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Belonging: New Poetry by Iranians Around the World



Edited and Translated by: Niloufar Talebi
256 pages
North Atlantic Books (Jul 8 2008)

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About this Book

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. This anthology remedies that situation with a rich selection of recent poetry by Iranians living all around the world, including Amir-Hossein Afrasiabi: "Although the path / tracks my footsteps, / I don't travel it / for the path travels me." Varying dramatically in style, tone, and theme, these expertly translated works include erotic divertissements by Ziba Karbassi, rigorously formal poetry by Yadollah Royaii, experimental poems by Naanaam, powerful polemics by Maryam Huleh, and the personal-epic work of Shahrouz Rashid. 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.

Niloufar Talebi (photo by Ali Moayedian, March 2008)

About the Author

Niloufar Talebi founded The Translation Project (, whose mission is to bring contemporary Iranian literature to worldwide audiences in multiple languages and media. She lives in San Francisco. Zack Rogow has translated Colette's Green Wheat, Marcel Pagnol's play Marius, and other works. Dan O'Connell is an award-winning poet and the author of Different Coasts, a full-length collection of poetry on the theme of alienation.


"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...."

-Carolyn Forché

Editor of Against Forgetting: Twentieth Century Poetry of Witness


"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 unparalleled contribution."

-Willis Barnstone

Author of With Borges on an Ordinary Evening in Buenos Aires


"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...

-Martín Espada

Pulitzer Prize nominee and author of The Republic of Poetry


"In Belonging, with literary skill and passion, Talebi has made a major contribution to the recognition of contemporary Iranian literature in the West..."

-Nahid Mozaffari

Editor of the PEN Anthology of Contemporary Iranian Literature



Niloufar Talebi after her ICARUS/RISE performance in San Francisco, November 17, 2007 (photo by Ali Moayedian)

Author's Note:

The book I've been working on for 6 year, the bilingual anthology, BELONGING: New Poetry by Iranians Around the World will be published this summer.


My organization, The Translation Project,  presents new Iranian literature not only in award-winning translation, but in exciting, innovative film and theater projects that further illuminate these powerful works, making them accessible to diverse audiences. You can see YOUTUBE clips.  We offer world-class programming that can be curated in many successful ways and at diverse venues: book events, dramatic poetry readings, film screenings, theatrical and multimedia literary presentations, and festivals, at universities, galleries, festivals, readings series, museums, etc.


I live in SF, and will be on the east coast in the Fall. Please contact us if you are interested in finding out more about our programming or would like to book an event.

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