iran Chamber's Article on Forugh]
* [ A Website Dedicated to Forough]
* [ Farrukhzad, Forugh] , a biography by Professor Iraj Bashiri, University of Minnesota
* [ audio archive of her poems] , Listen to some of her poems by her own voice
* [ "She loved as in our age; people no longer do"]
* [ Forough Farrokhzad's Resume]
* [ Biography and poems]
* [ A Flash motion picture by Kianoosh Ramezani] (of "Zahir-od-Dowleh" cemetery in Tehran)

See also

* Simin Behbahani
* Parvin Etesami
* Pegah Ahmadi
* Iranian women
* List of famous Persian women
* List of Iranian intellectuals
* Bibi Khatoon Astarabadi

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  • Persian literature — (PerB|ادبیات پارسی) spans two and a half millennia, though much of the pre Islamic material has been lost. Its sources often come from far flung regions beyond the borders of present day Iran, as the Persian language flourished and survives… …   Wikipedia

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