In the News
PEN American Center, The New York Review of Books and 92nd Street Y Unterberg Poetry Center present
With Shaul Bakhash, Roger Cohen, Haleh Esfandiari, and Karim Sadjadpour
Wednesday, July 15, 200, 7 PM
92nd Street Y Unterberg Poetry Center, 1395 Lexington Avenue at 92nd Street
Subway: 4/5/6 to 86th Street
TICKETS: $15/$8 for students with ID and PEN members
www.smarttix.com or call 212-868-4444
A new radio show discussing the poetry of Li-Young Lee, Naomi Ayala, and BELONGING: New Poetry by Iranians Around the World by Niloufar Talebi
Memory of a Phoenix Feather: Iranian Storytelling Traditions and Contemporary Theater, an article by Niloufar Talebi in the July/August 2009 issue of World Literature Today.
Naghali Then and Now
A brief history on the story-telling tradition in Iran and how it has evolved:Naghali, Pardeh-dari, Pardeh-khaani, Ghavali (minstrelsy), Shahnameh-khaani, are Iranian story-telling traditions, practiced usually in the streets and coffee houses, story-teller titles varying according to their style of story-telling and the subject matter of the stories told. Pardeh-dari and Pardeh-khaani are visual forms of story-telling done before a big cloth or canvas (pardeh) hung in a square, or the walls of a tea of coffee house, painted on which are the events of the story being told, which the story-teller would refer to during their recounting.
Coffee house paintings are Iranian-style paintings, in the tradition of miniatures, but with European techniques and material, oil on canvas or cloth, which people in the streets and bazaars started to develop about 80 years ago. This was an attempt to distance art from royal courts and bring it into the hands of the people. Unknown artists who had gained experience in tile paintings, were inspired to create simple images on coffee house walls by the work of story-tellers and Shahnameh-khaans (those reciting the Book of Kings by Ferdowsi, which is in 50,000 couplets, and contains the history and epics of the Persian people from the Creation up to roughly the 7th C. before the Arab/Islamic invasion).
Our work is inspired by Iranian story-telling traditions. We perform new and contemporary Iranian poetry as our content, in both the Persian original and English translation. We also use multimedia video projections to create our Pardehs, and bring in other artists such as dancers and musicians on stage. We hope that this theatrical/literary tradition can find a place in American mainstream arts one day. To read about multimedia shows, ICARUS/RISE, and Persian Rite of Spring, scroll down and visit links about the making of the show, the collaborative artists, and view youtube clips.
on the subject of Naghali and Iranian story-telling
Niloufar Talebi appears on the Leonard Lopate show on WNYC 93.9 FM in NYC.
Article by Niloufar Talebi in Tehran Bureau about Iranian literature in English translation.
‘Talebi addresses the state of writing in Iran’ – Iranian Literary Arts Festival in the SF Examiner
(content coming back soon)
Write up in Perspective Magazine by Roxanne Rashedi (Fall 2008, pg. 18-19)
University of Rochester’s ‘Three Percent’ reviews BELONGING: New Poetry by Iranians Around the World (North Atlantic Books, Aug 2008)
Interview with Suzi Khatami of KIRN670AM’s ‘Live From Hollywood’ on August 27, 2008.
Interview with J.P. Dancing Bear on Cupertino/Santa Clara’s KKUP poetry show, Out of Our Minds, on August 20, 2008. Audio coming soon.
Fast forward (box in the right column) to 32:00 minutes to hear Niloufar Talebi read from BELONGING: New Poetry by Iranians Around the world on BlogTalkRadio, hosted by Rafael F.J. Alvarado & Shaindel Beers. (first 32 minutes are William O Daly, Translator of Pablo Neruda’s “Hands Of The Day”)
“Longing for the past, yet belonging to the present” by Omid Memarian, for Inter Press Service
The September issue of 7 X 7 Magazine calls our project as “Most Likely to Make You Want to Learn Farsi”, pg. 217
A 1-hour interview with 670 am KIRN about The Translation Project and our events at the OC Mehregan. Audio download of the interview coming soon.
A new rule is issued by OFAC.
Pen American Center’s updated website.
You can also view the original September 2003 OFAC ruling text by scrolling down to RELEVANT OFAC RULING and clicking on appropriate dates.
Scott Martelle, staff writer of the LA times and AP journalist, wrote U.S. Government Moves to Muzzle Dissident Voices on 12/07/04.
Denied the right to publish in the US, 2003 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Shirin Ebadi, joins Pen American Center and others in the battle against OFAC.
is the title of the article posted on AlterNet.org about TTP.
The Treasury Dept.’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) reconsiders its earlier declaration to control the editing, translation and publishing of written work from countries under U.S. economic sanctions. New York Press reports.
Read about recent rules and regulations on treating writing submitted to US publishers from countries under a trade embargo.
