In the years since her tragic death in a car accident at age thirty-two in 1967, Forough Farrokhzad has become a poet as iconic and influential as Lorca or Akhmatova, celebrated as a pioneer of modernist Iranian literature and as a leading figure of contemporary world literature. Farrokhzad, as Elizabeth Gray writes in the preface, “remains a beacon to artists, especially women and marginalized artists, who seek freedom in all its forms.”
This thoughtfully curated, deftly translated selection of Farrokhzad’s poems includes work from her whole writing life, early to late. Readers will thoroughly treasure this expansive poet of the quotidian; of longing, loss, and desire; of classical reinvention; of lexical variation and sonic beauty; of terrifying wisdom, hope, and grief.
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.
—Mehdi Jami, The Guardian
Iran’s leading literary journal, Sokhan, wrote after her funeral, ‘Forough is perhaps the first female writer in Persian literature to express the emotions and romantic feelings of the feminine gender in her verse with distinctive frankness and elegance, for which reason she has inaugurated a new chapter in Persian poetry.
—The New York Times
Joy, rage, despair, transcendence—Farrokhzad’s poems, like the life from which they were often drawn, contain multitudes. In Elizabeth T. Gray’s assured translations, each poem is tightly conceived and elegantly modulated, the language precise, the voice as fresh and vivid as Farrokhzad’s own. A vital contribution to Farrokhzad’s legacy.
—Jasmin Darznik, author of The Bohemians
Elizabeth T. Gray’s new literary translations offer the unstoppable voice of world-class poet Forough Farrokhzad to English speakers and broaden the horizon for comparative readings of the poet’s work, a treasured joy unto itself.
—Niloufar Talebi, author of Self-Portrait in Bloom
Farrokhzad wrote poetry on the horizon of working for a civil society in which men’s freedom was not complete without women’s freedom, and for a life in which the soul’s freedom was not separate from the body’s—individually, socially, and culturally. Her poetry is a space that radiates aspiration and exaltation, a space ablaze with vitality, desire, and beauty.