Art And Culture

Forough Farrokhzad's Works in Italian

Faezeh MardaniFaezeh Mardani

The weekly gathering of Book City Institute on Tuesday, August 23, hosted Faezeh Mardani, PhD, adjunct professor at School of Arts, Humanities and Cultural Heritage and also professor of Persian Language and Literature at School of Foreign Languages and Literature, Translation and Interpreting, University of Bologna, Italy.

Mardani discussed Italian translations of Iranian poems, in particular those written by Forough Farrokhzad (1935-1967), ISNA reported.

She said as there is not much knowledge of contemporary Persian literature in Italy, "I turned to contemporary Persian poetry to help create awareness among Italian readers."

For both her thesis and dissertation in foreign languages and literature, Mardani studied contemporary poetry and researched works of a few poets, including Farrokhzad, considered as "Nimaic" (in reference to Nima Youshij (1895-1960), contemporary Persian and Tabarian poet who started 'New Poetry).

"When I was reviewing Forough's works with my Italian dissertation advisors, we realized how flexible her poems are for translation into Italian." This flexibility made her think of translating some of the poems.

"After completing my dissertation, I was invited to an Italian seminar on women poets. There I introduced Forough and saw they were fascinated by her poems. This encouraged me to publish an Italian translation of the poems."

Eventually in 2009, a selection of Farrokhzad's poetry was published with Italian translations of her famous work 'Another Birth', created in 1964, and 'Let Us Believe in the Beginning of the Cold Season' that was published posthumously, and is considered by some to be one of the best-structured poems in Persian.

The book, released by Aliberti Publications, is titled 'Forough Farrokhzad, Only the Voice Remains.' In the preface of the anthology, Mardani has written an exhaustive account of Forough and her life. And at the end of the book, a few of her letters are annexed.

"After the book was released, it received a great deal of attention from Italian literary forums after which I started to search for the reasons behind this interest," Mardani said.

  Three Primary Aspects

In her analysis, Mardani came up with three aspects in Forough's poems that contribute to their international popularity. The first is her simple language. It is fluent and devoid of techniques and perplexities. "So it can easily transcribe into other languages." A strange, invisible line runs through her words. It is the narrative nature of the poems that make them apt for translation.

The second is her being a woman, which made her works even more significant. The European audience finds it fascinating to be able to acquire an understanding of a young woman in the Middle East, whose poems are still alive and able to connect with the people even after half a century. Forough's brave creativity crystallized amidst a patriarchal society but till the end "she managed to stay loyal to her feminine identity."

Theme is the third factor contributing to Forough's international popularity. Her themes are not limited to any nation or territory.

Her extraordinary awareness breaks literary rules and travels beyond cultural and geographical boundaries. Her vantage point on the world is surprisingly fresh and touching.

"Her poems revolve around human beings and human essence. Her views are not based on theories, but on experience and intuition. Her creativity has nothing to do with philosophy. It was within her."