A Review of March/April WORLD LITERATURE TODAY Issue (Writing Beyond Iran)

Thanks to Daniel Simon, Managing Editor of   World Literature Today for sending me this review!

What an honor to have someone draw attention to the magazine World Literature Today--a magazine I too admire and respect for its attention to international literature, global authors, and media such as film. The issue that I edited in March/April 2015 was given a very positive review (I rarely see reviews of magazines), and I cite it here, because I do want to acknowledge, like the author of this review, that writers from Iran and those living outside of Iran, are doing important work in bridging the information (and distortion) gap about Iran. Here is the review here: http://www.thereviewreview.net/reviews/international-lit-mag-focuses-dissidents-exiles-and-

Review: ‘Tremors’, Publishers’ Weekly, February 18, 2013

Tremors: New Fiction by Iranian American Writers
Edited by Anita Amirrezvani and Persis Karim
Publish date: March 2013

Amirrezvani and Karim present a diverse view of the Iranian-American experience through the stories of 27 authors from a variety of backgrounds in this new anthology. Stories set in Iran reflect the nation’s struggles with revolution, protests, and human rights issues, while tales of Iranian immigrants in America depict the challenges of assimilation and generational clashes between traditional and modern values.

Publishers' Weekly Review of 'Tremors'

Review of Tremors, Publishers’ Weekly, February 18, 2013

Praise For: ‘Let Me Tell You Where I’ve Been: New Writing by Women of the Iranian Diaspora’

Let Me Tell You Where I’ve Been: New Writing by Women of the Iranian Diaspora
Edited by Persis M. Karim
Foreword by Al Young
Publish date: May 2006

“Since the Iranian revolution, writing by women from both inside and outside Iran has become the most interesting writing by Iranians. Women in Iran are challenged by their society to write, and those outside are driven to it by their inner needs. The present book collects 52 poems and prose pieces by women in the American Iranian diaspora. The pieces are arranged in a loose sequence of categories that suggest the experience of exile itself. Here, on the dividing line between past and future, memory and desire underlie the experience of exile and a new becoming. Memory links the writers to childhood, foods, and relations within extended families in Iran, but desire drives them to find or forge a new identity in a new culture. Many of the contributors are published writers and poets, teachers, or artists, skilled with words in their new language, and their works are often moving. Particularly fascinating are the memories of Karim (English and comparative literature, San Jose State Univ.) and of an American woman who spent nine years of her youth in Iran. Perceptive readers will also find unsettling views of the US that will challenge complacency. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-/upper-division undergraduates, graduate students. — W. L. Hanaway, emeritus, University of Pennsylvania

“Might we present this stunning collection of voices to the U.S. government?
Might this be the perfect moment for bridges of language and sensibility— delicious humanity—to define and connect us? Cast aside the grim proclamations of power and threat!
Gratitude to Persis Karim for this healing tonic of pomegranate wisdom and pleasure.” —Naomi Shihab Nye, Poet and Author of You & Yours and 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East

“In these tender and not-so-tender pages you’ll find the barely tellable story of what really happened to dreams deferred. Through the vivid, sometimes spellbinding accounts they provide, these gifted writers speak powerfully to the subject of displacement.” —Al Young, Poet Laureate of California, from the Foreword

“This is a surprising collection. . . . Persis Karim has located a community of sensitive and articulate cultural observers and mapped that explosion of creativity for us.”—Michael Beard, co-editor of Middle Eastern Literatures and author of Naguib Mahfouz: From Regional Fame to Global Recognition

“[These writings] command our attention, not only for the range of their subject matter and literary artistry, but for representing a multiplicity of voices, the newest patch in this quilt of American culture. They are allegories of our enriched nation. . . . the real thing.” —Zohreh T. Sullivan, author of Exiled Memories: Stories of Iranian Diaspora

“We have to thank Persis Karim for this wonderful book and for these powerful selections; they offer an alternative to the currently politicized and one-sided view of Iran and Iranian culture.” — Azar Nafisi, author of Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books

“Iran is a land of paradoxes. It is also undergoing a momentous and profound transformation. The delightfully diverse group of women assembled in this important and timely collection offers a panoramic view of these complex and dynamic changes. Persis Karim ought to be congratulated.” — Farzaneh Milani, author of Veils and Words: The Emerging Voices of Iranian Women Writers

 

Review: ‘Touba and the Meaning of Night’, Booklist

Touba and the Meaning of Night
by Shahrnush Parsipur
Biography by Persis Karim
Publish date: May 2006

from Booklist
First published in Iran in 1989, Parsipur’s novel carries the reader on a mystical and emotional odyssey spanning eight decades of Iranian cultural, political, and religious history. Educated by her progressive father, Touba is 12 when he dies. Her subsequent learning comes only in offhand remarks from the men in her family. Touba is intrigued by politics and her country’s struggles with British and Russian colonialism but is told that women should remain apolitical. She is drawn to Sufism but is discouraged from personal religious pursuit until her children are grown. In a resolute but never strident voice, Parsipur lets her characters–a young girl drowned by her uncle because her rape by soldiers results in pregnancy, Touba’s own daughter rendered infertile from a self-induced abortion caused by shame over her secret marriage to a servant–illuminate feminist issues both before and after the Islamic Revolution, in 1979. Replete with juxtapositions of mysticism and historical fact, Parsipur’s novel is a rewarding and enlightening encapsulation of her country’s recent past. Deborah Donovan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

