Write for The Iranian
Editorial policy

January 15, 2002

* Trouble detecting double meanings

I am glad that Iranian.com as a neutral haven is publishing Mr. Vahidi's continuous criticisms and objections to my poetry ["Crimes of poetry"]. What I am wondering is why Mr. Vahidi includes my statements in his so called "critique" as a "poet" and then states that one of his "readers!" has written so and so. Why does he falsely document me as a reader and not as the poet herself, Leila Farjami in flesh!!! If his opinions are so grand and worldly on literary criticism, why is he stagnating on a young poet's creation and avoids graduating to criticize a poet such as Forough who stated: "if an alley smells of urine, I will describe it as so and will refuse to say it's fragrant and aromatic!".....?

Why doesn't he bring examples of his own poetry as lacking beauty, creativity, or depth, and so forth, I am sure he should have quite a few in his archive. I am condemning this grandfatherly practice of partial estheticism and narrow-minded authoritarianism on what is "right" and what "isn't"!!! As a human, I say all subjects are PERMITTED and no TABOOS exist if we are liberated from Dark-age mentality of the "censorable", "tolerable", and "digestible"!!!

The fact that Mr. Vahidi insists so much on the lack of "beauty" and "creativity" of today's poem undermines his own relatedness and receptivity for the magnanimous and magnificent poetry of my generation. He brings an example of Updike's and deems it to be fit for his esthetic value system. Updike is not even one of the greatest poets or libertarians of the world, why does Mr. Vahidi hesitate to plunge himself into the amazingly profound poetry of Ginsbourg and bring some examples of his? Is it because Ginsbourg would potentially have the same disagreements as I have with Mr. Vahidi? Is it because Ginsbourg did not walk around with a dictionary of "pre-determined" beautiful, sensible, and wise words as Mr. Vahidi?

And besides, Molana, Hafez, Abol-Kheir and other great Sufi masters, especially Molana have used "terminology" which would definitely be less than pleasing and "politically correct" according to Mr. Vahidi's criteria. What does he think "Rend" means by the way??? Doesn't a Rend break barriers of dogmatically self-righteous judgements of societal ignorance and by doing so release himself from all frivolous bondages? Does Mr. Vahidi know that Hazrate Molana has referred to Male Genitelia several times as a symbol of a base and animalistic human in Divane Kabir? Does he want examples of these verses, 'cuz I've got them!!!

Of course, esthetics of poetry is a vast field; and the figurative allusion to "hamburgers made out of roach eyeballs" was not meant to be taken literally, but of course Mr. Vahidi has trouble detecting and interpreting "eehaams" or double meanings; especially if certain "permitted" words in his diction of choice are not strung together sensibly to appease his reservoir of subjective experiences.

If Mr. Vahidi was truely a poet, he could have unconditionally sympathized with another poet's pain and humiliation of having to have her ashes (symbolizing remainder of an abandoned past) "pissed" on by a gruesome old man and to wonder if this abhorrant act would revive the meaning of her beloved "Khazar Sea". But of course the word "piss" is too sacreligious and the sacred "Khazar Sea" should never be included in the same sentence because we've got to preserve "sanitation" and "sanctity" to defy all manifestations of reality.

Mr. Vahidi, my world may seem profane, devious, and desecrated to you, but I would never want to stride in your spotless shoes being mindless of the pile of .... below.

The Ugly and the Shameless,
Leila Farjami

* As soon as someone opens his mouth

In the past few days, I have been the subject of the most derogatory and poisonous remarks from the readers (Ms. Farjami is not one of them) and the interesting thing is that these people just don't quit. It all happened because I decided to publish my own personal views regarding the works of a number of Iranian poets. ["Crimes of poetry"]

I guess it is okay for others to send me their nasty comments and humiliate me in person and in the face of public, but if I say a word that is slightly out of place, I should immediately apologize. Well, Ms. Farjami, I apologize for things you thought I said. I never think your world is profane, devious and desecrated and I don't believe you are ugly and shameless. Moreover, I think you are one of the greatest poets of all times whose talent far exceeds that of Homer, Shakespear and Sa'adi. Are you satisfied now or you want me to say more?

