Posted by: tsopr | September 16, 2011

Ali Abdolrezaei, Iranian Poet

Ali Abdolrezaei’s poetry shows that the contemporary art of Iran has been hugely influenced by the traumatic historic events of the last three decades and that these events have affected millions of Iranians in one way or another. Abdolrezaei is young and represents the aesthetics and voice of a new, multi-faceted generation of Iranians and their cultural chasm with the past in the face of a repressive political regime. Abdolrezaei gained reputation as a poet, speaking in the voice of his time, in the early 1990s and received wide critical attention. His poetry tackles difficult themes with a mastery of craft. Ali Abdolrezaei’s poems are translated into many languages such as English, French, German, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Finnish, Turkish, Portuguese, Urdu, Croatian and Arabic.

Ali Abdolrezaei was born on 10 April 1969 in Northern Iran. He completed his primary and secondary education in his city of birth and after receiving his diploma in mathematics passed the nationwide university entrance exams. He graduated with a Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering from Tehran Technical and Engineering University. He began his professional poetic career in 1986 and became one of the most serious and contentious poets of the new generation of Persian poetry. Abdolrezaei has had an undeniable effect on many Persian poets through of his poetry as well as his speeches and interviews. He is also one of the few poets who succeeded in expressing his unique poetic individuality. His 21 varied books of poetry –In Riskdom Where I lived, Shinema, So Sermon of Society, Improvisation, This Dear Cat, Paris in Renault, More Obscene than Literature, Hermaphrodite, A Gift in A Condom, You Name this Book, Only Iron Men Rust in the Rain, Terror, La Elaha Ella Love and Fackbook – endorse his poetic creativity and power. Nearly all well-known poets and critics of Persian poetry have written about Abdolrezaei’s work. In September 2002 after his protest against heavy censorship of his latest books such as So Sermon of Society and Shinema, he was banned from teaching and public speaking. He left Iran and after staying a few months in Germany, followed by two years in France, he moved to London, where he has been living for the last 6 years.

                                Featured Poetry of Ali Abdolrezaei
                                (Translated into English by Abol Froushan)

Always Afterwards

You no longer wish to look
like the one I liked
you’ve changed your shadows
shaved your hair
and sitting knees apart before me
thorns of the hidden rose sticking out
You come to my dreams always afterwards
after I wake
I think of you still
Like a rose that buds
under its thorns in late summer
no matter if I water it or not
my hair all fallen at my feet pre-autumn
the children have already denuded
the almond tree


With the same fingers I made slender
take a sheet from your pile of paper
that might as well be A3
not to forget the same brush I gave you
and that box of paint I nicked for you
pin the sheet to your canvas
now take a seat on the chair from Poland
and I in the expanse of this park am sat waiting on this half empty bench
Hurry up
Put a few somewhat yellow tips of branches by the grey sky you paint at the top of the sheet
a background of few naked trees with few leaves in the air will be excellent
now install a bench at the bottom of the sheet
and paint a man sat waiting love stricken
his lover has not come – so put more lines on his face
she’s not coming – some more face lines please
won’t come – so please some more still
just come inside the frame yourself and put my mind at ease


As I poured out of Paris clouds
and flew to an airport cafe
that sat face to face
with two black symbols
under two eyebrows

I had only read two lines on the forehead
when I arrived at a black subtitle
which the hair dresser up the road had censored
in two short line segments
in a fine font

above two symbols set in Chinese
vertical writing that one knows
you have two very lips
that want to swallow me

you’re no prettier than
Langrude, Tehran or Paris
like other women I divorced
I’ll separate from you too London


This dry tree
how has it arranged itself so well
so well … under the rain…. to stand up?
The pomegranate that’s hanging
why should someone squeeze …. who knows nothing?

Why the rain that should rain down in this poem doesn’t rain?

And life…. this short lullaby…. finally puts me to sleep
on a page that spent a life in ‘I don’t know’

How many times should I write
the poem … that I’ll never write?
I’m sure….London’s blood group
which most likely is O or
doesn’t match mine
because I keep hitting the rain…keep getting wet

What ecstasy revolves round this
thought that’s in my mind
I wish someone came
to stop this Dervish that keeps twirling in my head
the rain that keeps raining no longer comes to my poem

This cursed beast
has brought tears to all eyes

This inquisitor
who drags so much out of the clouds over London

Is someone idling up there
or is it true
that it’s still raining?

