Meet Our Contributors, MQR Spring 2019, Special Issue on Iran

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SALAR ABDOH |THE ALCOVE | translation, |LIES, FAME, MEMORY, ILLNESS, AND THE THEATER OF REZA ABDOH | essay, |BEDTIME | translation, |THE INGRID BERGMAN PRINCIPLE | translation

SALAR ABDOH is the author of the novels The Poet Game, Opium, and Tehran at Twilight. He is also the editor and translator of the anthology Tehran Noir. Recipient of National Endowment for the Arts and New York Foundation for the Arts awards, his writing has appeared in various publications such as the New York Times, BOMB,Callaloo, Tablet, and Guernica. He lives in New York City and Tehran and teaches at the City University of New York.

HOSSEIN MORTEZAEIAN ABKENAR | SECOND SLICE OF DARKNESS |fiction

HOSSEIN MORTEZAEIAN ABKENAR was born in 1966, studied dramatic arts at Tehran University, then taught creative writing at Art University and other independent institutions. He published his first work of fiction, a collection of short stories titled The Concert of Forbidden Tars, in 1999, followed by The French Perfume, which won the 2003 Yalda Award for the best collection of short stories. His first novel, Scorpion on the Steps of Andimeshk Train Station, or Blood’s Dripping from This Train, was published in 2006 to great acclaim. The novel received the Golshiri Award and the Mehregan Award for the best novel of the year, as well as the Vaav Award for the year’s most unique novel. Abkenar’s books are banned from sale and publication in Iran.

JAVAD AFHAMI |BEDTIME |fiction

Born in 1964, JAVAD AFHAMI is a veteran of the Iran-Iraq war and the author of the noted war novel, Cold Sooran. He is also published several distin- guished short story collections and novels including The Year of the Wolf and Samand Taxi. He lives in Mahmudabad, Iran, by the Caspian Sea.

DENA AFRASIABI|AYATOLLAHLAND |fiction

DENA AFRASIABI’s short fiction has previously appeared in JMWW, The Toast, and Fiction Southeast, among other publications. Her writing has received fellowship support from the Millay Colony for the Arts, the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts as well as the National Endowment for the Arts. Born in Iran and raised in Northern California, she currently lives and writes in Austin, Texas.

REZA AFZALI |SIAVASH | poetry

REZA AFZALI is an Iranian poet and literary critic born in 1948 in Fariman, Iran. From a young age he participated in the lively poetry circles of Mashhad and published his poems in the journals of Mashhad and Tehran. After tak- ing a degree in Arabic and Persian literature in college, he worked at Ferdowsi University. Although he has now retired, he continues to teach literature in var- ious colleges and universities in Iran and to host poetry circles. Reza Afzali has published several works of criticism, translations from Arabic, and six books of original Persian poems to date: In the Sullen City of Autumn (Dar shahr-i ghamgerefteh-yi pa’iz, 1978); Pools Limpid as a Clear Morning (Berk-ha-ye sha- faf chun subhi zolal); Nothing Left for the Sun (Chizi be aftab namandeh ast); This is Not What I Wanted (Ancheh mikh’astam in nabud);Bearer of Good News (Qased-e khush-khabar); Songs of Toronto (Taraneha-yi Toronto, 2017).

QEYSAR AMINPUR|THE INESCAPABLE DAY |poetry

The poet, critic, teacher, and editor QEYSAR AMINPUR (1959–2007) was a key figure in literary culture following the 1979 Revolution and is sometimes considered the founder of post-revolutionary poetry. “The Inescapable Day” (Ruz-e nagozir) was first published in the early 1990s.

AMIR AHMADI ARIAN |SHAFAQ PARK |fiction

AMIR AHMADI ARIAN is an Iranian novelist and academic. He has writ- ten two critically acclaimed novels and a book of nonfiction in Farsi. In English, his short stories and essays have appeared in the New York Times, the Guardian, Lithub, London Review of Books, and others. He holds a PhD in comparative lit- erature from the University of Queensland, Australia, and an MFA in creative writing from New York University. He currently teaches literature and creative writing at City College, New York.