Let's now get to the meat of the issue. Ms. Farjami is upset because I addressed her as "one of the readers", not "a poet". Here is what happened. She sent me a private email. After I read her private email, I thought if I prepare a "literature piece" and publish it in Iranian.com, all the readers, including Ms. Farjami, would benefit from it. I did not want to include her name because it was a private email. That's why I wrote "one of the readers". I never thought Ms. Farjami's letter would be published. ["Rigid view on literature"]

Again, Ms. Farjami: If I offended you, I apologize. You see how many times I apologized!

She wonders why I did not criticize a poet like Forough? Well, she is not my favorite poet. If an alley smells of urine or if she feels that "sin" has engulfed her entire body and existence, let her describe them as so. Even the most disgusting subjects, smells, scenes and tastes, can be portrayed in a more professional and effective way in a poem. I am sure Shakespear, Moshiri and Hafez did indeed encountered scenes that they thought were quite disgusting.

Ms. Farjami believes "Updike" is not even one of the greatest poets or Libertarians. Well, where in my Literature piece I wrote that he "was" one of the greatest poets? I just quoted a beautiful poem by him. I never liked Ginsberg's poetry. His poetry, like the poetry of many other Iranian poets, could easily be passed off as prose!

Ms. Farjami is also reminding us of the not-so-pleasing "terminology" the great Persian poets used in their poems. Yes, I am very well aware of that. But these masters were talented enough to know "how" to write poems so the poems in their entirety would look appealing. Poetry is as much about what you write as it is about how you write.

Ms. Farjami is testing my literary intelligence by asking me what does the word "Rend" mean? Well, all literary experts testify to the fact that "Rend" is more or less a culturally, not universally, based word. So, there could be many meanings. I am sure she can refer to her own Lexicon. I personally would not go too far and simply translate it as "clever", although neither "clever" nor any other word can ever describe what we Iranians have in mind when we address someone as "Rend".

I have no trouble detecting and interpreting "eehaams" or double meanings. I sympathize with another poet's humiliation of having to have her ashes "pissed" on by a gruesome old man. But what I have trouble is why should such act "necessarily" remind us of Caspian Sea? Ms. Farjami might think so, but it might not be clear to others. People don't read minds. Don't write poetry and expect others to see what you are seeing. If, in your outbursts of artistic genius, you attempt to unravel some, great hidden meaning, that's fine, but try to be as clear as possible.

I NEVER EVER tried to make an absolute distinction between classical and modern poetry and I mentioned this fact in my Literature piece and previous letters as well. So, quit sending me your classical poems just to prove I am wrong. A good poem has superior meaning and great style and it does not need to have rhythm and rhyme to appeal to human spirit or sound like a beautiful melody. There are some modern poems, though very few, that I really like. AND I NEVER STOLE ANYTHING FROM ANYONE.

Today, I received a "polite" letter from a reader. He appreciated the value of my poetry and that I rank among his favorite poets such as Moshiri and W. H. Auden. Of course, I have never read any of Auden's poems. I guess some of our readers will now accuse me of "stealing" from Auden. The interesting thing about his letter was that he understood the essence of my arguments and said more or less what I wanted to say: I quote part of his letter:

"However, as you have mentioned in your letter, the works of Leila Farjami, Sheema Kalbasi, etc are far from being qualified as poetry as they are often un- linked pieces of prose that have been chopped off into single or double lines. I hope I have not given you a headache but I thought to share my views with you personally."

As for you Mr. Korosh Khalili ["Nothing new"], if you like Ms. Farjami's poetry, that's fine with me. I never meant to insult anyone. I have had healthy correspondences with a number of scientists, philosophers and skeptics and I have published in highly-regarded skeptical journals. I have also received very positive remarks about my two poems "Grave" and "Beloved", but they are afraid to send them to LETTERS section for fear of criticism from likes of you. I did not drop from an apple tree yesterday, but I guess you did.

If you could read clearly, you would have seen that never in my articles I put an absolute distinction between modern and classical poetry. You mention words such as "smug" and then you call me "undemocratic". If you don't see anything wrong in the un-related, dull verses in Ms. Farjami's poem, "Papa Noele Marhoom", or the one-liner in one of her other poems where she talks about dropping atomic bombs on squash, then you have a lot to learn.

As soon as someone opens his mouth to criticize you Iranian writers, suddenly you take offense. I guess your reference to "artists as smugs" also meant your favorite ones such as Nima. These sumgs certainly have more class than you have.

