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Dari and Farsi Poetry: Shakila Azizzada and Mohammad Bagher Kolahi Ahari

Featuring: Shakila Azizzada, Zuzanna Olszewska, Mimi Khalvati, Mohammad Bagher Kolahi Ahari, Alireza Abiz

Translated by Zuzanna Olszewska, Mimi Khalvati, Alireza Abiz and the Poetry Translation Workshop.

We start 2021 with two poets from Afghanistan and Iran, Shakila Azizzada and Mohammad Bagher Kolahi Ahari, whose poems have narrative strands, one is a fairy tale complete with daemons and the other is a sketch of the life of an economic migrant who fears the host of his wife.

Shakila Azizzada was born in Kabul in Afghanistan in 1964. During her middle school and university years in Kabul, she started writing stories and poems, many of which were published in magazines. Her poems are unusual in their frankness and delicacy, particularly in the way she approaches intimacy and female desire, subjects which are rarely adressed by women poets writing in Dari.

Mohammad Bagher Kolahi Ahari was born in 1950 in Mashhad, Khorasan. His first collection Above the Four Elements was published in 1977. He published six more collections of poetry. Kolahi has developed his distinct voice inspired by lyrical and elegiac traditions of Persian poetry combined with his story-telling talent. Many of  Kolahi’s poems contain a narrative containing elements of folk tales and description of rural Khorasan. In his poems, he very often depicts the life and the stories of marginalized groups of the society like gipsies, petty criminals and labourers.

CORRECTION In this podcast it is wrongly stated that Shakila Azizzada and Mohammad Bagher Kolahi Ahari are both from Afghanistan. Kolahi Ahari is from Iran.