VAHE ARMENDREAMDAZE |poetry

VAHE ARMEN is a contemporary Iranian-Armenian poet who composes in both Armenian and in Persian and lives in Iran.

ALIYEH ATAEI|THE ALCOVE |fiction

ALIYEH ATAEI is an Afghan writer born in 1981. A graduate of theater studies, she is an award-winning writer in Iran and the author of two novels and a short story collection, Dreams of the Hindu Kush. She currently lives in Tehran.

KATHRYN BABAYAN|Guest Editor

KATHRYN BABAYAN is Associate Professor of Iranian History and Culture in the Departments of Middle East Studies and History at the University of Michigan. Her expertise lies in the medieval and early-modern Persianate world. She specializes in gender studies, the history of sexuality, and the history of the anthology. She is the author of Mystics, Monarchs and Messiahs: Cultural Landscapes of Early Modern Iran (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 2003). Babayan has co-edited two books: Islamicate Sexualities: Translations Across Temporal Geographies of Desire with Afsaneh Najmabadi (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 2008) and An Armenian Mediterranean: Words and Worlds in Motion with Michael Pifer (Cham, Switzerland: Palgarve Macmillan, 2018).

DICK DAVIS|THREE CHAIRS |translation

DICK DAVIS is professor emeritus of Persian at Ohio State University. He has published numerous book-length verse translations from medieval Persian.

ARMEN DAVOUDIAN |CHEERS FROM LONG AGO |translation, |SAFFRON RICE |poetry

ARMEN DAVOUDIAN’s poetry has appeared in the Yale Review, Literary Matters, and Blueline. He grew up in Isfahan, Iran, and lives in Baltimore, where he is an MFA candidate at Johns Hopkins University.

LEILA EMERY |PERSIAN |poetry

LEILA EMERY received a BA in comparative literature from Smith College and an MA in creative writing from Johns Hopkins University. She is a co- editor of and contributor to the forthcoming anthologyIranian Revelations: Voices from the Iranian Diaspora (UT Press). Her work has appeared in Matter, LINES+STARS, and Parentheses Journal.

SHAHLA FARGHADANI |I SWEAR BY THE MOON OF THE HASHEMITES THAT I SPEAK THE TRUTH |translation

SHAHLA FARGHADANI is a PhD student in the Department of Middle East Studies at the University of Michigan. Her research interests focus on Indo-Persian literary culture and the social and intellectual history of early modern (16th–18th century) Iran and India.

SANDY FEINSTEIN|FREESTYLE |essay

SANDY FEINSTEIN visited Iran in 2015 while on a sabbatical from Penn State Berks, where she is the honors program coordinator and professor of English. Twenty years ago, she was a lecturer-researcher at the University of Aleppo as a Fulbright Scholar. Her creative non-fiction has appeared most recently in Isle, Punctuate, and Orange Blossom Review.

M.R. GHANOONPARVAR |DISPLACED ENTITIES, SHATTERED IDENTITIES, AND THE LOSS OF PARADISE |essay

M.R. GHANOONPARVAR is professor emeritus of Persian and Comparative Literature at the University of Texas at Austin. Professor Ghanoonparvar has also taught at the University of Isfahan, the University of Virginia, and the University of Arizona and was a Rockefeller Fellow at the University of Michigan. He has published widely on Persian literature and culture in both English and Persian and is the author of Prophets of Doom: Literature as a Socio-Political Phenomenon in Modern Iran (1984); In a Persian Mirror: Images of the West and Westerners in Iranian Fiction (1993);Translating the Garden (2001); Reading Chubak (2005); Persian Cuisine: Traditional, Regional and Modern Foods (2006); Iranian Film and Persian Fiction (2016); and Dining at the Safavid Court (2016). His most recent translations include Shahrokh Meskub’s In the Alley of the Friend (2018), and Hushang Golshiri’s Book of Jinn (2019).

