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