 

 

Review: ‘Let Me Tell You Where I’ve Been’, San Francisco Chronicle, November 26, 2006

Let Me Tell You Where I’ve Been: New Writing by Women of the Iranian Diaspora
Edited by Persis M. Karim
Foreword by Al Young
Publish date: May 2006

When novelist Alice Walker appears Wednesday night at the “Enemy Nations, Emerging Voices” event in San Francisco, she’ll be participating in a movement of writers, artists, intellectuals and others urging Americans to look beyond the political epithets thrown at Iran, North Korea and other “evil” countries.

San Francisco Chronicle article, 'Let Me Tell You Where I've Been', November 16, 2006

San Francisco Chronicle article (November 26, 2006)
‘Emerging Voices’ transcend politics/Hearing top artists from ‘evil’ countries
Jonathan Curiel, Chronicle Staff Writer

Review: ‘Let Me Tell You Where I’ve Been’, Amazon.com, August 2006

Let Me Tell You Where I’ve Been: New Writing by Women of the Iranian Diaspora
Edited by Persis M. Karim
Foreword by Al Young
Publish date: May 2006

Amazon.com review
Midwest Book Review (Oregon, WI USA), August 2006
“Let Me Tell You Where I’ve Been: Let Me Tell You Where I’ve Been: New Writing By Women of the Iranian Diaspora” is a totally new first anthology of writing by women of the Iranian diaspora. Revealing unique outlooks in a formerly male dominated, patriarchal literary tradition, these vivid works of poetry, fiction and nonfiction give authentic artistic voice to the silence of the veil stereotype frequently perceived by the West. Over one hundred selections are presented by more than fifty authors, some famous and some unknown. Two thirds of the works are previously unpublished. The authors selected are a diverse group who represent a cross section, or a complex community of intelligent, sensitive, articulate women in a rapidly changing world. The voices of these writers have been named “Allegories of our enriched nation… the real thing,” by Zohreh T. Sullivan, author of “Exiled Memories: Stories of the Iranian Diaspora.” A list of the contributors include Tara Bahrampour, Susan Atefat-Peckham, Firoozeh Dumas, Farnoosh Moshiri, Azadeh Moaveni, and other less familiar writers such as Leyla Momeny, Gelareh Asayesh, Niloofar Kalaam, and Farnaz Fatemi. Certainly many kudos are owed to Professor Persis Karim, teacher of English and comparative literature at San Jose State University, for amassing this wondrous, stunning collection. The selections are organized by theme into six different main areas: Home Stories, For Tradition, Woman’s Duty, Axis of Evil, Beyond, and Tales Left Untold Subjects include differentiating dual and multi-cultural identities, sexuality, love, traditional expectation and its failure, politics, gender, blood and suffering, and the desperate poignancy of silence. There is so much to absorb in this collection, it is so very rich. It is certainly a fragrant beginning to enable Western to grasp the barest outlines of the complexity and courage of these women and their worlds and cultures. It is impossible to read any part of this book and come away unchanged. “But she wants to step into/the whiteness of this inferno/and search Madison/for someone in his life/with the power to change him:/daughter, father, wife./She would become that person/undress him in the daytime/stand naked in front of him./say, look at what we’ve wrapped in./See this soft scraped creamy dark thing? It/s life.” Farnaz Fatemi (p. 240)

Review: ‘Let Me Tell You Where I’ve Been’, Library Journal, July 2006

Let Me Tell You Where I’ve Been: New Writing by Women of the Iranian Diaspora
Edited by Persis M. Karim
Foreword by Al Young
Publish date: May 2006

from Library Journal, July 2006
This deep, emotional anthology of poetry, essays, and memoirs edited by Karim (English & Comparative Literature, San Jose State University, CA; co-editor, A World Between: Poems, Short Stories, and Essays by Iranian-Americans) represents the growth women’s writing that occurred after the Iranian revolution. The more than 100 selections–most never before published–are organized around six general themes: home and away, family and tradition, gender, politics, love, and silence. They describe the insights of exile, the immigrant experience, and the gripping emotions of the powerful events that sent Iranians to the United States in the 1980s. The rich poetry covers such topics as family traditions, the war in Iraq, and the anxiety and lure of returning to the homeland as well as the difficulty of living there. This vast and compelling collection includes contributions from some 50 accomplished writers, among them Susan Atefat-Peckham and Nika Khanjani. It will offer readers a moving portrait of the Iranian American experience and the hope of possibilities that can lie within a new culture. Recommended for larger public libraries and academic libraries. ~Susan McClellan, Avalon P.L. Pittsburgh