MOJGAN GHAZIRAD |A WOMAN WARRIOR |essay

A native of Iran, MOJGAN GHAZIRAD graduated from Tehran University of Medical Sciences with a medical degree. She currently works as an assistant professor of pediatrics at George Washington University NICU in Washington, DC. Her short stories have appeared in Persian literary magazines such as Zanan and Hengam, and her articles have been printed in newspapers like Shargh Daily and Salamat. She has published three collections of short stories in Farsi in Iran and Europe. Her last collection, In the Solitude of Suitcases, was published in 2016 in the United Kingdom. She earned an MFA in creative writing from Southern New Hampshire University in January 2018.

MASON JABBARI |ROLLING A BOULDER UPHILL |essay

MASON JABBARI is a PhD candidate in English language and literature at the University of Michigan, where he also teaches courses on academic writing and literary translation. He occasionally writes poetry, and his work has previously appeared in the London Magazine.

HABIBE JAFARIAN |THE INGRID BERGMAN PRINCIPLE |essay

HABIBE JAFARIAN has worked at various newspapers and journals in Iran, including Hamshahri Javan, Mostanad, and Dastan. She is the author of several award-winning biographies in Persian, including the life of the legendary Shia cleric Imam Musa Sadr and the eminent war photographer Kaveh Golestan. Recently, Jafarian was senior editor at the Iranian film journal 24. She lives and works in Tehran.

MOHAMMAD REZA SHAFI’I KADKANI |AN ELEGY FOR THE TREE |poetry, THE MESSAGE OF SPRING; THE RAIN’S TRAVELOGUE; BEFORE YOU|poetry

MOHAMMAD REZA SHAFI’I KADKANI (born 1939) is a renowned Iranian poet, scholar, and literary critic. He has valuable publications in both Farsi and English on literary criticism and Persian poetry and literary history. In 2009 he was a visiting scholar at Princeton University. He is currently professor of Persian literature at Tehran University.

SABA KERAMATI |TWO POMEGRANATES FOR WINTER SOLSTICE |poetry

SABA KERAMATI is a multiracial poet who was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay area. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan, where she received her degree in English and global media studies. Her work has been published in re:asian, a Canadian and US-based online platform that highlights the voices of Asian-identifying peoples. She is currently a master’s candidate for creative writing at the University of California, Davis.

SARA KHALILI |SECOND SLICE OF DARKNESS |translation

Born in Tehran, SARA KHALILI has translated Censoring an Iranian Love Story (2009) by Shahriar Mandanipour, The Pomegranate Lady and Her Sons (2013) by Goli Taraghi, The Book of Fate (2013) by Parinoush Saniee, Kissing the Sword: A Prison Memoir (2013) by Shahrnush Parsipur, and Rituals of Restlessness (2016) by Yaghoub Yadali, along with several volumes of poetry.

HAJI KHAVARIAT THE SAME DEAD END |poetry

HAJI KHAVARI is a graduate of Yasouj University in Iran, where he studied architecture. He plays in a punk band and edits a zine, Plastic Roses.

HARRIET LEVIN |THE MESSAGE OF SPRING; THE RAIN’S TRAVELOGUE; BEFORE YOU; O MORNING | translation

HARRIET LEVIN is the author of three books of poetry: The Christmas Show, Girl in Cap and Gown, and My Oceanography. She is also the author of the novel How Fast Can You Run: A Novel Based on the Life of Michael Majok Kuch (originally excerpted in the Kenyon Review). Her books have won awards from Barnard New Women Poets, the Poetry Society of America, Independent Book Publishers, and the Ellen LaForge Memorial Poetry Foundation. She has written for Ploughshares, the Iowa Review, the Harvard Review, PEN America, and the Forward, among other journals. She earned an MFA in creative writing from the University of Iowa and teaches writing and directs the Certificate Program in Writing and Publishing at Drexel University.

