Virtual Event: Niloufar Talebi in conversation with Sokunthary Svay
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Join us for an evening of conversation with writers Niloufar Talebi and Sokunthary Svay as they discuss Talebi’s memoir Self-Portrait in Bloom.
In the aftermath of World War II, “a new dynamism” was taking shape in Persian poetry. Award-winning translator Niloufar Talebi explains how Iranian poets were increasingly instrumental in”freeing Persian poetry from the state of decline and stagnation.” Into this backdrop emerges the poet Ahmad Shamlou in this part-memoir, part-biography, and part-history of literature in Iran.“There are two books in this book, one portrait of me and one of Ahmad Shamlou. And they intersect,” Talebi writes of Self-Portrait in Bloom.
Released in the 40th anniversary year of the Iranian revolution, Talebi delves deep into culture, personal history, and pays homage to Tehran, the city of her childhood. Told in fragments of prose, poetry, and photographs, this lyrical exploration reimagines the memoir form and in a dramatic climax sets free the details of a hurt that can no longer limit the blossoming of an artist.
Niloufar Talebi is an author, award-winning translator, creator, and producer. Her recent projects, both inspired by the iconic Iranian poet Ahmad Shamlou, are the memoir, Self-Portrait in Bloom, called “a hybrid wonder” by The Rumpus, and Abraham in Flames opera (composer Aleksandra Vrebalov), selected as a San Francisco Chronicles best classical and new music performances of 2019. Her TEDxBerkeley talk is “On Making Beauty After Agony.” Niloufar’s other work includes, editor/translator of Belonging: New Poetry by Iranians Around the World and its theatrical performance ICARUS/RISE, creator of The Persian Rite of Spring (LA County Museum of Art), and librettist for Fire Angels (Carnegie Hall, Cal Performances), The Plentiful Peach (Stanford Live), Epiphany (BAM), and The Investment (Kennedy Center).
About the moderator
Sokunthary Svay is a Khmer writer from the Bronx. She is poetry editor for Newtown Literary, the only literary journal for the borough of Queens, and a founding member of the Cambodian American Literary Arts Association (CALAA). She has received fellowships from the American Opera Project, Poets House, Willow Books, and CUNY. Her first collection of poetry, Apsara in New York, is available from Willow Books. She is a doctoral student in English at The Graduate Center, CUNY and teaches writing at Queens College. Her commissioned movement collaboration with Annie Heath, “This Mother/Land Fabric,” premiered at Issue Project Room and New York Live Arts’s Fresh Tracks Residency in 2019. Her first opera, Woman of Letters, in collaboration with composer Liliya Ugay, received its premiere in January 2020 at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater.