Persian Poets' Tour 2012

Logo for Persian Poets' Tour 2012

Our Persian Poets' Tour featured the poetry of five acclaimed poets from three Persian-speaking countries - Afghanistan, Iran and Tajikistan - in a series of readings and events across the UK, read in translation by their British poet co-translators Jo Shapcott, Nick Laird, Maura Dooley, Mimi Khalvati and Sarah Maguire.

The tour was an extraordinary success: we had capacity audiences (80 people at The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, Birmingham; 90 people at the Millennium Library Norwich, and a further 80 at Asia House in London) plus a fantastic article by Christina Patterson in The Independent,an insightful blog post by Gregory Leadbetter on the pleasure of hearing the poems read in their original language and an article by poet Reza Mohammadi, 'Afghanistan has poetry in its soul' on The Guardian website.

The poets taking part include the London-based Afghan poet, Reza Mohammadi (translated by Nick Laird), as well as two poets new to the PTC, Azita Ghahreman (translated by Maura Dooley) from Iran and Shakila Azizzada (translated by Mimi Khalvati) from Afghanistan.

You can now read all the new poems by Azita, Reza and Shakila that were translated specially for the tour by clicking on each poet's name, above, and they can also be downloaded or purchased as chapbooks.

We deeply regret that tragic personal circumstances meant that Farzaneh Khojandi (translated by Jo Shapcott) from Tajikistan, who took part in our second World Poets' Tour in 2008 and Partaw Naderi (translated by Sarah Maguire) from Afghanistan (who participated in the PTC's first World Poets' Tour in 2005) were unable to take part in the tour. Their poems were read at all the events in Persian and in English by Jo Shapcott and Sarah Maguire. Our thoughts are with Farzaneh and Partaw, whom we all missed very much indeed.

Persian poetry is rightly famed for the richness of its heritage and many classical Persian poets, such as Rumi and Hafez, are famous across the world. But little is known about how contemporary Persian-language poets have continued to enrich and enliven their tradition, a gap that our forthcoming tour hopes to address.

The Persian language, with local variations, is spoken today in three countries: Afghanistan (Dari), Iran (Farsi) and Tajikistan (Tajik) and our tour will feature poets from each of these countries.

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  1. Workshop on Poetry from Afghanistan with Reza Mohammadi and Hamid Kabir

    Wednesday 18th April 2012

    Leading Afghan poet, Reza Mohammadi, joins us for a workshop on his poems with his translator Hamid Kabir in the run-up to our Persian Poets'...

  2. Persian Poets' Tour Launch Party May Day 2012

    Tuesday 1st May 2012

    The fabulous launch party for our Persian Poets' Tour took place at the October Gallery on a beautiful May evening.

  3. Persian Poets Read at the Mosaic Rooms in West London

    Thursday 3rd May 2012

    West London is home to many Persian-speaking people and so we were delighted that our first reading of the tour, featuring three Persian poets,...

  4. Persian Poetry at the Dylan Thomas Centre, Swansea

    Friday 4th May 2012

    A chance to hear the poetry of five Persian Poets read and translated by some of the UK's leading poets at The Dylan Thomas Centre, Swansea

  5. Persian Poetry Night at Pomegranate Restaurant, Manchester

    Monday 7th May 2012

    Three Persian poets read at the Pomegranate Restaurant in Manchester. A unique opportunity to hear wonderful poetry in an intimate setting...

  6. An Evening of Persian Poetry in Birmingham with Shakila Azizzada and Azita Ghahreman

    Wednesday 9th May 2012

    Two distinguished Persian poets, Shakila Azizzada and Azita Ghahreman, read with poet-translators, Mimi Khalvati and Sarah Maguire at the...

  7. Persian Poets at Persepolis in Peckham

    Friday 11th May 2012

    Three Persian Poets read at the wonderful Persian shop, Persepolis in Peckham, with tea and cakes to hand. An unmissable chance to stock up on...

  8. Persian Poets at The Wordsworth Trust with Jo Shapcott and Nick Laird

    Tuesday 15th May 2012

    Reza Mohammadi, Azita Ghahreman and Shakila Azizzada read at The Wordsworth Trust with British poets, Nick Laird, Mimi Khalvati and Jo Shapcott,...

  9. Gala Reading Featuring the Poetry of Five Persian Poets and Their Five British Poet-Translators

    Friday 18th May 2012

    The culmination of our fabulous Persian Poets' Tour was this Gala Reading at London's Rich Mix featured the poetry of all five Persian Poets...

  10. A New World of Words: Afghan Poetry and Culture

    Saturday 19th May 2012

    An enthusiastic, capacity audience heard two leading Afghan poets, Shakila Azizzada and Reza Mohammadi, read alongside their poet-translators,...

  11. Azita Ghahreman and Reza Mohammadi Read with Maura Dooley and Nick Laird

    Monday 21st May 2012

    The final event of our Persian Poets' Tour saw Azita Ghahreman and Reza Mohammadi Read with Maura Dooley and Nick Laird at Asia House as part of...