FRANKLIN LEWISDREAMDAZE |translation

FRANKLIN LEWIS is an associate professor of Persian literature and chair of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago. His research focuses on Persian and Arabic literature and philology, Sufism and Islamic thought, Baha’i studies, as well as the role of translation in literary history. In addition to academic studies, Lewis has translated classical works of Persian poetry and belles lettres by authors such as Ferdowsi, Sana’i, ‘Attar, Rumi, Jami, and Baha’u’llah, as well as modern fic- tion authors Hushang Golshiri, Mohammad-Ali Jamaalzadeh, Shahrnush-e Parsipur, Goli Taraqqi, and others. His translation of the Armenian-Iranian novelist Zoya Pirzad appeared as Things We Left Unsaid (Oneworld, 2012). He has also published a collection of short stories by Iranian women titled In a Voice of Their Own: A Collection of Stories by Iranian Women Written since the Revolution of 1979 (Mazda, 1996). His translations of Rumi’s original Persian appear as Rumi: Swallowing the Sun (Oneworld, 2008).

PAUL LOSENSKY|THE INESCAPABLE DAY |translation

The translator, PAUL LOSENSKY, is a professor at Indiana University in the Department of Central Eurasian Studies and the Department of Comparative Literature, which he currently chairs. He teaches Persian, Persian literature, and translation studies. He has published numerous studies of Persian poetry and biographical writing, and his earlier translations include The Memorial of God’s Friends by Farid ad-Din ‘Attar and In the Bazaar of Love: Selected Poems by Amir Khusraw (with Sunil Sharma).

FAYRE MAKEIGTHE POET; IN THE ROSE GARDEN |translation

In 2009 FAYRE MAKEIG received a PEN Translation Grant to translate the book Tasian, the collected free verse of the contemporary Persian poet H. E. Sayeh. Several of the resulting poems were subsequently published by Two Lines. Fayre lives in Brooklyn, NY.

AMY MOTLAGH| BETWEEN THE ACTS: WITNESSING THE EGYPTIAN REVOLUTION, REMEMBERING THE IRANIAN REVOLUTION |essay

AMY MOTLAGH spent the first decade of her academic career at the American University in Cairo (AUC) and is now the inaugural Bita Daryabari Presidential Chair of Persian Language and Literature at the University of California, Davis. Her monograph Burying the Beloved: Marriage, Realism, and Reform in Modern Iran was published by Stanford University Press in 2011. Motlagh’s poems and stories have appeared in the Atlanta Review, Allegheny Review, and in the anthologies Tremors and Let Me Tell You Where I’ve Been. A chapbook of Motlagh’s poems, The Litany of Farewells, was published by the National Association of State Poetry Societies.

SAÏDEH PAKRAVAN|THE EXILE STAR |poetry

SAÏDEH PAKRAVAN was born in Iran. She is an author, in both French and English, of short stories published in literary magazines such as Pleiades and Sonora Review; novels published in France (in recent years, Azadi, L’Émir, and three other novels, all by Belfond) and in the United States (The Arrest of Hoveyda: Stories of the Iranian Revolution by Mazda); of poetry published in the United States (in Gargoyle, Poet Lore, etc.) and in France (a collection Entendu ce matin by Caractères); and essays. She was for nine years the editor in chief of Chanteh, a cultural quarterly in English for second-generation Iranians.

ARASH SAEDINIAP R O O F | poetry

ARASH SAEDINIA studied political science at University of California, Berkeley, creative writing at California State University, Northridge, and law at Harvard University. His earliest published poetry appeared in the Iranian diasporic journal Chanteh. A series of his pieces were included in A World Between: Poems, Short Stories, and Essays by Iranian-Americans (Braziller). His translations of poems by Nima Yushij and Sohrab Sepehri appeared in B|ta’arof magazine, for which he was a contributing editor. He is a professor of English at Los Angeles City College.

