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Seda: Voices of Iran

Granaz Moussavi

Granaz Moussavi was born in 1974 in Tehran. She earned a graduate degree in film studies from Flinders University of South Australia and has made four short films, one of which won the Best Director Award at Flinders. Her second book, Barefoot Till Morning, is currently in its fourth edition. Her third collection, The Songs of the Forbidden Woman, is now in its second edition. She is currently studying for a doctorate degree in filmmaking and film theory at the University of Western Sydney.  The Sticky Dreams of a Banished Butterfly retrieved from BELONGING: New Poetry by Iranians Around the World, Niloufar Talebi ed. (2008).

Without any doubt, one of the challenges faced by Iranian female poets in the past four decades has been finding a balance between devotion to the works of iconic modern poet Forough Farrokhzad (1935-1967) and establishing their own distinctive voices. Many failed to develop a voice original enough to emerge from Forough's literary dominance. Granaz Moussavi is one of the emerging voices of contemporary Persian poetry. Also a literary critic and filmmaker, her poetry has been widely published, anthologized, and critiqued inside and outside of Iran in the recent years. In her poetry, she masterfully uses and plays with language. Her language is innovative and imaginative. Granaz Moussavi has an enviable control over language. Her poetry is succinct, imaginative, and fraught with imagery. Granaz is torn between two worlds, moving between Iran and Australia, and her viewpoint reflects her constant longing and belonging. In "The Sale," she moves from bidding farewell to her life and belongings in Iran to returning to it later, but perhaps to discover change, both inwardly and outwardly. Her first feature film, My Tehran for Sale, released in 2010, is also the first feature coproduction between Iran and Australia. It won the Best Independent Film Award at the Australian Inside Film (IF) competition. My Tehran for Sale aims to present urban-dwelling, middle-class Iranians to an international audience, a break from the rural representations that predominated in Iranian cinema in the 1980s and 1990s.


Source: Frontline:


The Sale


I wrap a scarf around the moon's head,

slip the world's bangles on her wrist,

rest my head on the gypsy sky's shoulders,

and say good-bye.

But I don't wish to look.


I won't look

to see the radio and all its waves

finally gone,

and the decorative plate, priced high,

not sold.

The bed was taken,

and the bedding -- now asleep on the floor --

is full of fish without a sea.

Don't haggle -- I won't let go

of my messy homework on the cheap,

and that book, The Little Black Fish, is not for sale.

"Always a few steps untaken.

The latecomer carries away nothing

but his own chaos and mess."

What remains is only a crow

in love, and never tamed.

You've come too late,

I gave my shoes to a cloud -- a keepsake

to one who does not crush lovesick ants.

You're too late.

Nothing remains but a dress

invaded by vagrant moths.

Remember the gown that was home to tame butterflies?

Always a few steps untaken,

and so much time passes

that we begin to fear mirrors,

to stare at our childhood hair

that now plays a gray melody --

string by string.

We have forgotten our dance beneath this sky,

a sky dying of a black hacking cough.

It's time to leave.

In their letter they say the sky

is not this color everywhere.

The day my plane takes off with a sigh,

hand an umbrella to the clouds

to shield them from my tears.

If you see someone returning from night roads,

returning to seek her old bits and pieces;

if you see a girl who without a reason

whistles to herself and to the moon;

That would be me.

I'd be coming to gather the torn pieces of tomorrow,

to glue them together before it's time for dawn prayers.

That days, go to my house and water the geraniums;

perhaps spring will come

and then in five minutes I'll be there.

I'd close the door because

the moon always comes in through the window.

--Translated by Sholeh Wolpé


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