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Lecture/Presentation/Talk

Lecture and Reading: Haleh Liza Gafori (Vocalist, Poet, Educator) "Rumi"

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Gafori will lecture and recite Rumi's poetry from her translation, Gold. About her work translating Rumi, she notes, “The languages of Farsi and English possess quite different poetic resources and habits. In English, it is impossible to reproduce the rich interplay of sound and rhyme (internal as well as terminal) and the wordplay that characterize and even drive Rumi’s poems. Meanwhile, the tropes, abstractions, and hyperbole that are so abundant in Persian poetry contrast with the spareness and concreteness characteristic of poetry in English, especially in the modern tradition. I have sought to honor the demands of contemporary American poetry and conjure its music while, I hope, carrying over the whirling movement and leaping progression of thought and imagery in Rumi’s poetry… I have chosen poems that seem to me beautiful, meaningful, and central to Rumi’s vision, poems that I felt I could successfully translate and that speak to our times.”

Haleh Liza Gafori is a translator, vocalist, poet, and composer born in NYC of Persian descent. Her acclaimed book, Gold (New York Review Books Classics/Penguin Random House, 2022), features her translations of poems by Rumi, the 13th century sage and mystic. Supported by a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts, Gafori has created a cross-media performance piece based on the book, weaving translations, original text, and musical compositions sung in Persian and English. Gafori’s work has been published by Columbia University Press, Harvard Review, Literary Hub, Hyperallergic, The Marginalian, and elsewhere. She has presented lectures, workshops, and performance pieces at universities and festivals across the country and abroad, including Stanford University, Swarthmore College, Lincoln Center, the New York Public Library, and Bradford Literary Fest.

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