We all die
so nothing ends
what a shame


You are reading a poem called circle
Hold it there
Hands off the library
Arm around the windows and the doors
Bedding into the sofa
Now you may read a poem by Ali Abdolrezaei
Please open the book
You see?
You are reading a poem called Circle
So hold it there
Take your hands off the library
Kick the door out of the house
Tumble down the stairs
In the new park or the old one behind the Town Hall
On the same bench that sent my father door to door and
stopped my mother Sit down
Tell them off those children playing ball
Now you may read a poem by Ali Abdolrezaei
Please turn the page of this gate whichever way you like
It’s a shame
You are standing at the end of a poem Called Circle


Her hands that were in the photograph
I held with both hands
When she got up she didn’t say thank you
May I walk with you?

Didn’t say no
I held her hands
we walked a picture

The one they hid in your eyes
the more I look the less I find
by the way aren’t you married?

She didn’t say
won’t you?
Didn’t say no!
We did!
Days were passing as the wind
and nights were no longer than seconds
we were two lonely photos
that the world wanted to expel from the album
Expelled! Don’t believe it?
Tonight when we’re sleeping obverse in another photo
pay that album a visit
open the fridge door in that shot and help yourself
to whatever
Sorry! we only have sausages!

Held my hands and step by step died of sorrow

Whatever I think about either isn’t or was.
Such important things!
How would the salaried truth of bureaucratic lies know?
Still, blessed are the meek

My sister who read many palms
Has another brother that I have not
My father suffers door to door by an ardour
that opened doors to these
door to door days
And my friends…

My friends?!
By the way, who were they?
Why don’t I remember?

I only worry these days about she who was
who no longer is

You alright my son? Got money? Don’t you catch cold all of a sudden. Sleeping well?

Soon as I wanted to coo out a mate
And celebrate she aged
Mother was the early seat of my voice
which as I drifted further away from became late



Foolish is the poet
who tries to pin this with the pen


When Night appeared
the frame of time when it got away was a spectacle
Facing up from the morning pillow
The day paused a little
Tomorrow didn’t know it has to come
and night that took a bite of light
fell on a piece of apple that came third in the world
Cold sound tumbled down the mountains
green clambered up the ravines
Man stuck at the cross roads, became pedestrian
in the same path that afterwards led to many
Picked the sun off heads of days one by one
and hoarded it
so when water became a deluge to
leave the ark to Noah
make the sword a bare necessity
having to discover sulphur
and gunpowder to add to life
still to make no difference

still the day comes
the night like a dark cow breaks out of the manger
the day gets lost behind a brown calf
and the nimbus that is the mother of a missing son
revolves round the sky
and keeps looking
not to find a quiet spot
to cry her heart out


This is my Mum Isn’t she beautiful?
This is my brother and this, my father
If only he knew how door to door I am now
Poor innocent thing
This one is Sara the youngest
this smiley face also…can’t remember the

Exile, exile what havoc it wreaks on the memory
She’s my eldest sister
She used to pass out laughing
when shooting pictures

I’m at a loss how these pictures of lips that have smiled
are movies of eyes that have cried
Leave it!
But how mixed up I am
Poor dear my peasant Mum
If freedom ever pays Iran a visit
You’ll become my father’s new bride
and after breakfast my sister
will burn frankincense
to smudge around my head and dispel the Devil’s eye
on my having a Leila in the night most
and my Mum while boasting
will be throwing confetti and ululating in the paddy at
the bottom of the garden
so her son may eye up the lap of this lass and be
turned on – I’m turned on
Now that we’re enthralled shoulder to shoulder in the
hall of this house
why not make believe we’re wrapped in the bliss of rice
paddies? Let go


In the sky of a town that turned so decrepit
When I put up my umbrella
I arrive at those village days
To a girl bending under the rain
Planting rice
Who abruptly became a woman
A woman in the rain still standing tall
Who said time and again to a man
Whose name she did not know
‘Why run away?
Why the umbrella?
Only iron men rust in the rain.’

Copyright © 2011 Ali Abdolrezaei



  1. excellent work, truely poetic

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