Jaleh Mohajer Esfahani


Iranian poet of hope One of the most prolific and active voices in Iranian literature Jaleh Mohajer-Esfahani won respect for her heartfelt but controlled verses on exile, happiness and hope. Her verses are covered by love and the joy of life in the centre stage - a mixture of sad satisfaction and restrained regret. Her literary activities in Iran were cut short after she married a young army officer who was an opponent of the Pahlavi regime and suffered persecution for his political views. The couple clandestinely fled to the Soviet Union in 1947. In Moscow, Jaleh learnt Russian and got her PhD in Persian literature from Lamanosov University. For many years she worked at the Maxim Gorky International Academy of Literature. In 1981, she returned to Iran, but two years later she came to London, where she remained until her death. During her stay in Russia, Jaleh often travelled to Tajikistan and Afghanistan and other Middle Asian countries. She attended congresses and conferences and presented numerous talks and papers to promote, encourage and highlight the importance of literacy co-operation among the Farsi-speaking people. Jaleh published more than 20 volumes of poetry, most of them had been translated into Russian and various European and other Asian languages. Her autobiography Sayeh-ye-Salha (The Shadow of Years) was published in 2000. She had also published her first collection of poetry, titled Golha-ye-Khodru (Wild Flowers). She dedicated a substantial part of her work to liberty and free- thinking - veils, walls and the unheard voices of confined women have a strong presence in her work. At least three collections of Jaleh's poems, Zendeh Rud (Life-Giving River, 1965), Keshti-ye Kabud (The Green Vessel, 1978), and Naqsh-e-Jahan (Image of the World, 1980) featured both nostalgia and hope. Jaleh Mohajer-Esfahani was born in Esfahan. From early childhood, she had a natural talent for poetry. In 1946, when the first congress of Iranian poets and writers was convened in Tehran, Jaleh was the only woman, and she recited a piece in front of an audience of 2,000.

Compiler: M. Nauman Khan

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