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Iranian Literary Arts Festival in San Francisco, February 5-6, 2009

The Translation Project marks the 30th Anniversary of the 1979 Iranian Revolution by gathering diaspora poets from all over the world

Second Annual 'Iranian Literary Arts Festival' February 5-6, 2009

December 29, 2008-The Translation Project and the San Francisco International Poetry Festival announced today the second annual 'Iranian Literary Arts Festival'.  Honoring poets of the Iranian diaspora on the 30th anniversary of the 1979 Iranian Revolution, the festival takes place February 5-6, 2009.  All events are FREE and OPEN to the public and are presented in partnership with the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library and the Asia Society.
Featuring Iranian poets Ziba Karbassi, Granaz Moussavi, Majid Naficy, Partow Nooriala, and Abbas Saffari, the festival opens on Thursday February 5 at 6:30 pm at Book Bay Fort Mason with a roundtable discussion entitled, "30 Years of Be-Longing." Poets whose works appear in the new anthology, BELONGING: New Poetry by Iranians Around the World (North Atlantic Books, August 2008) will discuss the future of diaspora literature.  Friends of the SFPL Poet-In-Residence and an SF Poet Laureate Jack Hirschman, and Isabelle Thuy Pelaud professor of Asian American Studies at SFSU will also be a part of the roundtable. Moderated by Niloufar Talebi, editor and translator of BELONGING.
Friday February 6 at 6:30 pm, the poets will read their work and the Translation Project will screen footage from its various multimedia projects based on this poetry, including the multimedia theatrical piece, ICARUS/RISE, which premiered at the Translation Project's 2007 Iranian Literary Arts Festival in San Francisco.  The February 6 celebration will be held the Friends of the SF Public Library's offices at 391 Grove Street.

Both events are FREE and OPEN to the public. Advance registration is highly recommended:

Feb. 5 Registration
Feb. 6 Registration

"Close to one million Iranians have left Iran since the 1979 Iranian revolution, including many artists. What we've done here at the Translation Project is gather the poetry created outside Iran in the Persian language and created the bilingual anthology, BELONGING, and then created collaborative videos and theater projects based on this exciting poetry. For example, ICARUS/RISE is a show we created to tell the 30-year story of this immigrant community, drawing on the Iranian theatrical spoken-word tradition of Naghali," says Niloufar Talebi, founder of the Translation Project.

BELONGING: New Poetry by Iranians Around the World , features three generations of poets, born between 1929 and 1975. Varying dramatically in style, tone and theme, the anthology features, among others, the five poets reading at the Iranian Literary Arts Festival.  Recent political developments, including the shadow of a new war, have obscured the fact that Iran has a long and splendid artistic tradition ranging from the visual arts to literature. Western readers may have some awareness of Iranian works thanks to a few breakout successes like Reading Lolita in Tehran and My Uncle Napoleon, but the country's strong poetic tradition remains little known.

BELONGING remedies that situation with a rich selection of recent poetry by Iranians living all around the world.  Eclectic and accessible, these vibrant poems deepen the often limited awareness of Iranian identity today, by not only introducing readers to contemporary Iranian poetry, but also expanding the canon of significant writing in the Persian language. BELONGING offers a glimpse at a complex culture through some of its finest literary talents. 

Founded in 2003, The Translation Project brings contemporary Iranian literature to wide audiences through events, and innovative book and multimedia projects. 

Friends of the San Francisco Public Library is a member-supported, non-profit organization that fundraises, advocates, and provides financial support for the San Francisco Public Library.

Asia Society Northern California is the leading global organization working to strengthen relationships and promote understanding among the people, leaders, and institutions of Asia and the United States. We seek to enhance dialogue, encourage creative expression, and generate new ideas across the fields of policy, business, education, arts, and culture.

Quotes on BELONGING: New Poetry by Iranians Around the World:
"Niloufar Talebi's accomplishment in gathering the poetry of the Iranian Diaspora is unprecedented and breathtaking. It is as if she has, by force of commitment and vision, and by way of cultural hunger, bequeathed a new literary heritage to Iran and the world. Here is a lyric symphony of utterance in the voices of exiles, immigrants, refugees, and expatriates. That Talebi assembled such an extraordinary collection is impressive enough-that she translated most of these poems herself is nothing short of remarkable."
-Carolyn Forché, editor of Against Forgetting: Twentieth Century Poetry of Witness

"In Belonging, with literary skill and passion, Niloufar Talebi has made a major contribution to the recognition of contemporary Iranian literature in the West, to the appreciation of Diaspora poetry by Persian speakers everywhere, and to the important project of producing good translations from rich but underrepresented literary canons for the Anglophone reader."
-Nahid Mozaffari, editor of the PEN Anthology of Contemporary Iranian Literature

"Poetry is a world art because of brilliant editors and translators like Niloufar Talebi ... Here are the poets, in all their power, defiance, dignity, wildness, and lyric grace, scattered across the earth, yet united in this book. Here is proof that poetry humanizes: now contemporary Persian culture has a face, and the Persian tongue a voice, for those of us in the English-speaking world, and we are all richer for it."
-Martín Espada, Pulitzer Prize nominee and author of The Republic of Poetry

"Niloufar Talebi has accomplished the ultimate magic trick in her clean and modern translation. She has made the work of modern Persian poets read like original English ... an unparalled contribution."
-Willis Barnstone, author of With Borges on an Ordinary Evening in Buenos Aires

"After reading her introduction and the first few sections of Belonging, I realized that Talebi had accomplished perhaps the greatest service that a translator of Iranian poetry for American audiences can provide: she made the Iranian poetic landscape feel familiar. Not only familiar, but modern, full of laughter, rich with wonder, completely joyful and terrible and worthy of revisiting multiple times."                                            -Peter Conners, Three Percent

Press contact: 
Katie Ambellan, Friends of the San Francisco Public Library

... Payvand News - 12/30/08 ... --

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