Bilingual, colour, illustrated edition. Political Prisoners | Iran | Poetry
Written in the wake of the 1980s massacres of political prisoners in Iran, Lives Lost: In Search of a New Tomorrow insists on the work of memory, critical thought, and imagination to resist the 'forgetting' forged by violence. Saeed Yousef's acerbic, moving, and defiant quatrains, based on eyewitness accounts, subverts the classical form of the Persian ruba'i to testify to State atrocities.
This multi-genre, bilingual edition introduces Yousef's historically significant poem to non-Persian speaking readers for the first time. Ahad Bahadori's attentive translation, Ava Raha's surrealist illustrations, and Dr. Shahrzad Mojab's illuminating Foreword offer valuable perspectives on Yousef's poem and the role of resistance poetry in the aftermath of the Iranian Revolution.
About the authors
Shahrzad Mojab, Professor of Adult Education and Women's Studies at the University of Toronto, is an academic-activist, specializing on educational policy studies; gender, state, migration and diaspora; women, war, violence and learning; Marxist-feminism and anti-racism pedagogy. She co-edited with Sara Carpenter Educating from Marx: Race, Gender and Learning (2012); edited Women, War, Violence, and Learning (2010); co-edited with Nahla Abdo Violence in the Name of Honour: Theoretical and Political Challenges (2004) and with Himani Bannerji and Judith Whitehead Of Property and Propriety: The Role of Gender and Class in Imperialism and Nationalism (2001). She has been the guest editor of the special issue of Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East Journal, on Gender and Empire (Summer 2010) and Dissent: The Politics and Poetics of Women’s Resistance (2012); International Journal of Lifelong Education, on women, war and learning; and Resources for Feminist Research, on war and militarization.
Excerpt: Lives Lost:: In Search of a New Tomorrow (by (author) Saeed Yousef; foreword by Shahrzad Mojab; translated by Ahad Bahadori; illustrated by Ava Raha)
We, who have drowned in our own blood
Love life, far more than you do
We, who lost lives, in search of a new tomorrow
Were far-seeing, we knew no afterlife could be found
"In Lives Lost, it is the dead who narrate. The poem’s heroes are talking not from the safe harbor of an imagined afterlife but via the blunt expressivity of their new corpsification, their exposed, irrefutable materiality, just as their wills that said no also remain. In Ava Raha’s haunting illustrations, rosy blood splashes and pools, but the figures of the executed refuse to dissolve."
–– Simone Davis, World Literature Today
"In both form and content, Lives Lost: In Search of a New Tomorrow, a new, illustrated, bilingual edition of Saeed Yousef’s ruba’is documenting the 1980s prison massacres in Iran, is a daring and indispensable publication for this fraught moment in time. Emerging from a collaborative process initiated by the activist-intellectual Shahrzad Mojab, this challenging and strangely beautiful book serves to remind both English and Persian speaking readers of the crucial, historically repressed decade of violence that enabled Khomeini’s regime to seize control over the direction of Iran’s popular Revolution."
–– Nilofar Shidmehr, Hamilton Review of Books