You don't need to publish anything if you don't have anything constructive to say.

Hamed Vahidi

* Nah har keh sar betaraashad...

Dear Mr. Khalili, ["Nothing new"]

My reading of Mr. Vahidi's articles ["Crimes of poetry"] is different from yours. His argument is not against modern poetry as such but against, using your own term, the "trash" modern poetry. As Hafez suggests: "nah har keh sar betaraashad ghalandari daanad".

Not every modern poem is supposed to make people go Waoh! So by misinterpreting his arguments as a battle between the modern and classical poetry (or as you have rather simplistically put it, nazm vs verse) you do not lessen the poor quality of the poems he is referring to. I have not read any of your poems yet, but why should you take it personally as there is your namesake Laleh who is also a claimant to the title of "poet".

Incidentally, calling Mr Vahidi "undiplomatic" sounds out of place. After all, didn't you attest that "art is not democratic"!


* Vazn police

I wish Hamed Vahidi ["Crimes of poetry"] would take a step back and read his own correspondence disppationately. Perhaps then he will see how pompous and humbug he sounds. Next he will be calling for a 'vazn' police to vet all poems before they are published.

I was inspired to read (all) poetry through Forough Farokhzad's work. It was her and Nima's poetry and made me want to go back and study all the classics learnt at school again.

I would therefore say that Hamed Vahidi may know technique but he is sadly missing the point as explained very elegantly by some of the earlier correspondents (Korosh Khalili ["Nothing new"] & Leila Farjami ["Rigid view on literature"]).

A R Beglie Beigie

* I can not stand it anymore

I know we admire democracy and there is room for everyone to express himself or herself. This is outreagous. I kept quiet because enough people politely told this lady that what she writes is not poetry. But I can not stand it anymore.

As a lover of Persian Poetry (who happens to have a bachelors degree in Persian Literature and Language and has read all classical as well as modern poets)I can not belive you dare to call the garbage you produced poetry. What the hell does being a Peykan and picking up women have to do with poetry?

What holucinary medication are you taking? Please read some poems and do not smear the reputation of poets and the name of poetry because some illiterate person has told you you are a poet. Occupy your time by creating trash that does not insult anything Iranian please. Do you even have a high school degree from Iran? I doubt it.

You would have known a little about poetry even modern. What you write is the thought of a blue collar Iranian man who has never had a car so he sees himself as a Peykan so he can pick up a woman. The difference? He has the intelligence to keep his thought to himself.

Azam Nemati

* Dear poet

Dear poet, Leila Farjami,

This is in regards to your poem "Trilogiye paarke mellat". I very much enjoyed reading your recent work. I wish you every success and look forward to reading more of your poetry.

With Kind Regards,

Sheema Kalbasi, USA

* No standard

I read interesting commentaries from parents announcing their shame after reading a humorous article involving chellokabab and kids ["Simple yet noble piece of heritage"].

Every parent has the right to raise their kids as they see fit, with or without Farsi instruction and with or without chellokabab. The missing piece is the logic behind the definition of what constitutes "Iranian kids" or the steps you need to complete to qualify the raising of your kids as "Iranian". An arbitrary standard created by one set of people does not obligate others to follow suit nor should lack of adherence cause shame for anyone.

If linguistic instruction is your forte -- more power to you. And if 2-sikh barg/kubideh combo is yours, more power to you as well. More important than both however, is teaching kids to respect others and how they choose to conduct their lives and that your way, while the best for you, is not the only and the best way for all others.

Aref Erfani

* Don't be discouraged

I am very surprised that Mr.Rafighi had an unpleasant experience donating his blood at one of Canadian Blood Services Centres!!! ["Khooneh bedoone eqaamat"] Being on their donors list, I have gladly donated blood 5 or 6 times a year for the past few years and have never encountered any bad behavior or discrimination from any of their staff. As a matter of fact, they greet everyone pleasantly and with a great attitude that makes it a very inviting place.

The way they do their work at these blood services is very thorough and acurate. They might ask questions that are not relevant to every donor, but because every individual has a different background, whether Canadian born or immigrant, the questions they ask Mr. Rafighi are the same ones the ask everybody. This is standard procedure. Also, regarding the racism that crossed your mind, don't even bother with this stuff to dramatize your story. I think racism exist among us Iranians more than any other minority group that I have known in this multicultural country.

