What is it about Iranians and poetry?

It’s all that sun — it gets that Persian passion boiling — so says Pooran Farrokhzad, sister of the late revered poet Forough Farrokhzad and a poet and historian in her own right.

“The Iranian soil is brick-colored and a little red and when this sun shines brightly, the cells move rapidly and when they move more rapidly, love is more passionate and when love is more passionate, poetry comes out.”

When she’s not writing her own verse, Pooran is tracing women poets clear back to the 4th century, chronicling the lives of women who have been largely silenced by Iran’s laws and male-dominated culture, but have somehow managed to make their voices heard. “The women were forced to live behind closed doors and compose their poetry there, and the women from the second or third social classes did not have the right to compose poetry at all,” she says.

She says her sister, who died in a traffic accident in 1967 at the age of 32, was the first Iranian poet to actually write from a woman’s perspective. But that wasn’t the only source of her popularity.

“Forough spoke plainly and simply and was frank and sincere, she was brave and candid,” Pooran says. “Eastern people, not only Iranians but in general Eastern people, always live under masks, they are never themselves and are like an onion, there are many skins until you get to the real person. Forough is just herself, there are no skins.”

While many challenges remain, Pooran is proud of Iranian women’s progress since the revolution.

Iranian women have gone through a very wondrous era during these 22-23 years — they have taken a journey of mind.

From the Interview

“In general all Iranian women are in love, meaning Iranians are hot-blooded — the reason is the sun that shines directly from above over Iran… If they weren’t in love, they could never tolerate the specific life they live today.”

“My sister Forough in reality started a style and school of thought, meaning that for the first time in Iran she wrote from a woman’s perspective and voice.”

“Forough speaks in simple words, she is not afraid to express what she experiences…people like sincerity, people like simplicity, and people don’t like lies. Forough doesn’t lie; she is a woman without a mask.”

“Like soldiers, Iranian women are building the roads. They are building the roads of the future.”

“I don’t fear anything. Humans create their own fear. Fear doesn’t exist by itself. It comes from inside, and my inside is not weak so as to allow fear.”

Coordinates: Iran

Pooran Farrokhzad

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Tehran, Iran

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