Forough Farrokhzad

Forough Farrokhzad

Poet, filmmaker, screenwriter, and painter, Forough Farrokhzad (1934–1967) was born the third of seven children in Mazandaran, north of Tehran. Drawn to reading and writing poetry as a child, she dropped out of high school to study painting and dressmaking at a technical school. At age sixteen she fell in love with her mother’s cousin; they married, moved to a provincial town, and had a son. During her marriage she worked as a seamstress and wrote the poems of her first collection, The Captive (1955). In the fall of that year, she divorced her husband, relinquished all rights to her son, and moved to Tehran. Three more poetry collections followed: The Wall (1956), Rebellion (1958), and Another Birth (1964). She also translated the work of George Bernard Shaw and Henry Miller, and made a groundbreaking documentary, The House Is Black (1962), about a leper colony in northeastern Iran. Her posthumous collection of late poems Let Us Believe in the Beginning of the Cold Season was published in 1974.

Let Us Believe in the Beginning of the Cold Season

Poetry by Forough Farrokhzad

Translated from the Persian by Elizabeth T. Gray, Jr.

In the years since her tragic death in a car accident at age thirty-two in 1967, Forough Farrokhzad has become a poet as influential as Lorca or Akhmatova, celebrated as a feminist trailblazer of Iranian literature and as an iconoclastic figure of contemporary world literature. As Mehdi Jami writes in the Guardian, “In every culture you have cultural icons, like Shakespeare in Britain. Farrokhzad was like that for contemporary Iran, someone who formed the identity of our contemporariness.…
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Innocence has given way to experience. The poet commands her emotions rather than surrendering to them.
World Socialist Web Site
In her translation, Elizabeth T. Gray Jr. sought to capture “as much of the beauty, strangeness, ferocity, and stillness of the original.” She has done so, and more, bringing the best of Farrokhzad into the light, where she is easily recognized to be as relevant and fresh today as she was sixty years ago.
World Literature Today
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