Saturday, February 16, 2008


Farideh Hassanzadeh (Mostafavi) is an Iranian poet, translator and freelance journalist whose poems appear in the anthologies Contemporary Women Poets of Iran and Anthology of Best Women Poets.

Here is an interview with Farideh I've cut and pasted from my poetry listserv (WOMPO), originally published in an Iranian women's magazine:

The success of Farideh's latest book: "Poetry of Women World Wild" among the public led
to the publication of a second edition, after only several months, giving our magazine [cause]
to conduct an interview with her. Interestingly, booksellers have said that it is mostly bought
by men!

Q: Why did you choose Women's poetry for translation?

F: Well,I specialize in the translation of poetry. I work on anything that catches
my interest in the field of poetry. Lately for example I've been translating
Lorca's biography. To answer your question more specifically however- about 7-8
years ago I received a Penguin anthology with a selection of Women's poetry.
I found it extremely interesting. I was especially surprised to find out that
a poem by Iranian poet: Forough Farrokhzad (Another Birthday) had been included
in this book.I was deeply inspired by these poems. It made me realize that there
existed great number of talented women poets and they continue to exist in this
world, whom we unfortunately rarely hear about. I was able to relate to
so many of the themes in these poems, because these female poets shared so much
with the reader. They were able to reveal and share their deepest emotions with
incredible sincerity. What I also appreciated about the book was the introduction
that was included for each female poet. I understood that their lives had in
fact been poems.. It was clear to me that the three editors, who also happened
to be women, had included these introductions in order to make the reader realize
what it meant to be a woman as well as a poet. This anthology revealed a whole
range of poems concerning a woman's way of expressing herself. I was amazed at
how courageous these women had been for wording their emotions and sharing it
with others. This need for expressing themselves had been a kind of exorcism-
enabling them to somewhat release the pain and the frustrations of their lives.
While Reading these poems I found out that I was dealing with very
important and deep poets. But I also realized that some of the poems were weak.
I needed to read more poems by each of these poets in order to understand
their work as well as to be able to appreciate their talent. So I ended up finding
the complete works of each of these female poets. I was not disappointed.
I noticed that the editors had unintentionally left out some of the strongest
and deepest poems from their book. I wanted to translate the poems that brought the
reader in touch with the poetess- those that would make the reader feel
something. My work on this book ended up being more than that of a translator's.
In fact, the time and energy I invested in selecting the poems,made the end
product more than just a poetry book for me.

Q: After all the researches that you have done on women poets, What did
you learn from it and Which Characteristics did you find?

F: This is a difficult question. The truth is, I love poetry. But after
working specifically on women's poetry, I came to realize that poetry
is actually more serious and deeper than I had previously thought.
Maybe the reader will also realize that poetry is an extremely serious
art form in the Women's world.

Many people talk about the differences in the way men and women express
themselves. In my opinion, however, there is no female or male poem. I
just feel that poetry likes women more than men. This is not because
women tend to be more sentimental but because they view love and life in such
a serious way. I feel that poetry works better for them, since it is a literary
form that enables them to express themselves in a very sincere way. I will
not over-generalize, however, since men poets can also show signs of this
female sensitivity. For example Nazar Gabbani is a male poet who has this
feminine and sensitive side, and this is why the purity of his works are so high.
Any way ,this is my feeling : poetry is closer to the women . I don't think
I would have come to this kind of conclusion if I had done research on men's poetry.
Poetry likes women more.

Q: You have dedicated this book to your little son. Is there a special
reason for this?

F: As a woman, I wanted to show that poetry likes women more, because
they devote everything to love - even poetry.