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Belonging: New Poetry by Iranians Around the…
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Belonging: New Poetry by Iranians Around the World

by Niloufar Talebi

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
A very good introduction to contemporary persian poetry. ( )
  Replay | Mar 18, 2010 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Utterly gorgeous. Here the political becomes personal and vice versa with haunting results. Aspects of the poems suffers in translation, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much wit, playfulness, and outrage managed to come through regardless.
  octopedingenue | Jul 11, 2008 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The power behind poetry is as much in what is written as what is left unsaid. Poetry is the art of a few punctuating words that evoke a meaning so deep within, reaching to a place where thoughts cannot be explained and words would not do justice. To read a book of poetry, is to immerse yourself in a place where not all can travel, only those with feeling and sometimes an eager imagination. BELONGING is poetry of life, of death, and of existence. A book of poetry gathered together, edited and translated by Niloufar Talebi, which brings the modern poetry of the Iranian people into the hands of those who read in English.

BELONGING is a book of power and bravery, bringing forth a light on a culture that is judged so often, and misunderstood even more frequently. To know a people, is to know what causes their pain, grief, joy, and hope, and my belief is that once you know that you cannot go back to the fear that the unknown enjoys. Far from political, far from justification,defensive or offensive words, BELONGING is a union of Iranian voices from around the globe that shows the talent and beauty they bring especially as they are joined together.

I personally enjoy poetry, but not all of it. I love the modern, non-rhyming lines that actually don't choose their words based on what would make a meter or rhyme, but on what would convey the feeling and bring forth the meaning that is intended with their words. BELONGING is filled with that, with simple, modern, true, rough, and honest writing, I loved it! This is a book of truth, not over dramatization or draining emotional writing. It is poetry of the people and of words that we can all relate to.

Niloufar Talebi has joined together many Iranian authors from all around the world, translated their works and put them in a book called BELONGING, but that is not all he has done. There is an amazing art festival that will travel around the US to perform and bring awareness to the Iranian arts, it is called The Translation Project. It encompasses poetry, dancing, acting, and music, all a splendor of celebration and art from the Iranian culture. ( )
  Bbexlibris | Jul 3, 2008 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I was thrilled to find that Belonging is exactly what I hoped it would be: a collection of poems that not only introduce me to a culture I am woefully unfamiliar with but also reaffirm that many themes are universal.

While some of the works in this anthology are clearly tied explicitly to the Iranian culture, many more are accessible to anyone who has felt loss, love, confusion or exaltation. In other words, these poems are for everybody. ( )
  mrkatzer | Jul 2, 2008 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Poetry will inevitably suffer greatly from translation, so the power that the poems in Belonging retain in English is impressive. Many of the images in the collection are crisp, surprising, and perhaps a bit disturbing.

The theme of identity ties the collection together. Many of the poems deal directly the formation of an identity in exile, rebelling against the demands of both "home" and the "exile." Other poems, notably Saghi Ghahraman's examine forming an identity against expectations of femininity and motherhood. ( )
  krasiviye.slova | Jun 23, 2008 |
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From the Publisher: Recent political developments, including the shadow of a new war, have obscured the fact that Iran has a long and splendid artistic tradition ranging from the visual arts to literature. Western readers may have some awareness of the Iranian novel thanks to a few breakout successes like Reading Lolita in Tehran and My Uncle Napoleon, but the country's strong poetic tradition remains little known. This anthology remedies that situation with a rich selection of recent poetry by Iranians living all around the world, including Amir-Hossein Afrasiabi: "Although the path / tracks my footsteps, / I don't travel it / for the path travels me." Varying dramatically in style, tone, and theme, these expertly translated works include erotic divertissements by Ziba Karbassi, rigorously formal poetry by Yadollah Royaii, experimental poems by Naanaam, powerful polemics by Maryam Huleh, and the personal-epic work of Shahrouz Rashid. Eclectic and accessible, these vibrant poems deepen the often limited awareness of Iranian identity today by not only introducing readers to contemporary Iranian poetry, but also expanding the canon of significant writing in the Persian language. Belonging offers a glimpse at a complex culture through some of its finest literary talents.… (more)

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