Ali Abdolrezaei

Ali Abdolrezaei's poetry shows that the contemporary art of Iran has been hugely influenced by the traumatic historic events of the last three decades and that these events have affected millions of Iranians in one way or another. Abdolrezaei is young and represents the aesthetics and voice of a new, multi-faceted generation of Iranians and their cultural chasm with the past in the face of a repressive political regime. Abdolrezaei gained reputation as a poet, speaking in the voice of his time, in the early 1990s and received wide critical attention. His poetry tackles difficult themes with a mastery of craft. Ali Abdolrezaei's poems are translated into many languages such as English , French ,German , Spanish , Dutch ,Swedish ,Finnish ,Turkish, Portuguese ,Urdu , Croatian and Arabic.

Ali Abdolrezaei was born on 10 April 1969 in Northern Iran. He completed his primary and secondary education in his city of birth and after receiving his diploma in mathematics passed the nationwide university entrance exams. He graduated with a Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering from Tehran Technical and Engineering University. He began his professional poetic career in 1986 and became one of the most serious and contentious poets of the new generation of Persian poetry. Abdolrezaei has had an undeniable effect on many Persian poets through of his poetry as well as his speeches and interviews. He is also one of the few poets who succeeded in expressing his unique poetic individuality. His 21 varied books of poetry -In Riskdom Where I lived, Shinema, So Sermon of Society, Improvisation, This Dear Cat, Paris in Renault, More Obscene than Literature, Hermaphrodite, A Gift in A Condom, You Name this Book, Only Iron Men Rust in the Rain, Terror, La Elaha Ella Love and Fackbook - endorse his poetic creativity and power. Nearly all well-known poets and critics of Persian poetry have written about Abdolrezaei's work. In September 2002 after his protest against heavy censorship of his latest books such as So Sermon of Society and Shinema, he was banned from teaching and public speaking. He left Iran and after staying a few months in Germany, followed by two years in France, he moved to London, where he has been living for the last 5 years.

Black Sea

The river runs through my home that has run?
Or too soon. Too soon is it to ask this rover for help?
Where does the sea rive
In... Or... !?
You would love to tip off this boat of broken oar
Or am I the wave that turns not to return?
The briny sea in this far shore lacked only you my humerus
do not pour such humor on this dear wound
In the end this naked soul
Other than that naked soul
What can it be? A naked soul?

Me having love affair now with whomever
And being whoever you want
What do you mean you being whatever I want you to be?
Or like some watermelon thrown in ice
In the heat of summer
For me to cry hug me I'm freezing!?

Like a child's wanting mother - ma tear
Someone come like scream into my words
Until when this wave pound
Its head on those two mounds up there
And these two crevices down here!?

The sea is still at work
A wave summersaults and Alexander
Returns to his sea black in the face

Post- censorship

The plain is green
The page, white
And the line, a row of passing sheep
there is no green
But everywhere a blackening
I too - who is writing - am the shepherd
Taking my words to graze
To arrange some fodder
For the wolf of the hills
wound up in the office of the censor
Stalking round for words.
And without me these words are just sheep
grazing as they are bound to
Eat looking for answers
The poor sheepdog too
Is censoring words
Sniffing for bones.
What does the Poor dog know
When you are a poet you are Jesus
The shepherd Mohammad, Moses
Upset at all this blackening
Herding after the green that is not.

One of these words strikes out for hills and dales
Another goes after Joseph's coat of many colours
Takes refuge in a well
If the mountain goat is faint hearted
Dashes for dale and hills out of fear
To take refuge with the wolf
It is not the poet's fault that you censored him
It was for him that you released it
The bullet shot in the air
In my air
to spread darkness on the page
for blindness to come in fashion

Distance has always been my close relation
I know exile scene by scene
Five lit windows
A bare and only tree
Behind a naked autumn
The scenery a few acts in the mist
That I am still directing
A bit of a wink over there Red
A moment's embrace over here meaning
Give a bit of bosom without a grudge
Oh son of whoever your father wanted of your mother to bring a son
But where?!
Your poet wanted to bring a spouse
Don't be peevish
To make a Romeo for Juliet Didn't work
Wanted his big words to hit the last wire
No matter what
Now that some bone is left in these pages
It's the turning of the wrench
A game of nuts and bolts
A rending of the heart for nothing - this loving
A night that spilled out of a parcel
Is more of a goner than the stain
That takes over this leap year
It's the turning of a wrench in the flesh
Torture of words from the front and behind
A Romeo has run away from me
lips that run away with the face
But don't land a kiss
don't sort with a Juliet But the official
A wolf that eats the flesh of my words
Is still cersorship


This dry tree
how has it arranged itself so well
so well ... under the rain.... to stand up?
The pomegranate that's hanging
why should someone squeeze .... who knows nothing?

Why the rain that should rain down in this poem doesn't rain?

And life.... this short lullaby.... finally puts me to sleep
on a page that spent a life in 'I don't know'

How many times should I write
the poem ... that Iíll never write?
I'm sure....London's blood group
which most likely is O or
doesn't match mine
because I keep hitting the rain...keep getting wet

What ecstasy revolves round this
thought that's in my mind
I wish someone came
to stop this Dervish that keeps twirling in my head
the rain that keeps raining no longer comes to my poem

This cursed beast
has brought tears to all eyes

This inquisitor
who drags so much out of the clouds over London

Is someone idling up there
or is it true
that it's still raining?

We all die
so nothing ends
what a shame

Three O'clock

Two in the afternoon.

It was bang on two
I dusted and tidied the house.
2:00pm I showered and shaved.

It was exactly half past
two wine glasses ready placed
I switched off Lorca's voice.

Now thirty minutes left to three
Maria's coming first time over
I should have a pick-me-up to take a sip to get me going.

Now the clock hands aren't inclined to three
I should water the flowers
before Maria arrives.

Twenty five minutes are left
I should call my friend Michael
tell him my loneliness I'm now done with.

I'm exactly twenty minutes away from Maria
she must have come out of the station up the road and flirting
with the florist near my house to wrap a more scarlet bouquet.

In fifteen minutes my world will change
with glee. I should wear some aftershave
to entice her.

Ten minutes to three. Hey
like a red bull on the beach inside my chest
my heart's beating such Bandari beat.

She has only five minutes left to show
up I should get moving What if she has
matched her bra with her white slip?
I should go get into my black boxers now.

Only three short minutes left to her knock on my door
I know she will.
Maria's brought up at her father's table
she's always on time
she should be anytime
now that only two ticks
left to appointed time
this phone keeps ringing. Bugger.
I'm sure it's the girl I left like a skunk.

I should pull the plug
but why the buzzer won't let me go
she's chasing my mobile now.

Ma mamia! It's Maria's number
she must be at the door. Hello.
Bang on three and I'm rolling the floor.

Why what savage time was three
o'clock third class to all o'clocks
three o'clock in a dark guardian age

No savior at work
I lose my faith in second coming
Sushiant, Jesus Mary and Mahdi.

I was the fool of the fields otherwise
Maria wouldn't have rung bang at three
to say she's not coming.

Translator: Abol Froushan

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