Critics say the ultimate role of literature is to make you feel what you have never felt and do what you have never done. This way, everyone coming from different cultures and geographical locations can empathize with that piece of literature. The illustration is Forough Farrokhzad’s best quality to use her skill in writing poetry and describing a scene so vividly that you, as a reader, feel the complex emotion of the verses. You can follow every word of what she illustrated with her undeniable skill and find yourself in an eastern atmosphere while you have aspects in common more than what you can imagine.
Besides Forough’s skill in poetry, she is an inspiring woman for Iranian female society. If you’re a young Iranian girl who cares about social justice, you have definitely heard her name. Forough Farrokhzad is a female role model that every female teenager can look up to. Her rebellious spirit, her eagerness for change, and her delicate emotions are the factors that differentiate her from other people.
On a freezing day of winter, when crows fly around an empty pool, sit on bare branches, and break the silence by their mysterious song, the journey of Forough Farrokhzad begins.
The Wind Will Take Us: Forough Farrokhzad’s Life Story
With a military father and a housewife mother, Forough Farrokhzad is an example of a typical middle-class Persian girl. Due to his father’s upbringing style, Forough, her brother, Fereydoon, and her sister, Pouran, knew they had to obey the rules and please their father. However, being obedient was not in Forough’s blood, so some of her decisions could irritate her father and disappoint her mother.
َForough’s relationship with her father was complicated. Although her father did not approve of all her decisions and tried to raise her very strictly, he introduced Forough Farrokhzad to Persian literature and adored her lovingly in his weird way. When Forough became a teenager and started writing poems that were romantic, she was afraid of her father’s reaction and did not publish her work.
Her father did not even approve of her choices in marriage. When Forough was 16, she fell in love with Parviz Shapour, who was almost 15 years older. Their marriage only lasted for five years. Although they were passionate about one another, Forough left her husband and returned to her father’s home multiple times, even when she was pregnant with her son.
Forough Farrokhzad’s feelings for her husband and son, her changing emotions, and her free spirit influenced her to write some of her most authentic, raw, and beautiful poems.
Forough Farrokhzad, in one of her poems, talks about her intense love and how she does not regret this emotion while she did not get what she deserved in this relationship.
Also, one of the most conventional and popular poems of Forough Farrokhzad, named “Sin,” was written at that time, which made many traditional Iranians uncomfortable.
The shadows are stepping by…
We must flee.
This bliss seems so odd to me,
I am addicted to my despair,
I feel that something will disrupt
this flowing peace of our quiet night.
In February 1967, Forough Farrokhzad died in a car accident and left her art as her legacy.
Someone Who Is Not Like Anyone: Forough and Feminism in Iran
When we talk about the women’s rights movement in Iran, there are some inspiring women that stand out, and Forough is one of them. What she did as a Persian woman was a revolution in the history of Iranian art.
Although Forough is not the first Iranian female poet, she is one of the firsts to destroy the concept of the passiveness of women. She illustrated the concepts of love and extreme passion in her poetry through vivid descriptions aesthetically.
After publishing her first poetry album, the feedbacks showed how talking about womanhood is new for people. Many men and women got uncomfortable reading the poems and showed their dissatisfaction to Forough Farrokhzad by their negative reviews. Later, when she was almost 20 years old and published her second book, she proved herself to more people, and she gained more acceptance.
“…I know a sad little fairy
who lives in an ocean
and ever so softly
plays her heart into a magic flute
a sad little fairy
who dies with one kiss each night
and is reborn with one kiss each dawn.”
You can listen to the complete version of Another Birth on Youtube.
The House is Black: Forough Farrokhzad as a FilmMaker
When Forough Farrokhzad was in her twenties, she started to experience cinema and filmmaking. Her encounter with cinema introduced Forough to Ebrahim Golestan, who is one of the most skilled Persian writers and filmmakers, and this encounter started a romantic relationship.
Around 1932, Forough made her first film called “Khaneh Siyah Ast,” or The House is Black, in a leper colony to portray the sufferings and pains of this group of people. Although the movie’s general theme is about pain, there is a nice representation of hope and life’s beauty, which moderates the atmosphere and makes the narration more authentic.
The House Is Black became an important piece of art in Persian cinema. Eric Henderson, the movie critic, describes this documentary as “The House is Black authoritatively clears the path for such aesthetic dilettantism.” Nowadays, The house is Black is one of the movies known in the international world, and people still admire the film’s subject, its directory, and scenes.
While shooting this documentary in the leper colony, Forough got attached to a young boy who was also suffering from lepers and adopted him later.
In this documentary, Forough Farrokhzad uses her poems to describes life from her own perspective and says:
… And there is no one among us who knows
How long will it be
The harvest season is over. Summer is over
And we were not saved
We complain like a cuckoo for justice, and it is none
We are waiting for the light, and now it is dark
And you, The rich stream that your love is driving
Come to us
Come to us
It Is Only Sound That Remains: Forough Farrokhzad’s Poems
Forough Farrokhzad’s journey in poetry brought four poetry books to life. She started writing poems when she was a teenager, and as she grew older and got more mature, her poems evolved with her as well. As she mentioned, her last poems are more appealing to herself, and the older ones are affected by her young and inexperienced opinions.
If you read some of Forough’s later poems, such as “Let us Believe in the Coming of the Cold Season,” you can see how more philosophical and deeper her poems became. The transition is obvious and carries you with it. No matter how old you are, you always find a Forough Farrokhzad’s Poem which you can find personal and love.
Forough Farrokhzad’s life, filmmaking career, and amazing poetry are more than just art. They tend to touch your feelings and open a new window to look at the world differently. If you are familiar with the Persian language, you can find Forough Farrokhzad poems in Farsi by purchasing her book on Amazon. You can also start learning Farsi by using the “Farsi for Beginners” guideline to give you some hints to start.