The New YorK Times abstract. Below is the entire article:
Treasury Department Is Warning Publishers of the Perils of Criminal Editing of the Enemy
February 28, 2004
By ADAM LIPTAK
Writers often grumble about the criminal things editors do to their prose. The federal government has recently weighed in on the same issue – literally.
It has warned publishers they may face grave legal consequences for editing manuscripts from Iran and other disfavored nations, on the ground that such tinkering amounts to trading with the enemy.
Anyone who publishes material from a country under a trade embargo is forbidden to reorder paragraphs or sentences, correct syntax or grammar, or replace “inappropriate words,” according to several advisory letters from the
Treasury Department in recent months.
Adding illustrations is prohibited, too. To the baffled dismay of publishers, editors and translators who have been briefed about the policy, only publication of “camera-ready copies of manuscripts” is allowed.
The Treasury letters concerned Iran. But the logic, experts said, would seem to extend to Cuba, Libya, North Korea and other nations with which most trade is banned without a government license.
Laws and regulations prohibiting trade with various nations have been enforced for decades, generally applied to items like oil, wheat, nuclear reactors and, sometimes, tourism. Applying them to grammar, spelling and punctuation is an
infuriating interpretation, several people in the publishing industry said.
“It is against the principles of scholarship and freedom of expression, as well as the interests of science, to require publishers to get U.S. government permission to publish the works of scholars and researchers who happen to live in
countries with oppressive regimes,” said Eric A. Swanson, a senior vice president at John Wiley & Sons, which publishes scientific, technical and medical books and journals.
Nahid Mozaffari, a scholar and editor specializing in literature from Iran, called the implications staggering. “A story, a poem, an article on history, archaeology,
linguistics, engineering, physics, mathematics, or any other area of knowledge cannot be translated, and even if submitted in English, cannot be edited in the U.S.,” she said.
“This means that the publication of the PEN Anthology of Contemporary Persian Literature that I have been editing for the last three years,” she said, “would constitute aiding and abetting the enemy.”
Allan Adler, a lawyer with the Association of American Publishers, said the trade group was unaware of any prosecutions for criminal editing. But he said the mere
fact of the rules had scared some publishers into rejecting works from Iran.
Lee Tien, a lawyer with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a civil liberties group, questioned the logic of making editors a target of broad regulations that require a government license.
“There is no obvious reason why a license is required to edit where no license is required to publish,” he said. “They can print anything as is. But they can’t correct typos?”
In theory – almost certainly only in theory – correcting typographical errors and performing other routine editing could subject publishers to fines of $500,000 and 10 years in jail.
“Such activity,” according to a September letter from the department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, “would constitute the provision of prohibited services to Iran.”
Tara Bradshaw, a Treasury Department spokeswoman, confirmed the restrictions on manuscripts from Iran in a statement. Banned activities include, she wrote, “collaboration on and editing of the manuscripts, the selection of reviewers, and
facilitation of a review resulting in substantive enhancements or alterations to the manuscripts.”
She did not respond to a request seeking an explanation of the department’s reasoning.
Congress has tried to exempt “information or informational materials” from the nation’s trade embargoes. Since 1988, it has prohibited the executive branch from interfering “directly or indirectly” with such trade. That exception is
known as the Berman Amendment, after its sponsor, Representative Howard L. Berman, a California Democrat.
Critics said the Treasury Department had long interpreted the amendment narrowly and grudgingly. Even so, Mr. Berman said, the recent letters were “a very bizarre interpretation.”
“It is directly contrary to the amendment and to the intent of the amendment,” he said. “I also don’t understand why it’s not in our interest to get information into Iran.”
Kenneth R. Foster, a professor of bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania, said the government had grown insistent on the editing ban. “Since 9/11 and since the Bush administration took office,” he said, “the Treasury Department has been ramping up enforcement.”
Publishers may still seek licenses from the government that would allow editing, but many First Amendment specialists said that was an unacceptable alternative.
“That’s censorship,” said Leon Friedman, a Hofstra law professor who sometimes represents PEN. “That’s a prior restraint.”
Esther Allen, chairwoman of the PEN American Center’s translation committee, said the rules would also appear to ban translations. “During the cold war, the idea was to let voices from behind the Iron Curtain be heard,” she said. “Now that’s called trading with the enemy?”
In an internal legal analysis last month, the publishers’ association found that the regulations “constitute a serious threat to the U.S. publishing community in general and to scholarly and scientific publishers in particular.” Mr. Adler, the association’s lawyer, said it was trying to persuade officials to alter the regulations and might file a legal challenge.
These days, journals published by the engineering institute reject manuscripts from Iran that need extensive editing and run a disclaimer with those they accept, said Michael R. Lightner, the institute vice president responsible for
publications. “It tells readers,” he said, “that the article did not get the final polish we would like.”