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This book provides a sampling of poems written in exile from 1986 to 1994, drawn from my previous books, "After the Silence," "Sorrow of the Border," and 'Poems of Venice." It covers both periods of my life in America, when I was still rummaging in the ruins of the lost revolution in my homeland, Iran, and when I finally came to terms with my new situation in Los Angeles. A postscript added to the poems describes these changes in detail.
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The poetry of "Muddy Shoes" is born of great suffering yet affirms deep dignity and respect for that wider experience of the world, brought here through danger and carved out of solitude and reflection. Tragically, we are seldom allowed to hear or see such things, blocked from sensing the reality of other countries, knowledges, forms of speech; when these are allowed in or come in, they are, without recourse, smoothed out, conquered if you will, without mercy.
Naficy, as a poet of Los Angeles, suggests a new route, and this one to freedom. Is it Los Angeles that has enabled a writer to deal with such issues esthetically, and with such determination? Is this special impetus capable perhaps of being born only here? Privacy and separateness preserve the otherness and beauty necessary for culture, but they also propel the meaningfulness of speech. Naficy brings these as a gift, together and simultaneously, to the table of our common language.
Who but a poet could halt devouring movement or place into motion inert rock? By being wiling to come forth in an unorthodox way, and speak of things so alienable in a life rendered fast and hollow, Naficy exemplifies a new attentiveness, a new fearlessness. The world is far bigger than "America," and, absolutely, Los Angeles. The poet shows a way to attend to this world we as a plural people embody and inhabit, yet seemingly have forgotten to heed.About the Author:
Majid Nafici was born in Iran in 1953. His first collection of poems in Persian, "in the Tiger's Skin," was published in 1969. One year later his book of literary criticism, "Poertry As a Structure," appeared. In 1971 he wrote a children's book, "The Secret of Words," which won a national award in Iran. In the seventies, Majid was politically active against the Shah's regime; after the 1979 revolution, the new regime began to suppress the opposition, and many people, including his first wife, Ezzat Tabaeyan, and brother Sa'id, were executed. He fled Iran in 1983 and spent a year and a half in Turkey and France. Majid then settled in Los Angeles where he lives with his son, Azad. He has since published three collections of poems, "After the Silence," "Sorrow of the Border," and "Poems of Venice," as well as a book of essays called "In Search of Joy: A Critique of Male-Dominated, Death-Oriented Culture in Iran," all in Persian. He holds his doctorate in Near Eastern L! anguages and Cultures from the University of California at Los Angeles. Majid is currently a co-editor of "Daftarhaye Shabaneh," a Persian literary journal published in Los Angeles. Majid's doctoral dissertation, "Modernism and Ideology in Persian Literature: A Return to Nature in the Poetry of Nima Yushij," was published by University Press of America, Inc. in October 1997.
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