The current Quarterly Feature at ArteEast is It Deserves and Commands Your Attention, a fascinating collection of Persian fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.
Here’s editor Richard Jeffrey Newman summary of the contents:
I will not pretend that the poems, essays and stories gathered here represent anything other than the relatively small number of people who sent them to me or from whom I solicited them. Nonetheless, I do think they begin to sketch the outlines of the landscape my question was intended to uncover and begin to explore. Among the writers represented here are two women from Iran, one a young poet of 24, the other with an established career as a writer and editor, each of whom write poetry in English; there is an award-winning Iranian-American poet; a poet born in the year of the revolution who now writes, in Persian and Swedish, in Sweden; another poet published here in translation has been barred from entering Iran for more than two decades. There is a fiction writer from the United States who has made her career out of writing the Iranian immigrant experience. You will find translations of classical Persian literature, a fictionalized memoir by an academic from the United Kingdom and a short story by a man who is now a well-known Iranian director, but who began his career as a fiction writer deeply sympathetic to the Islamic Republic.
Seems to me that there’s a lot of interesting Iranian Persian writing out there, but that it’s sort of “under the radar,” at least from a mainstream perspective. (As if great literature from other countries/languages is getting tons of attention.)
In addition to this great publication, anyone interested in Iranian literature should definitely check out The Translation Project which is run by the amazing Niloufar Talebi. I’ll post more about this in the future, but as a taste, here’s what they list online as their Current Projects:
1. An Anthology of Contemporary Iranian Poetry Around the World, forthcoming summer 2008 (North Atlantic Books) edited and translated by Niloufar Talebi. It offers a comprehensive yet eclectic view of poetry generated outside Iran since the 1979 revolution by both established and emerging Iranian poets. Poetry IN diaspora, not OF diaspora, means that editorial decisions will not focus on the subject of exile, but on the quality and growth of each poet’s work during their time spent outside of Iran.
2. Multimedia Iranian Literary Arts Festival, November 13-17, 2007 in San Francisco. This multimedia festival will feature a new theatrical piece based on Iranian poetry, called ICARUS/RISE, panel presentations, readings, translator’s forum, film screenings and more.
3. Midnight Approaches…: DVD of short films. A multi-dimensional, evocative and entertaining DVD of short films based on contemporary Iranian poetry, it features an Introduction to Persian Poetry, 6 films based on contemporary Iranian Poetry translated, adapted and brought to life with music, performance and dance. Musical compositions by master musicians such as Ostaad Nejad, Hafez Modirzadeh, royal hartigan and David Molina, and more. Get you own copy now and support the organization.
Imagine the most baroque excesses of Goethe, Shakespeare, and Poe, blended together and poured into a single book: That is The Nightwatches of Bonaventura. Ophelia and Hamlet fall in love in a madhouse, suicidal young men deliver mournful and heartfelt. . .
In 1899, Maurice Ravel wrote “Pavane pour une infante défunte” (“Pavane for a Dead Princess”) for solo piano (a decade later, he published an orchestral version). The piece wasn’t written for a particular person; Ravel simply wanted to compose a. . .
Fiston Mwanza Mujila is an award-winning author, born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, who now, at 33, lives in Austria. From what I could find, much of his work is influenced by the Congo’s battle for independence and its. . .
Twenty-One Days of a Neurasthenic is not a novel in the traditional sense. Rather, it is a collection of vignettes recorded by journalist Georges Vasseur in his diary during a month spent in the Pyrenées Mountains to treat his nervous. . .
Founded in 1960 by such creative pioneers as George Perec, Raymond Queneau and Italo Calvino, the Oulipo, shorthand for Ouvroir de littérature potentielle, came about in when a group of writers and mathematicians sought constraints to find new structures and. . .
There’s little to say about a series of prose poems that willfully refuse to identify pronoun antecedents. Or perhaps there are a million things. The poems in Morse, My Deaf Friend— the chapbook by Miloš Djurdjević published by Ugly Duckling. . .
The Crimson Thread of Abandon is the first collection of short fiction available in English by the prolific Japanese writer and all-around avant-garde trickster Terayama Shūji, who died in 1983 at the age of 47. This collection would be important. . .
Last year, NYRB Classics introduced English-language readers to Catalan writer Josep Pla with Peter Bush’s translation of The Gray Notebook. In that book, Pla wrote about life in Spain during an influenza outbreak soon after World War I, when. . .
“Your bile is stagnant, you see sorrow in everything, you are drenched in melancholy,” my friend the doctor said.
bq. “Isn’t melancholy something from previous centuries? Isn’t some vaccine against it yet, hasn’t medicine taken care of it yet?” I. . .
What to make of Vano and Niko, the English translation of Erlom Akhvlediani’s work of the same name, as well as the two other short books that comprise a sort of trilogy? Quick searches will inform the curious reader that. . .