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From Zayandeh Rud to the Mississippi



June 23, 2006

Mahnaz Badihian (Oba), poet, writer, and dentist, grew up in Iran with the poetry of mystic poets such as Rumi, Hafez and Khayam and has lived in the United States for over 25 years enjoying the poetry of great poets such as Langston Hughes, Edgar Allan Poe, T.S. Eliot, Elizabeth Bishop and many contemporary poets and writers. While living in Iowa for so many years she benefited from the literary atmosphere of Iowa City and the many workshop and classes of the University of Iowa Writer's Workshop. Oba believes that Marvin Bell, Iowa's Poet Laureate, was of specific importance to her poetry. She started writing poetry and short stories at the age of fourteen.

She has published two volumes of poetry and one volume of poetry in translation. For over 10 years she has contributed to many literary magazines in the form of translations, poetry and short stories. She currently lives in San Francisco, dedicating all her time to Art and Literature. From Zayandeh Rud to the Mississippi is the first book from this poet in English.

Three poems from the collection:


Oh Freedom I got my holiness

From you.

When you are with us,

The ocean is graceful

And the mountains are

Soft hearted…



I saw you yesterday

In the street of tomorrow

In an unknown road


Amazingly, your hair

Has lost color

Your shoulders, are droopy.

And your skin has lost luster.


Where was I all these years?

I have lost your youth, and

I forgot the color of your eyes.

I have not read your poems and

The years escaped.

Yesterday, I saw you on the road of memories,

You were saying something

Something which was the story of my childhood

A song I knew

I saw you

In the street of my childhood,

In an endless road

In a road of my old age.

Do we know what we lost?


(Brazil summer 1998)

I am a little fall,

With all my dreams running madly along.

I want to be like you,

Iguazu fall,

Rich, full, alive.


For letters section
To Mahnaz Badihian

Mahnaz Badihian


Book of the day

The Pursuit of Pleasure
Drugs and Stimulants in Iranian History, 1500-1900
by Rudi Matthee

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