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September 22, 2009, 7:00 PM

Persian Poetry: Origins, Translations, and Influences

Poetry Reading & Discussion
Participants: Iraj Anvar, Richard Jeffrey Newman, Roger Sedarat, Niloufar Talebi

This reading and discussion among five distinguished Persian poets and translators will begin by touching on the two-thousand year history of poetry in Iran. Panelists will highlight the significance of such classical masters as Sa'di, Hafez, Rumi, and Omar Khayyam, as well as contemporary Iranian poets like Nima Youshij and Forough Farrokhzad. Special attention will be given to what often gets lost in English translation. The poets will consider how their understanding of Persian verse and culture, from its origins in Iran, influences the poetry they and others write in English.

This event is made possible with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency.

Iraj Anvar is the translator and editor of Jalal al Din Rumi's Divani-I Shams-I Tabriz: Forty Eight Ghazals of Rumi. He has been a leader of the New York Ava Ensemble, which is dedicated to promoting traditional Persian music and performing classical Persian poetry.

Richard Jeffrey Newman is an Associate Professor in the English Department at Nassau Community College, where he coordinates the college's Creative Writing Project. He has published translations of two books of classical Iranian poetry, Selections from Saadi's Gulistan and Selections from Saadi's Bustan, and a poetry collection of his own, entitled The Silence of Men.

Roger Sedarat is the author of a collection of poems, Dear Regime: Letters to the Islamic Republic, and a forthcoming chapbook, From Tehran to Texas. He teaches poetry and translation in the MFA program at Queens College, City University of New York.

Niloufar Talebi is the editor and translator of BELONGING: New Poetry by Iranians Around the World and founder of The Translation Project, which brings contemporary Iranian literature to the world through events and literary and multimedia projects. Inspired by Iranian storytelling traditions, she dramatizes new Iranian poetry in theater projects such as ICARUS/RISE.

This program is made possible, in part, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council, and the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency.


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