By Mette Moestrup, Copenhagen, Denmark
The Iranian poet Forugh Farrokhzad has been translated into Danish by the young poet Shadi Angelina Bazeghi, who was born in Iran and is now a student at the Danish Author School in Copenhagen. As her teacher I had the pleasure to assist her. The night we finished the Danish version of Farrokhzad's collection Let us believe in the beginning of a cold season... in Shadi's apartment, the weather shifted from Indian summer to thunder and lightning and rain. We almost became superstitious! Well, in many ways, this publication – this dialogue between Persian and Danish – is important. As you might know, the political rhetoric in Denmark is quite xenophobic, especially when it comes to Muslim immigrants. The discussion about freedom of speech (in connection with the Muhammed-drawings) has not made the rhetoric less harsh.
Forugh Farrokhzad’s poems have been used by the Iranian artist Shirin Neshat in his photographic series "Women of Allah". On the cover of the Danish version of Let us believe in the beginning of a cold season... is a picture by Neshat: A woman is holding her hand in front of her mouth, but still she is saying something. On her hand are written some lines from the poem "I feel sorry for the flowerbed" in Persian.
Forugh Farrokzhad is a complex symbol of freedom of speech. Her poems can certainly not be used to confirm cultural racism. I also think that her pathos and sensuality is challenging the concepts of moderne poetry (in a Western definition) – but that might be another story.
Some quotes from "I feel sorry for the flowerbed":
"All our neighbours are planting/ bombs and guns/ in their gardens in stead of flowers"
"I fear the time/ which has lost its heart"
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