An evening with Matthew Dickman and Ali Taghdarreh, a visiting writer from Iran and the first person to translate Thoreau’s Walden into Persian.
The evening includes a reading by Matthew Dickman and Ali Taghdarreh, followed by a conversation between the two poets.
Taghdarreh has spent ten years translating one of the most subtle and difficult texts of American literature. He had no opportunity to leave the city of Tehran and its population of almost 20 million people. He bought a $1 pocket radio. He says, “I will never forget the voice of Phillip Irwin on Voice of America.” At the end of each broadcast Irwin would end with a quotation from a famous American. Because radio signals were often jammed, Ali would record the broadcasts and listen to the quotations many times and memorize them. He did not know that one of the quotations he liked enough to memorize had been written by Henry David Thoreau.When he began translating Walden he had already heard the resonance between Thoreau’s words and the words of the Persian poets that had been part of his life since early childhood.
Matthew Dickman is the author of All-American Poem (American Poetry Review/ Copper Canyon Press, 2008), Mayakovsky’s Revolver (WW Norton & Co, 2012) and has co-written along with his brother 50 American Plays (Copper Canyon Press, 2012). The recipient of The Honickman First Book Prize, The May Sarton Award from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Kate Tufts Award from Claremont College, and the Stafford/Hall Award for poetry from the Oregon Book Awards. He is the poetry editor for Tin House Magazine.
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