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I Won't Dance for You: A Collection of Shahrzad's Poetry

Availability: Forthcoming
Published: 2019
Page #: xii + 166
Size: 5.5 x 8.5
ISBN: 978-1568593760
appendix, notes

Quick Overview

This volume contains the translation of the poetic works of Shahrzad, and Iranian dancer, actor, and writer, originally published in three different books before the 1979 Iranian Revolution. In the 1960s and 70s, Shahrzad was known as a popular artist; she danced in clubs, acted in more than sixteen movies; and directed the movie Maryam and Mani (1977). She stopped dancing and acting in the late 1970s to write and as a result, published two volumes of poetry, a book of prose and poetry, a screenplay, and several commentaries for film journals. This translation includes almost all of the poems and prose of Shahrzad's three published books; Salam, Aqa (Hello, Sir, 1972); Ba Teshnegi Pir Mishavim (Thirsty, We Age, 1978); and Tuba (1977).

The poet's talent and the poems' power are reflected in the unusual metaphorical constructs and unique and sometimes unlikely images she portrays. Her verse generally features elusive and unconventional images and symbols as well as mystifying and subversive concepts. In most Persian verses of the political poetry of the decades before the 1979 Revolution, water, rain, and dew have a weighty presence, indicating hope and the coming of better times. Such hopes may be those of what some conceptualize as god's blessings (featured mostly in the classical period) or may be related to the desire to improve social and political situations (a subject more common in contemporary ideologically inspired literature). In Shahrzad's poetry, however, natural elements such as rain come close to their natural essence, that which gives life or revives. She assigns no particular political import; she simply asks for "one drop of dew" to enliven—to revive herself and the world. Her metaphors are the results of the juxtaposition of such elements, the constructed images. Such departure from convention and the tendency to depict the simple and the natural occur in all of her poems. Moreover, with a "small word," she shakes the whole world, and with "small acts of kindness," she performs the impossible act of washing "the wind, the rain, and the name." These images contain sobering expressions as well. "Washing a name" happens when a person behaves properly to eradicate the memories of previous wrongdoings. The meaning becomes clearer if we read the lines in the context of the accusations that were leveled against her, causing her to abandon her cinematic career. Moreover, her poems become the only place she talks about haunting memories, the assaults on her body, those that shaped the course of her tragic yet successful life.

author

Kamran Talattof

Kamran Talattof (University of Michigan, 1996) is a professor of Near Eastern Studies (Persian literature and Iranian culture). He teaches courses on Middle Eastern Women's Literature, Gender Issues, Ideological Movements, Cinema, and Literature. Much of his research and his publications focus on issues of gender, sexuality, ideology, culture, and language pedagogy. In his projects, he examines how cultural artifacts are created both within and in response to dominant social conditions, political ideologies, and the dominant discourses of sexuality. He traces the connections between literature, culture, ideology, and history. Talattof is the author, co-author, or co-editor of numerous books and articles including the "Modernity, Sexuality, and Ideology in Iran: The Life and Legacy of a Popular Female Artist," which was among Choice's Annual Outstanding Academic Titles, 2011, and also received The L. Yarshater Book Award, 2012. His "Politics of Writing in Iran: A History of Modern Persian Literature" (a comparative historiography) has been translated into Persian. He has also edited, co-authored, and co-translated more than a dozen other books and tens of articles on issues related to ideology, gender, literary criticism, and religion.

CONTENTS

Introduction

PART I: HELLO, SIR

Remember and Return
The Fifth Season
With Him, Night Lingers
I wish I could beat you
You Are The Guest of My Eyes
Oh, Your Black Eyes in my Blue Marble
The Cup of Sleep Will Finally Break
I Stay, I go
Then
The Other Side of the Water Well
Speak
I Have a Song
Hello, Sir
Friend
My Little Room
Star Trees
When My Father Wore Glasses, We Thought He
Became Literate
Mistakes in Dictation
Darkness, Who Are You?

PART II: THIRSTY, WE AGE

First Word
Second Word
Third Word
Fourth Word
Fifth Word
Sixth Word.
Seventh Word
Second Journey
Third Journey
Fourth Journey
Fifth Journey
Sixth Journey
Seventh Journey
Eighth Journey
Ninth Journey
Tenth Journey
Womanly (1)
Womanly (2)
Womanly (3)
Womanly (4)
Womanly (5)
The Last Word

PART III: TUBA

Tuba
We Can Walk the City Everyday
Knowing the Fire
Tuba Grows and the Bucket Feels Light
The Villager
Water, Father, Burden
Drunk
Winter
Freedom
Roots
Fati
Alive Under the Ice
How Slowly One Grows Up / How Fast One Grows Old
The Grape Garden
Arash (The Hero) is Gone, Where is His Bow?
One Air
A Long Night
Which Mister?
Washing
Zahra
The Goat
I Don’t Go to Movies Anymore
Homework without Sugar Cubes
Certificate
Aliabad, the Village
Open
In Ghost Land
I Sleep in My Awakeness
Azam, the Other Girl
This is the Café
One Egg per Day
Tuba Grows Even Bigger

ADDENDUM

An Analysis of Shahrzad’s Poetry

Shahrzad’s Numerous Accomplishments

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