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Tajik Poetry: Flute Player and Must Escape by Farzaneh Khojandi

Featuring: Narguess Farzad, Jo Shapcott, Farzaneh Khojandi

Translated by Narguess Farzad with Jo Shapcott

Born in the remote Khojand province of Tajikistan in 1964, Farzaneh Khojandi is widely regarded as the most exciting woman poet writing in Persian today and has a huge following in Iran and Afghanistan as well as in Tajikistan, where she is simply regarded as the country's foremost living writer. Her frequently playful and witty poetry draws on the rich tradition of Persian literature in an often subversive and humorous way. 

Khojandi was translated by Narguess Farzad, Senior Lecturer, Persian Studies, at SOAS and Chair of Centre for Iranian Studies WITH the UK poet Jo Shapcott, who has won a number of literary prizes including the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Collection, the Forward Prize for Best Collection and the National Poetry Competition.

Persian poetry is rightly famed for the richness of its heritage and many classical Persian poets, such as Rumi and Hafez, are famous across the world. But little is known about how contemporary Persian-language poets have continued to enrich and enliven their tradition, a gap that the PTC sought to fill in its early days translating Persian poets working within the local variations of Dari spoken in Afghanistan, Farsi from Iran and Tajik from Tajikistan.