Behbahani, Simin

Behbahani, Simin,

1927–2014, Iranian poet and political activist, b. Tehran as Siminbar Khalili. The daughter of intellectuals, she studied law at the Univ. of Tehran, then worked as a teacher of science and literature for many years. Behbahani often wrote ghazals, a traditional short poetic form consisting of couplets and often understood mystically, in which traditionally a man speaks of his love for an absent woman. In Behbahani's ghazals the woman is the speaker. Her more than 600 poems cover a range of topics, including the Iranian political system, social justice, women's issues, and freedom of expression. Many of her poems were set to music, and she also composed lyrics for popular songs. Some of her best-known collections in Farsi are Negareye Golgoon [rose-colored pictures] (1998) and Tazetarinha [the latest] (2008); her collected poems were published in Fari in 2009. Selected poems have been translated into English in A Cup of Sin (1999), Maybe It's the Messiah (2004, in Farsi and English), and My Country I Shall Build You Again (2009).