One thing that makes me think some of Mr. Rafighi's story is fiction is his claim that he waited there to get his test results. They NEVER give you the result on the spot. Blood is sent to a different lab to be tested and if there are any irregularities with your blood they will contact you. I hope Mr. Rafighi is not discouraged from donating blood in the future and I'd like to take this opportunity to invite everyone, wherever you are, to do the same. If you need some excitment in your life this is your chance, give it a try and see how good you feel after donation.


Hamid Ageorlo,

* Hook-band

Regarding your point on Akband ["Open question"], I suspect the term is a corruption of "hook-band"; when cargo was delivered to the Persian Gulf ports of Iran (or up in the north) they were hook-band for loading and unloading purposes; just thought i should share this.


Maziar Behrouz

* Why not baakereh?

I am now more confused about the meaning of Aakband than when I started to read the various answers ["Open question"]. If Aakband is meant Unused or in original shape as suggested, why not use the word baakereh or virgin and not bother to borrow a strange word from Swedish language. Let us not be obcessed with borrowing everything and borrow the words equivalent of which we do not have.

Ali Parsa

* From Amazon forests

When everyone (without any specialisation in genealogy of words) says everything he/she wants about this word "aakband" ["Open question"], let me be extremely irrational and say that the word "aakband" comes from chinese "chang vangad".

This Chanese word maybe means something near the Swedish "oanvnd". It's possible that Chinese has recieved this word in an "aakband" package from Sweden. Who knows? But it's more probabile that the mentioned "aakband" package originates from Amazon forests in Brasile, where there is a people, called "aakband people", whose original way of life is conserved in an "aakband" way.


* OK

This could be the answer to your Quiz about "aakBand" ["Open question"]. I believe this word has a mixed origin. It is composed of the english word " OK " and Persian word of " BAND". In combination, it means that the band which is originally placed around the item is OK, and it has not been opened yet.

K. Homayoon

* Coult it be?

Could it be a corruption of "packed-and-bound"? ["Open question"]

Hossein Shahidi

* 75 years ago

I heard the word AKBAND or Okband as long as I remember ["Open question"]. 75 years ago or even earlier. This word as already mentioned originated in Shiraz and Iranian ports in Persian Gulf. It meant Unused, Brand New. In original Package or form and so on

Maybe an English word Indionized.


* Pahlavi's message is clear

In response to "Moft-khor tourist attractions". Your contentions lacks in vision. Constitutional-Monarchs have been guarantors of stability and democracy in their countries. Let us look at the Spanish example. Juan Carlos, the King of Spain, was successful in peacefully bringing democracy to that country, and in 1980, the country saw the first democratic elections since 1936. A new constitution established a parliamentary monarchy in which the king arbitrates and moderates the regular working of the institutions. Spain's democracy movement survived a 1981 attempted coup d'etat due to the fact that Juan Carlos was willing to stand up to the perpetrators of the coup.

However, aside from what form of Govt. individuals may prefer (constit-monach. or republic), Reza Pahlavi,s basic tenant for the need to establish a democratic and secular government in Iran, can be agreed to by all of us, irrespective of our position on the democratic spectrum. In his new book: "Winds of Change: The Future of Democracy of Iran" he sets the path to achieving this end through nonviolent civil-disobedience ultimately leading to a referendum in which Iranians can decide their form of Government for themselves (whether it be republican or C.M). At numerous occasions, Reza Pahlavi has said that "I don't care if the referendum on Iran's future results in a republic or constitutional monarchy. It is simply important that believers in secular democracy come together to achieve that goal." [see www.rezapahlavi.org].

I believe that Reza Pahlavi's message is clear. I think any exercise in name-calling or squabbling amongst supporters of democracy in Iran (whether they are Const.-Monarch. or Republican) ultimately helps the Islamic Republic. So lets stop the petty arguments and agree that Iran needs a secular and democratic form of government that is accountable to its people.

Amir A. Afkhami

* If you are not Persian

Dear Mr. Yahuda Goldberg, ["Moft-khor tourist attractions"]

I read you out burst published in the letters section of The Times Iranian with bewilder & astonishment.

Sir, are you Persian ? Do not say that it is irrelevant question. We have had more than our share & bad luck due to the interference of foreigners into our internal affairs, we certainly do not need one more.

