Let Me Tell You Where I've Been: New Writing by Women of the Iranian Diaspora

Let Me Tell You Where I've Been: New Writing by Women of the Iranian Diaspora

by Persis M. Karim
     
 

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Until recently, Iranian literature has overwhelmingly been the domain of men. But the new hybrid culture of diaspora Iranians has produced a prolific literature by women that reflects a unique perspective and voice. Let Me Tell You Where I've Been is an extensive collection of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction by women whose lives have been shaped and influenced by

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Overview

Until recently, Iranian literature has overwhelmingly been the domain of men. But the new hybrid culture of diaspora Iranians has produced a prolific literature by women that reflects a unique perspective and voice. Let Me Tell You Where I've Been is an extensive collection of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction by women whose lives have been shaped and influenced by Iran's recent history, exile, immigration and the formation of new cultural identities in the United States and Europe. These writings represent an emerging and multi-cultural female sensibility. Unlike many flat media portrayals of Iranian women—as veiled, silenced—these writers offer a complex literary view of Iranian culture and its influences. These writers interrogate, challenge, and re-define notions of home and language and their work offers readers an experience of Iranian diaspora culture. Featuring over one hundred selections (two-thirds of which have never been published before) by more than fifty contributors—including such well-known writers as Gelareh Asayesh, Tara Bahrampour, Firoozeh Dumas, Roya Hakakian and Mimi Khalvati—the collection represents a substantial diversity of voices in this multicultural community. Divided into six sections, the book's themes of exile, family, culture resistance, and love, create a rich and textured view of the Iranian diaspora. The poems, short stories, and essays are suggestive of an important conversation about Iran, Iranian culture, the Persian and English languages, and the dual identities of many of its authors. This powerful collection is a tribute to the wisdom, insight, and sensitivity of women attempting to invent and articulate a literature of in-betweenness.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“I’d never heard of Sholeh Wolpe or the late Susan Atefat-Peckham before this book; now I want to read everything they’ve ever written. Their poems are daring and wise, full of love, breathtakingly tender and hones. Do they write with a woman’s sensitivity? Absolutely. Do I feel as though I’m reading ‘woman’s literature’? Absoutely not. It’s deeper than that – both arresting and sublime in a way that transcends gender.” — Brad Buckholz, Austin American-Statesman “This is a surprising collection. . . . Persis Karim has located a community of sensitive and articulate cultural observers and mapped that explosion of creativity for us.” — Michael Beard, coeditor of Middle Eastern Literatures and author of Naguib Mahfouz: From Regional Fame to Global Recognition “[These writings] command our attention, not only for the range of their subject matter and literary artistry, but for representing a multiplicity of voices, the newest patch in this quilt of American culture. They are allegories of our enriched nation . . . the real thing.” — Zohreh T. Sullivan, author of Exiled Memories: Stories of Iranian Diaspora “In these tender and no-so-tender pages you’ll find the barely tellable story of what really happened to dreams deferred. Through vivid, sometimes spellbinding accounts they provide, these gifted writers speak powerfully to the subject of displacement.” — Al Young, from the Foreword “We have to thank Persis Karim for this wonderful book and for these powerful selections; they offer an alternative to the currently politicized and one-sided view of Iran and Iranian culture.” – Azar Nafisi, author of Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books "Might we present this stunning collection of voices to the U.S. government? Might this be the perfect moment for bridges of language and sensibility—delicious humanity—to define and connect us? Cast aside the grim proclamations of power and threat! Gratitude to Persis Karim for this healing tonic of pomegranate wisdom and pleasure." —Naomi Shihab Nye, poet and author of You & Yours, 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East "Iran is a land of paradoxes. It is also undergoing a momentous and profound transformation. The delightfully diverse group of women assembled in this important and timely anthology offers a panoramic view of this complexity and dynamism. Persis Karim ought to be congratulated." —Farzaneh Milani, director of Studies in Women and Gender at the University of Virginia, is the author of Veils and Words: The Emerging Voices of Iranian Women Writers
Michael Beard
"This is a surprising collection. . . . Persis Karim has located a community of sensitive and articulate cultural observers and mapped that explosion of creativity for us."
coeditor of Middle Eastern Literatures and author of Naguib Mahfouz: From Regional Fame to Global Recognition
Zohreh T. Sullivan
"[These writings] command our attention, not only for the range of their subject matter and literary artistry, but for representing a multiplicity of voices, the newest patch in this quilt of American culture. They are allegories of our enriched nation . . . the real thing."
author of Exiled Memories: Stories of Iranian Diaspora
Publishers Weekly
The diversity of voices represented in this stunning collection of poetry, fiction and nonfiction by women of Iranian descent shatters their narrow image in the U.S. Though none are well known, most of the 53 authors live in the U.S. and 15 have been published in journals if not books. One writes about a woman's relationship with her chador. Another remembers her desire, as a young girl, to distance herself from the "old-world values" espoused by her parents. A woman who sought refuge in Germany conveys the longing she felt to return to her birthplace by detailing a market scene and how the taste of raw walnuts made her feel at home again. Like other emigres, the women who fled Iran after the 1979 revolution have continued to feel strong ties with their homeland. Many of those now living in the U.S., Canada or the U.K. have grappled with such feelings in an era when cars in the U.S. were emblazoned with bumper stickers reading "Iranians Go Home" and "We Play Cowboys and Iranians." Though many contributions avoid politics, several writers illustrate heartbreaking incidents of stereotyping that reveal the struggle of facing pervasive social suspicion. Touching on universal themes of love and loss, exile and longing, politics and war, this collection derives its cumulative power from its authors' subtle, uniquely female perceptions. (June) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
This deep, emotional anthology of poetry, essays, and memoirs edited by Karim (English & comparative literature, San Jose State Univ., CA; coeditor, A World Between: Poems, Short Stories, and Essays by Iranian-Americans) represents the growth of women's writing that occurred after the Iranian revolution. The more than 100 selections most never before published are organized around six general themes: home and away, family and tradition, gender, politics, love, and silence. They describe the insights of exile, the immigrant experience, and the gripping emotions of the powerful events that sent Iranians to the United States in the 1980s. The rich poetry covers such topics as family traditions, the war in Iraq, and the anxiety and lure of returning to their homeland as well as the difficulty of living there. This vast and compelling collection includes contributions from some 50 accomplished writers, among them Susan Atefat-Peckham and Nika Khanjani. It will offer readers a moving portrait of the Iranian American experience and the hope of possibilities that can lie within a new culture. Recommended for larger public libraries and academic libraries. Susan McClellan, Avalon P.L., Pittsburgh Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781557288202
Publisher:
University of Arkansas Press
Publication date:
05/28/2006
Edition description:
1ST
Pages:
428
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

What People are saying about this

Azar Nafisi
"We have to thank Persis Karim and the authors of this wonderful book for their selections, offering us a new alternative to the currently politicized and one-sided views on Iran."
author of READING LOLITA IN IRAN

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