Thursday, November 16, 2006

Pursuing the Horizon...

Review: Many are the feelings and sensations echoing nearly overflowing from this moving collection. Like the intimate bond the author herself describes as connecting the world of dreams and the world of reality, her verses run on the thin edge between a subtle series of opposites. Resignation and hope, sorrow and joy, loneliness and communion, loss and conquest, desire and aversion, war and peace: all these confront each other, repel each other but never separate completely, yet interlace weaving the arduous story of the poet. By using words now sweet but stern, now sharp but responsive however always in a straight diction, without frills Sheema Kalbasi retraces her past, the hard trip of a young girl who fled from her tormented home country, that modern Iran she still likes to call the Ancient Persia, to search for a new home, a new life, her freedom. So Mighty Are the Stories ... but likewise she can look at the present and the future with neat realism, as well as with intact wonder, so that her Mel lowly-poetical voice streams with messages not only of despondency and denunciation, but also of courage and anticipation. These Echoes In Exile then turn into the author s chant of liberation, revealing her self-sustaining force before the hatred and the division ubiquitous in the world and afflicting above all her beloved Middle East. From line to line the refugee, the nobody she used to name herself at the time of her flight, they all show up in their vigor and radiance, disclosing to us the true identity of the poet and her discreet, unique sensuality not screamed out, just whispered. So a clear-cut figure and a transparent character finally come to light simply those of a woman deeply able and willing to love. ALESSIO ZANELLI --Alessio Zanelli

Heartiest Congratulations (Tillykke) to Sheema:

My Poetress friend just won the Harvest International Poetry Award for her poem, Hezbollah. I could not imagine a more deserving poem or a blossoming poetress to receive this award. Sheema's poetry is a dynamic actualization of her unshakable convictions, courage, innocence found, healthy skepticism, and her unflappable determination to make justice triumphant in the universe.

Her poetry reminds me of Søren Kierkegaard, "Thus I always reason from existence, not toward existence, whether I move in the sphere of palpable fact or in the realm of thought. I do not, for example prove that a stone exists, but that some existing thing is a stone."

Here is her award-wining poem:


It is absurd to close your eyes
and pretend that the Bahais
have never been slaughtered or forced
to convert to Islam,
as if the executions of political prisoners
or the Kurds were just part of a game,
an unwritten law in a lawless land.

Extended customs, mute prayers,
grave to grave, Tehran cemeteries
black from the flesh of the youth
and on the faces of the mothers lay
chipped beliefs and spreading tears.

The News shows the Godzilla regime
- mourning over the tassels of demolished
homes of the homeless in a country
not even close to my land - sits on tinplates
of power and announces another castration.

This perhaps is a blessing from God
that when there is a Friday Prayer in Tehran,
we still cry over the Arab-Israeli War.

Hezbollah: Party of God, it follows the distinctly Shiite Islamist ideology developed by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, leader of the Islamic Revolution in Iran.

Bahai faith: It is a global religion founded by Bahá'u'lláh in the 19th century in Iran. It is the forbidden faith in post revolution Iran.

Sheema's other Works

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