The poetry of Forough Farrokhzad is written in the gender neutral Persian language and offers multiple interpretations of gender and subjectivity. Editor of Danish queer feminist magazine Friktion, Nazila Kivi, and poet and translator Shadi Angelina Bazeghi sat down to discuss the challenges of translating Farrokhzad to Danish in the latter’s Danish introduction to Farrokhzad and the queering potential of poetry that transcends language, time and traditional gender roles.
Barks, suffering from a particularly profitable case of researcher’s blindness, has flooded the market with a Rumi that has come to symbolize the individual beholden to no particular tradition, a man who seeks love before God or faith, all too familiar already in the canon of English, specifically American, literature. The result is a New Age poet, devoid of Islam, the 13th century, or the themes and images of the golden age of classical Persian poetry.
Translation can be characterized as an interplay between literary traditions, a process that illuminates the difference in approaches to and articulation of poeticity. Consequently, linguistic and cultural challenges arise that need to be addressed by the translator regardless of his or her approach to translation. The Persian literary tradition presents unique challenges that are particularly well-revealed in the ghazaliyyāt of Hafez of Shiraz, a poet who is widely read in Persianate societies. Poets and scholars alike have expressed the difficulty of translating Hafez.