If you are not Persian, then you are not in position to indulge your self into our political discussion on the form of the government we may envisage for our future.

But if you are indeed a Persian Jewish Citizen, then you have all the right to come out with your opinion without being hysterical.

Your name YAHUDA, and definitely your Family name GOLDBERG, does not sound Persian, at least to me. Even if you are Persian, it is customary that the members of the Persian Jewish community use more polite language. In that respect your an odd one indeed.

Sir, if ( for the sake of argument ) your father commits a kind of crime, or misdeed, do you personally feel that you should be accountable for the deeds of your father?

How about being poked all the time by angry, implosive, belligerent, impolite gentlemen such as your self, for the misdeeds of your father?

Sir, you write in such a way which implies that the Republics are clean & Monarchist are dirty bustards! For your refreshment I should point out the recent world events in Republican States. How about the pending court case for Mr. Berlesconi of Italy? How about pending court decision about Mr. Jack Shirak? How about pending court case against corruption in Germany & Mr. Kohl? Should I go on or this is sufficient?

Sir, according to your judgment, the few hundred million people who are highly educated & civilized such as The English, The Canadians, The Australians, The New Zealanders, The Japanese, The Thai's, The Norwegians, The Swedes, The Danes, The Spaniards & so on. are all idiots who pay their hard earned money as taxes to keep up their MOFT-KHOR & tourist attraction institutions! Then you assume that you are more advanced, civilized, informed, clever & smarter than all those millions! I am simply astonished by such an assumption .

Can I ask you, Sir, why you do not put the task on yourself to go around these countries & educate their stupid idiotic people about the virtues of REPUBLICANISM?

Let us assume that you are indeed one of the members of the Persian Jewish Community, then you are the last person who morally & historically can allow yourself to criticize Persian Monarchs, considering the FREEDOM & the security the Jewish community in Iran have enjoyed during 2500 years of Monarchy, from BABYLON to ASTER & MARDKHAY, up to the infamous foreign instigated Molla uprising & upheaval of 1979.

Being from a family that few number of its members have married to Persian or foreign Jewish Girls, & having number of Persian & Foreign Jewish friends, I am sorry to say that you are a disgrace to your own community using that kind of un-Jewish aggressive language.

Best wishes & regards,

H. Hakimi,

* Listen to his words

I am really surprised at the ignorance of the writer ["Moft-khor tourist attractions"]. As a jew, he should at least know something about the history of his own nation and what the Great King of Persia did for them.

He should also have the decency of listening to the words and clear statements of Reza Pahlavi (in his speeches, interviews and articles) before opening his mouth. Reza Pahlavi, at this point in the history of our country, is the best man (and only man, in my view) who can help Iran achieve secular democracy, be it in the form of a constitutional monarchy or a republic. And the choice for the form of governance should ultimately be left for the people of Iran.

Rashid Sardar

* Too bad

Farid, I feel for you ["Relative visa"]. I understand that you do not have an intereting family. Even you were not lucky about your wife. TOO BAD.


* Absolutely Abadani!

In "Let him go home" you wrote:

The family car was not the popular Paykan but a Shahin -- the Iranian version of an American Motors' Rambler -- with a color never seen before or since: light purple. Our favorite dessert was mom's cheesecake. My favorite day of the week was when we had shrimp curry, not ghormeh sabzi. The music most often blaring out of our house was Wagner and the Beatles, not Googoosh.

You are absolutely Abadani! Absolutely Abadani!

Sourena Mohammadi

* Couldn't stop surfing

Your site makes me proud! I'd received a forwarded message from a friend, I couldn't stop surfing. Thanks for providing such informative pages.


Amir Sahimi

* Part of our culture


The flag does look beautiful... But Right now Iran has so much other things to worry about . And the queston who ever will rule the new Iran would they except the sign of Zoarastrians symbol (which I think is great idea and eventough 98% of Iranian are moslems) but we must remember that was part of our culture and ancestors belief.

What do these color represent?!!!

Thank you

F Soltani

Comment for The Iranian letters section


January 2002
This month's archived letters

Letters index
Letters sent to The Iranian in previous months

Email us

Flower delivery in Iran
Copyright © Iranian.com All Rights Reserved. Legal Terms for more information contact: times@iranian.com
Web design by BTC Consultants
Internet server Global Publishing Group