AMIR SAFISAFFRON |poetry

AMIR SAFI is from College Station and is based out of Houston, Texas. He is a graduate of Texas A&M University. He is the co-founder of Mic Check, which hosts the Texas Grand Slam Poetry Festival, and the founder of Write About Now. He is a 2017 Houston Poet Laureate Finalist, a 2013 and 2015 Southern Fried Poetry Slam champion, and a 2013 National Slam Poetry semi-finalist. His work has been featured by A Plus, Upworthy, the Huffington Post, Whataburger, Total Frat Move, and others. Most recently, his work has been published by Pittsburgh Poetry Review and Tincture Journal, and he has received recognitions as a semi-finalist for the Crab Creek Review 2017 Poetry Prize as well as a finalist for the North American Review’s 2018 James Hearst Poetry Prize.

MO H SAIDIHAFIZ’S PARADISE; BOOKS IN PARADISE |poetry

A physician and writer, MO H SAIDI was born in Iran, moved to the United States in 1969, and became an American citizen in 1975. Saidi has won a first- place award of the Iowa Poetry Association, and in that same year, he earned a master’s degree in English and American literature and language from Harvard University. Saidi has published three collections of poetry; a collection of short fiction, The Garden of Milk and Wine; and in 2015, The Marchers: A Novel.He has won local, state, and national awards, and his work has appeared in the local, state, and national anthologies including Poet Magazine and the Poetry Foundation website. Saidi is married and has three adult children and four grandchildren.

SAYYED ALI SALEHII SWEAR BY THE MOON OF THE HASHEMITES THAT I SPEAK THE TRUTH |poetry

SAYYED ALI SALEHI (born 1955) is a famous Iranian poet and writer. He was born and raised in Khuzestan, a province in the south of Iran, and later moved to Tehran. He established the literary movement of mawj-e nab in his early career, and later shi’r-e guftar (speech poetry) into the Persian literary scene. He has published several collections of poetry, one novel, and in various other literary genres. Salehi received the Forough Farukhzad Award in poetry in 1978 and was nominated for the Nima Literary Award in 2010, which he renounced due to socio-political reasons. Currently, Salehi is directing his poetry workshop, entitled Dunya-ye Sukhan (The World of Speech).

 

 

H.E. SAYEH|THE POET; IN THE ROSE GARDEN |poetry, O M O R N I N G | poetry

H. E. SAYEH was born in 1928 in Rasht, Iran (Sayeh, or “shadow,” is a pen name; H. E. is short for the poet’s given name, Hushang Ebtehaj). His first book of poetry was published when he was nineteen. As a youth in Tehran, Sayeh joined several literary circles. Then, under Reza Shah Pahlav, he saw many poets and scholars imprisoned or killed. In the early 1980s, soon after Sayeh was released from a one-year prison sentence imposed by Ayatollah Khomeini, the poet delved into compiling a definitive edition of Hafiz’s classical ghazals. This was published in 1994. In line with his mentor, Nima Yushij, Sayeh brings contemporary meanings to old metaphors. Night, once a time to wait for the beloved, signifies political repression. A “nightingale” may be an activist who refuses to be silenced. The dawn promises freedom from oppression. Sayeh lives with his family in Cologne, Germany.

ROGER SEDARAT |THE IR N NU DEAL; SAY UNCLE; NIGHTLINE |poetry, AT THE SAME DEAD END |translation

ROGER SEDARAT is the author of Dear Regime: Letters to the Islamic Republic, which won Ohio University Press’s 2007 Hollis Summers Poetry Prize, Ghazal Games (Ohio University Press, 2011), and Haji as Puppet: An Orientalist Burlesque, awarded the 2016 Word Works’ Prize for a Mid-Career Poet. He is the recipient of the Willis Barnstone Prize in Literary Translation, as well as a recent grant from the Atlantic Philanthropies Director/Employee Designated Artist Gift Fund to support poetic performances that interrogate and challenge the Western gaze of the Middle East. The author of the scholarly study Emerson in Iran: the American Appropriation of Persian Poetry (SUNY Press, 2019), he teaches poetry and literary translation at Queens College, City University of New York.

