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Forough Faroukhzak
فروغ فرخزاد (Poetress and film director (Iran 1935-1967)
 

Timeline
Born: December 29, 1934, Tehran, Iran
Died: February 13, 1967 Darband, Iran

Forough Farrokzhad lived in teheran during the regime of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

The pioneering Iranian poet and filmmaker Forough Farrokhzad was an iconic figure in her own day and has come to represent the spirit of revolt against patriarchal and cultural norms in 1960s Iran. Four decades after her tragic death at the age of 32, Forugh Farrokhzad, Poet of Modern Iran brings her ground-breaking work into new focus. During her lifetime Farrokhzad embodied the vexed predicament of the contemporary Iranian woman, at once subjected to long-held traditional practices and influenced by newly introduced modern social sensibilities. Highlighting her literary and cinematic innovation, this volume ( Majmoueye Kamele Ashare Forough Farrokhzad (Complete Poems of Forough Farokhzad) examines the unique place Farrokhzad occupies in Iran, both among modern Persian poets in general and as an Iranian woman writer in particular. The authors also explore Farrokhzad's appeal outside Iran in the Iranian diasporic imagination and through the numerous translations of her poetry into English. It is a fitting and authoritative tribute to the work of a remarkable woman which will introduce and explain her legacy for a 21st-century audience.

Farrokhzad spent nine months in Europe during 1958. After returning to Iran, in search for a job she met filmmaker and writer Ebrahim Golestan, who reinforced her own inclinations to express herself and live independently, and with whom she began a love affair.[8] She published two more volumes: “The Wall” and “The Rebellion”, before traveling to Tabriz to make a film about Iranians affected by leprosy. This 1962 documentary film, titled 'The House is Black', is considered to be an essential part of the Iranian New Wave movement. During the 12 days of shooting, she became attached to Hossein Mansouri, the child of two lepers. She adopted the boy and brought him to live at her mother's house.

She published “Reborn” in 1964. Her poetry at that time varied significantly from previous Iranian poetic conventions

Farrokhzad's strong feminine voice became the focus of much negative attention and open disapproval, both during her lifetime and in posthumous reception of her work.

In a radio interview, when asked about the feminine perspective in her poems, Farrokhzad replied: "If my poems, as you say, have an aspect of femininity, it is of course quite natural. After all, fortunately I am a woman. But if you speak of artistic merits, I think gender cannot play a role. In fact to even voice such a suggestion is unethical. It is natural that a woman, because of her physical, emotional, and spiritual inclinations, may give certain issues greater attention, issues that men may not normally address. I believe that if those who choose art to express their inner self, feel they have to do so with their gender in mind, they would never progress in their art -- and that is not right. So when I write, if I keep thinking, oh I'm a woman and I must address feminine issues rather than human issues, then that is a kind of stopping and self-destruction. Because what matters, is to cultivate and nourish one's own positive characteristics until one reaches a level worth of being a human. What is important is the work produced by a human being and not one labeled as a man or a woman. When a poem reaches a certain level of maturation, it separates itself from its creator and connects to a world where it is valid based on its own merits."

Death

Farrokhzad died in a car accident on February 13, 1967, at the age of 32. Although the exact circumstances of her demise have been the subject of much debate, the official story is that she swerved her jeep to avoid an oncoming school bus and was thrown out of her car, hitting her head against the curb. It was believed she died before reaching the hospital, however, Farzaneh Milani in her book “ Forugh Farrokhzad: A Literary Biography With Unpublished Letters / : زندگی نامه ادبی همراه با نامه های چاپ نشده (Farsi), cites an interview with Ebrahim Golestan who speaks about Farrokhzad's final moments where she died in his arms. Farrokhzad's poem Let Us Believe in the Dawn of the Cold Season was published posthumously, and is considered by some to be one of the best-structured modern poems in Persian.

Farrokhzad's poetry was banned for more than a decade after the Islamic Revolution. A brief literary biography of Forough, Michael Hillmann's “A lonely woman: Forough Farrokhzad and her poetry” , was published in 1987. Farzaneh Milani's work “Veils and words: the emerging voices of Iranian women writers”(1992) included a chapter about her. Abdolali Dastgheib, literary critic writer, published a critical review of Forough’s poems titled ‘The Little Mermaid’ (Farsi title پری کوچک دریا) (2006) in which he describes Forough as a pioneer in modern Farsi poetry who symbolises feminism in her work. Nasser Saffarian has directed three documentaries about her life: 'The Mirror of the Soul' (2000), 'The Green Cold ' (2003), and 'Summit of the Wave' (2004), and 'Sholeh Wolpé' has written a short biography of Farrokhzad's life in "Sin--Selected Poems of Forugh Farrokhzad" (2007).

In February 2017, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Farrokhzad's death, the 94-year-old Golestan broke his silence about his relationship with her, speaking to Saeed Kamali Dehghan ofThe Guardian : I rue all the years she isn’t here, of course, that’s obvious,” he said. “We were very close, but I can’t measure how much I had feelings for her. How can I? In kilos? In metres?”

Sholeh Wolpé writes, "Farrokhzad is Iran's most revered female poet. She was a poet of great audacity and extraordinary talent. Her poetry was the poetry of protest-- protest through revelation-- revelation of the innermost world of women (considered taboo until then), their intimate secrets and desires, their sorrows, longings, aspirations and at times even their articulation through silence. Her poems are still relevant in their advocacy for women’s liberation and independence."


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