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
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",
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,
* 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
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
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
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"
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
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
* Nah har keh sar betaraashad...
Dear Mr. Khalili, ["Nothing
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
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
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
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.
* 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
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.
* 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.
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.
* 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
* 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.
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.
* Coult it be?
Could it be a corruption of "packed-and-bound"? ["Open
* 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
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
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,
* 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
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.
* 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!
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!
* 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.
* Part of our culture
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?!!!