KUSHA SEFAT| THE END OF ROMANTICISM IN TEHRAN |essay

KUSHA SEFAT teaches in the Department of Political Science at Shahid Beheshti University in Tehran, Iran. Entitled “Tehran: Politics of Things,” Kusha’s doctoral dissertation won the annual award for the Best Dissertation of the Year by the Foundation for Iranian Studies (2017). Kusha has published in the International Journal of Baudrillard Studies (2009) and International Political Sociology (forthcoming). His current book project tells the story of post-revolutionary Iran from the vantage point of life history accounts.

SOHRAB SEPEHRI |TOWARD THE IMAGE OF THE FRIEND |poetry, |CHEERS FROM LONG AGO |poetry

SOHRAB SEPEHRI (1928–1980) was among Iran’s foremost modernist writers. A painter as well as a poet, a student of Buddhist as well as Islamic thought, he perfected a lean but playful style where he merged world with word, the leaves of his childhood landscape with the leaves of his book.

SANAM SHAHMIRI |TO NEDA AFTER THE UPRISING; AZADI |poetry

SANAM SHAHMIRI is an Iranian American poet from Los Angeles. She is the editorial assistant and event coordinator for SRPR(Spoon River Poetry Review), a Sutherland Fellow, and a McNair Scholar. She teaches creative writing and gender in the humanities at Illinois State University where she is pursuing her PhD in English studies. Her poems have been published in Cimarron Review, Pair Shaped, and Whet Literary Journal.

FATEMEH SHAMS |THREE CHAIRS |poetry

FATEMEH SHAMS was born in Mashhad (Khorasan), Iran, in 1983. She won the silver medal in the National Olympiad of Persian Literature at the age of seventeen. She completed her bachelor’s degree in sociology at Tehran University and migrated to the United Kingdom in 2006 to pursue higher ed- ucation. In 2007 she received the Arabic language award in Bourguiba School, Tunisia, where she completed advanced level in Arabic. She completed her DPhil in the field of oriental studies at the University of Oxford in 2015 and currently holds the position of assistant professors in modern Persian literature at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of three collections of poetry, including When They Broke Down the Door, which received Latifeh Yarshater Book Award in 2016. She also received the Jaleh Esfahani poetry prize in 2012. Her work has been translated into English, Arabic, and Kurdish.

NILOFAR SHIDMEHR| S A K E E N | fiction

NILOFAR SHIDMEHR, PhD, MFA, is a bilingual writer, poet, essayist, and poetic research scholar. She is author of six books of poetry and fiction and several essays. Her latest collection of short stories is Divided Loyalties (2019). She lives in Vancouver, Canada, and teaches in the liberal arts and adults 55+ pro- gram at Simon Fraser University. Dr. Shidmher will be the 2019–2020 Mabel Pugh Taylor Writer in Residence with the faculty of humanities at McMaster University and the Hamilton Public Library in Hamilton, Ontario.

MEHRNOOSH TORBATNEJADISFAHAN, 2010 |poetry

MEHRNOOSH TORBATNEJAD’s poetry has appeared in Asian American Writers’ Workshop, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, and Waxwing,among other journals. She is the poetry editor for Noble/Gas Qtrly and is a Best of the Net, Pushchart Prize, and Best New Poets nominee. She lives in New York where she practices matrimonial law. She can be found on Twitter @mtorbat.

ABDOLLAH ZAHIRI |AN ELEGY FOR THE TREE |translation

ABDOLLAH ZAHIRI teaches at the School of English and Liberal Studies, Seneca College, Toronto (King Campus). He has published papers on V. S. Naipaul in New Literatures Review, South Asian Review, and College Quarterly. His paper on the role of Frantz Fanon in the 1979 Iranian Revolution will be published in Interventions in 2019. He is a prolific translator in various areas of English into Farsi, including Mexican literature (Mariano Azuela), Walt Whitman and Rumi, Mohammad Iqbal, and a portion of the late Barbara Harlow’s Resistance Literature. He is currently working on a book project on Sikh diaspora in West Asia.

 

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