'Haiku in Iran and the 'Haiku Effect' in contemporary Persian poetry
This is a video of a talk by Faryaneh Fadaeiresketi (Heidelberg University) (with Wiebke Denecke) for the "Haiku as World Literature: A Celebration of the 150th Birthday of Haiku Poet Masaoka Shiki", which took place on October 12 & 13, 2017 at Barristers Hall, Boston University. Recorded on October 12, 2017 by the Geddes Language Center.
In 2011, the entry on haiku in Iran was added into Encyclopedia Iranica, signaling the eventual recognition of this poetic form within the corpora of contemporary Persian poetry. The website of the National Library and Archive of Iran shows a record of more than sixty poetry collections in the haiku category, including both translations and original compositions. More than half of these haiku collections, written by Iranian poets, were published between the years 2000 and 2015. The recent increasing popularity of this form in Iran could not have been imagined three decades ago when it was introduced as an example of "Eastern" culture in the second half of the 20th century. The first translators and commentators of haiku in Iran were Sohrab Sepehri (1928-1980), Ahmad Shamlou (1925-2000) and Mehdi Akhavan Sales (1929-1990), the most celebrated figures of modern Persian poetry. They played a significant role in this cultural encounter, both in the text selection and the literary transmission process. Considering the insufficient information and sources available in Persian about Japanese culture and literature, the intense struggle of these Iranian poet-translators and poet-critics to understand the haiku aesthetic is highly evident. This study aims to analyze the reception process of haiku in Iran during the 20th and 21st centuries—from translation to composition and impacts—and delineate the dialectic of cultural persistence and change in contemporary Iran.
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