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Poet and satirist Salahi dies at 60 'without informing us'

TEHRAN, Oct. 4 (Mehr News Agency) -- Iranian poet and satirist Omran Salahi died of heart failure at Tehran's Tus Hospital early this morning.

"Omran Salahi felt pain in his chest on Tuesday evening. His family took him to Kasra Hospital, from where he was transferred to Tus Hospital and placed in the ICU, but he passed away early this morning," one of Salahi's relatives told the Persian service of IRNA on Wednesday.

He had said in his autobiography, "My father worked in the railway. On a cold winter night, he died without informing us! The man would stay as the train left; the train stayed and the man left, this time."

Born in Tehran in 1946, Salahi lived and studied in different cities such as Qom, Tehran, and Tabriz.

His first poem was published in Children's Ettela'at magazine when he was 13. He began his career at the satirical weekly "Towfiq" in 1965 and published his first book "Iran's Modern Satirists" with the help of Bijan Asadipur in 1971.

He was accepted by the University of Tehran to study English, but he left the university without completing his degree. He joked in his autobiography, "I can speak English as well as an Englishman speaks Persian."

In 1973, Salahi was hired by Iranian state radio and TV, where he continued his activities even after retirement.

"I got my glorious retirement in 1996, while I was running the Sorush Library, but it is very hard to make the wheels of life turn in the glory of retirement," he had said.

He also wrote for the satirical magazine "Gol Aqa" a few years after it was established by Kiumars Saberi in 1990 and worked as a satirist for the prestigious literary monthly "Donya-ye Sokhan".

Due to his biting satire, renowned Iranian blank verse poet Ahmad Shamlu once wisecracked, "His name is Omran (which means flourishing and construction), but he caused destruction from the beginning!"

Salahi also wrote in his autobiography, "Turks call me 'Imran', but Persian-speaking people pronounce the first letter of my name with either 'o' or 'e' sounds. Publishers and translators wonder how to write it. It doesn't matter. Everyone can write and read it as he/she likes."

He was married and had two children, though he also regarded his works as his children.

"My children are Yashar and Bahareh and plenty of poems and other writings!"

He wrote many books of poetry and satire, including "Crying through Water", "A Train in Fog", "Dreams of a Lily Man", "Maybe You Do Not Believe It", "Mulla Nasr ad-Din", "A Lip and a Thousand Laughs, and Now It's My Term" and "Hidden Rain".

Salahi as described by Iranian writers and poets:

Shams Langerudi: "Omran Salahi was one of the most popular poets and satirists of his generation. I think he was Iran's most important satirist poet since the Constitutional Movement."

Javad Mojabi: "Being affectionate toward people and speaking like them were his hallmarks. His mission had not been accomplished. His skills were flourishing and he was approaching the apex of his art."

Manuchehr Ehterami: "Writing eternal satire on problems of the day was his unique talent."

Maftun Amini: "His works are deep and comprehensive from the social viewpoint and are affectionately beautiful."

... Payvand News - 10/4/06 ... --

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