Saturday, June 16, 2007

Farideh Hassanzadeh

There is a great interview with Iranian poet Farideh Hassanzadeh here.

Farideh and I have corresponded by email in the past. I emailed her to tell her I was writing a post about her, and Farideh expressed gratitude to her interviewer, Melissa A. Tuckey. Farideh says, "I am very much indebted to her ability as a journalist to gain my trust. During our interview I could feel I am speaking with myself in my own solitude, viewing at the mirror of memories sometimes. She was so kind, so humble and so patient with my restlesness. Some American or British journalists, instead of interviewing, ask questions for belittling my country. Melissa during the interview more than a journalist was a poet, full of empathy and understanding."

In the interview with Tuckey, Hassanzadeh talks about the place of poetry in her life as a woman who lived through (and lost her two-year-old child in) the Iran-Iraq War.

About how living through war has affected her life and poetry, she says, "Before war my poetry was not familiar with words like: bombs, alarming sounds, ruins and fears. The sky and the beauty of clouds or the brightness of stars turned into a terrible roof above me where bombs could fall and explode all my dreams. Before war I used to see the killed only on TV; in the news about Palestine. I never was able to smell the warm stream of blood shown in massacre reports. War acted like a sleight of hand to make the distance between me and the world disappear, beyond the TV. It turned my first little son to a bird without wings to fly, a bird good only to be buried forever."

Her surviving son and daughter are both poets. Included in the interview is a poem by her talented and insightful 14-year-old son called "A Letter to George Bush."

She also makes an intriguingly rich comment about political poetry in which she acknowledges its importance by saying "a wisdom can't ignore political realities" but adds, "Personally, in the depth of my heart, I have a deep fear of political poetry. My fear of political poetry as a poet relates to my fear of producing political mottoes rather than pure poetry. . . . Anyway when you live in a country that is always prey to superpowers, you feel guilty when you write love poems even for your husband!"

Read her poem "Isn't It Enough" here.

Read the full interview here.

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