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The latest cultural headlines in the media.
Iranian authors to attend Berlin Intl. Literary Festival
Tehran Times: Two Iranian authors Amir-Hassan Cheheltan and Farideh Khalatbari will be attending the 12th Berlin International Literary Festival.
The authors are invited to the event, which will take place from September 4 to 16.
Cheheltan, 56, wrote his first novel “The Mourning for Qassem” in 1983.
Cheheltan was editor-in-chief of the online literature magazine “Sokhan” until 2004 and a member of the jury for the Sadegh Hedayat Literary Awards for Short Stories until 2005.
Khalatbari, 64, is managing director of Shabaviz, a leading publisher of children’s books in Iran, which was established in 1984.
She has written more than 50 books including “The Jackal in the Lion’s Court” and “Bus Journey into the Unknown”, which have been translated into German.
Her works have also been acclaimed in several international events. She won the New Horizons Award at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair in 2004 for her lifetime achievements.
Writers from South Korea, the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Russia will attend the 12th Berlin International Literary Festival.
Thousands of poets and writers will read from their works during the festival, and there will be readings, concerts and film screenings in addition.
“The Life of Galileo” read in memory of Hamid Samandarian
Tehran Times: An all-female cast performed a reading of Bertolt Brecht’s “The Life of Galileo” in memory of Hamid Samandarian on Saturday at the Qods Theater in Qom, home to Iran’s most important Islamic seminary.
The reading, which was performed based on a translation by Abdorrahim Ahmadi, lasted for four hours.
The members of the cast included Zeinab Behbahani, Zakieh Behbahani, Hedyeh Heidari, Masumeh Zare’, Fatemeh Soleimani and Hamideh Amuii.
They observed a moment of silence for the Iranian stage director and playwright Samandarian, who passed away at the age of 81 in July 12 this year.
Once, Samandarian said his wish was to stage “The Life of Galileo” as his artistic will and testament, but his wish remained unrealized.
He was a teacher of several generations of Iranian directors, thespians and dramatists who are currently among the big names in Iranian theater and cinema.
Poet of Love, Justice
Iran Daily: Molana Jalaleddin Mohammad Balkhi, also known as Rumi, was a Persian philosopher and mystic of Islam.
Molana advocated unlimited tolerance, positive reasoning, goodness, charity and awareness through love. His peaceful and tolerant teachings continue to appeal to men of all sects and creeds worldwide.
Rumi was born on 30th September 1207 in Balkh, then within the domains of the Persian Empire, and died on 17 December 1273 in Konya, present-day Turkey. His body was laid to rest beside his father and a splendid shrine was erected there, which every year attracts a large number of pilgrims from all parts of the Muslim and non-Muslim world.
Rumi spent most of his younger years as a refugee on the run from the incursions of Genghis Khan from the east and the swords of the crusaders to the west.
The son of an accomplished scholar, Rumi showed early signs of becoming one himself. But after years of study, he is said to have grown disillusioned with the ways of God as he encountered them in the texts and lectures of his masters.
Spiritually, Rumi was hungry for something more than what conventional studies could offer him, something that came to him in 1244, in the form of an encounter with a ragged, wandering mystic named Shams-e Tabriz.
Rumi and Shams, legend has it, immediately recognized each other as brothers on a spiritual plane.
Rumi wrote his poetry in Persian language and his works are widely read in Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan, where Persian language is still spoken. He lived most of his life under the Seljuk Empire.
Starting his career as a preacher and theologian, Rumi opted for the life of a mystic after meeting Shams-e Tabriz.
Rumi has written the largest corpus of lyric poetry in the Persian language, amounting to 40,000.
Divan-e Shams is the inspiration of Rumi’s middle-aged years. His meeting with Sham-e Tabriz is the starting point. It is believed that he continued to compose poems for the Divan long after this final crisis--during the composition of the Masnavi.
The Divan is filled with ecstatic verses in which Rumi expresses his mystical love for Shams as a symbol of his love for God. It is filled with poems expressing this first stage in which Rumi sees Shams everywhere and in everything.
It was in the wake of this experience that Rumi’s formidable output of poetry began: a catalog that in its surviving form runs to a dozen thick volumes.
Rumi’s masterpiece, the Masnavi, is a fantastical, oceanic mishmash of folktales, philosophical speculation and lyrical ebullience in which the worldly and the other-worldly, the secular and the sacred, blend constantly.
The man most responsible for Rumi’s popularity in the West today is Coleman Barks, a poet and retired professor of English at the University of Georgia.
Barks acknowledges that his translations are often far from exact renditions of the Farsi of Rumi’s day which, in any case, he doesn’t speak. To create them, he has used literal translations provided by others. His emphasis on poetic essence over linguistic exactitude owes a strong debt to earlier poet-translators like Robert Bly, Kenneth Rexroth and Ezra Pound who championed a style of direct, aggressively nonacademic translation.
More Than a Poet
Rumi was more than just a poet. He was a perfect master. His poems were more down to earth than the great master poet Hafez and thus have been easier to translate as well, being more easily digested into the English vocabulary.
The popularity of his poetry has spread in the West because of its heartfelt themes of lover-beloved mysticism, and its spiritual joy that seems to originate even from the most distorted versions in English.
Rumi has been hailed by Western scholars as the greatest mystical poet of all time. The translation of his poems into the English language became the bestseller book in the US in 1997.
Ever since, the book of Rumi’s poetry has always been among the best selling books in the United States.
“Eminent philosopher and mystical poet of Islam, Rumi advocated tolerance, reason and access to knowledge through love. His work and thought continue to have universal relevance today,” says UNESCO.
However, it came as a big surprise when UNESCO, as an international body that supports preservation of cultural heritage, called Rumi a great Muslim and Turkish poet in its formal announcement and recognized Turkey, Afghanistan and Egypt as the organizers of the 800th birth anniversary of Rumi while nothing of Rumi’s real identity, Iran, has been mentioned. Yet, Rumi’s poetry speaks of his origin.
Perhaps the popularity of this great poet is rooted in the world’s quest for spirituality, as Rumi’s poems reflect human’s quest for love. As the religion scholar, Karen Armstrong, puts it, “Rumi’s spirituality is suffused by a sense of cosmic homelessness and separation from God, the divine source.”
Berlin literature festival invites Iranian fiction writer
Presstv: Prominent Iranian fiction writer Amir-Hassan Cheheltan has been invited to the 2012 edition of Berlin International Literature Festival (ILB) in Germany.
Cheheltan is slated to attend the festival along with a number of world renowned authors such as Elizabeth Allende, Herta Muller and Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt.
A number of fiction writers such as Adam Haslett and Ha Jin will also attend the 2012 edition of the festival that is programmed to focus on current situation of Europe.
Cheheltan’s book Tehran, the City with No Sky translated into German is scheduled to be unveiled at this year’s festival.
Female Iranian author Farideh Khalatbari has also been invited to the children section of the 12th Berlin International Literature Festival.
Khalatbari’s three linear creations Wolves and Men, Wrong Bus and Penitence have been selected to be presented at the reading programs of the festival.
Berlin international literature festival presents the literary diversity of contemporary prose and poetry from around the world.
Established in 2001, the festival is slated to provide opportunities for all authors to read their texts in the original version. An actor will also be available to read the German translation of the text to the audience or perform it in a musical version. Presenters and translators are also on hand to allow a discussion between the author and the audience to take place.
The 12th annual International Literature Festival Berlin (ILB) will be held from September 9 to 15, 2012, at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin.
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