Thursday, November 15, 2012

Interview with Sheida Mohamadi By Marissa Bell Toffoli

An introduction to Iranian journalist, poet, and novelist Sheida Mohamadi. For almost a decade Mohamadi has made her home outside of Iran, ever since investigative journalism caused her to lose her job and have her own life threatened. No longer feeling safe to fight for women’s rights through writing in Tehran, where Mohamadi was born and raised, she has since rebuilt a life for herself in the US, where she is free to write about the issues that are important to her. Mohamadi’s most recent collection of poems, Aks-e Fowri-ye Eshqbazi (The Snapshot of Lovemaking), was published underground in Tehran in 2007. Giving a voice to women’s rights issues has roused many people to respect and appreciate Mohamadi, but others wish to tame her into silence.
Living in the US means battling censorship from abroad to continue to reach a Farsi-speaking audience in Iran. There is the double-edged sword of translation when marketing Mohamadi’s poetry to non-Farsi readers—it may reach more readers while sacrificing some poetic language. Fellow writer Mehrdad Balali described Mohamadi’s poetry as deceptively simple, and challenging even for Farsi speakers:
“Her language is very fluid, and it keeps changing shape. It throws words and expressions at you in way that you haven’t thought of before. That’s really the magic of her poetry—it brings out something new in you; it propels you into a new realm. It is so intelligent, but at the same time so simple.”

Sheida Mohamadi

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