8/01/2007

Khosrow va Shirin

Today is a very happy day for me. I am going to my Persian Poetry class in Berkeley. Our teacher, Professor Zari Taheri, who now lives and teaches in Japan, returns to her alma mater, Berkeley, where she taught Persian literature for many years after graduation. Each summer she returns to the San Francisco Bay Area to teach a poetry class. Last summer I attended her class, Shaeran-e-doreh-mashrooteh. Her classes only run for six weeks and they end abruptly, just as you are warming up to them! She is a delightful (and very beautiful) woman, an accomplished scholar, and is a joy to listen to and learn from. I am taking three of my friends with me to this class this summer, and I will meet up with my many wonderful friends with whom I have kept contact since the last class.
This smmer we will study Nezami Ganjavi's Khosrow va Shirin. I am so excited to be reading Nezami. He is the ultimate storyteller (no offense to those who love Ferdowsi more than Nezami--I love Nezami not so much for his "epic" portrayal of scenes, but for the romantic ways in which he describes the relationship between this man and woman.) There are parts of Khosrow va Shirin which are defined in extremely elaborate erotic details, while in others, feelings are expressed in unique and poignant ways. I think Khosrow va Shirin is the most romantic story ever told, again, not becaus of the love story itself, but because of the way Nezami tells it. For the next several weeks, each week I will tell you what I learned in class, if it is report-worthy.
The above miniature is from the Shah Tahmasb Khamseh Nezami, which is kept in the British Library in London. It shows the scene where Khosrow Parviz's portrait is shown to poor Shirin for the first time (by Shapoor), making her fall in love with this mysterious handsome stranger! Just writing these words makes me so impatient for the class! (Source Encyclopedia Britanica)

23 comments:

Siah said...

All my friends tell me I should move to California, now I see why!

Its really sad that in our state the only Iranians I know are car dealers and the Iranian gatherings we attend are mostly grand openings for new car lots. you cannot imagine how depressing it is.


its really interesting that you have lived here for many years and write good English and still like to attend Persian literature classes. why don't you start a Persian weblog. I'm sure many people would love to read these delicate stories in farsi (including myself)

Be good Nazy jaan :)

nimshab said...

Nazy joon enjoy your time. I love persian poems. I wont be able to make it tonight because I have my music class on Wednesdays. Keep us posted though.

jeerjeerak said...

Salam Nazy khanoom:)

I went to a play based on Nezami's Haft-Peykar in Chicago. "Mirror Of The Invisible World" by Mary Zimmerman. I really enjoyed it.

shawhin said...

ayval - I'm dying for a class like that. Is this offered in the evenings by any chance? Can you pass on some more info - i.e. how to attend (I also live in berkeley).
mamnoon

SERENDIP said...

I took an Iranian literature class (only for one quater) at UCLA as an undergrad to fulfill some elective requirements. We studied "Moosh and gorbeh"(The mouse and the cat)and some other Middle Iranian (This is a period where the feminine and masculine was eliminated from the persian language). I wish I was more inquiring about this magnificent history but back then, almost 13 years ago, I was into Dragon flies, genetics, and cultural anthropology...LOL

Do

مانا said...

نازی جون.چه کلاس هیجان انگیزی پیش رو دارین.امیدوارم لذت ببرین و برای ما هم تعریف کنین.شما عالی تعریف می کنین

Nazy said...

Siah Jan, Salam. Boy, I was gone for a few hours, and my blog had such wonderful visitors and such great comments! I am delighted you came by. Yes, the San Francisco Bay Area is a good place to live as an Iranian, because it is close to so many cultural centers. Being close to a university town is also a blessing, as I'm sure you would agree even in your nick of the woods. Bereley is a fabulous place to be for those who wish to experience the mutli-cultural events and opportunities it offers. I should also add that what you experience with some of your Iranian neighbors, is not anything new to me. Even with the fantastic opportunities to attend lectures, concerts, films, and classes in Berkeley, some days I am so disappointed to see so few Iranians who are closer in age to me. I don't complain about it too openly (I recently wrote a piece about it and deleted it) because it would be too offensive to some of my dearest and oldest friends to hear the criticism. For the willing and able participant, I would have to agree with you, this is the place to be.

My Farsi skill are rusty, but I would love to write some Farsi posts some days. I have every intention of trying it when I can get my software situation sorted out early this Fall. Be good my friend.

Nazy said...

Nimeh Shab Jan: It is a fantastic class! We had close to 30 people there tonight. Zari Taheri is a gifted woman and some class participants (and I'm not one of them!) are literary experts themselves, so the exchanges and side discussions are also fascinating. I was glad to see that the friends I had taken were not disappointed. We looked at Farhad and the "relationship" Khosrow Parviz feels with him. Isn't that incredible? We never think of Khosrow and Farhad! Amazing. Take care.

Nazy said...

Jeerjeerak Jan, Salam. Welcome to my humble abode! Nezami's fascinating characteristic is that he sees his characters as human-beings, capable of love, lust, wisdom, kindness, jealousy, and other less-than-spiritual qualities. In his beautiful yet humble portrayal of Khosrow Parviz as a prince, a king, a husband, and a lover, we see a complete picture of a human being a lot closer to us than some of the other characters depicted in Iranian poetry and literature. I'm glad Nezami is being explored by non-Iranian artists and audiences. He does have stories to tell. Thanks for coming my friend and come again.

Nazy said...

Salam Bar Shawhin! A neighbor visits my blog--I am so touched! The classes started last week and they move rather quickly in view of the short time. So, please don't miss the next class if you want to join. You won't regret it. It meets on the second floor of Barrows Hall (forgot the room number, but you can't miss it, as there is so much noise and traffic there by fellow-Iranians at a time when no other lectures are in session.). It meets at 7:00 p.m. and runs until 9:00 on Wednesdays through the month of August. We have a tea break in the middle, which is lovingly supplied by Dr. Taheri herself, complete with Shirazi Masghati which she makes for us! Come a little earlier to feel more at home by 7:00. Come back and visit me again soon, too.

Nazy said...

Greetings to Serendip!

Obeid Zakani's Moosh-o-Gorbeh is a gem of Iranian literature. I would like to know more about the no-gender era of Farsi literature. Sounds fascinating.

The perfectionist scientist in you is too hard on you, Serendip! A travelling saleswoman, selling reference books for very young children once explained to me that in a child's life, there are "teachable moments," signified by when a child asks a question. If you supply an answer at that moment or close to it, you will manage to increase his/her knowledge and her attention span at optimum levels (hence the pitch for buying books which would help me answer those questions--I succumbed!).

I think there are "teachable moments" throughout our lives. Subjects which are considered trivial or of no significance in one period of our lives, could turn into important and urgent questions at other times. There was a time I didn't think much of many things Iranian. Only in recent years have I found the "moment" to ask questions about them and to learn them. Be happy Serendip.

Nazy said...

Beautiful Mana: Thank you for coming by. You are kind, as usual. You guys will be so sick of me and Khosrow, Farhad, and Shirin by the time my classes are over! If you find the time in your busy schedule, I recommend you read the book "Two Women" (Do Zan) by zendehyad Saeedi Sirjani. He does a masterful job of analyzing Nezami's two female characters, Shirin and Leili. Be good Mana Jan, and thank you for your post.

Anonymous said...

what a pity ,it isn't so close to me for attending in that class,
I would like to be there,
but as you told us about khosroo and shirin, i gotta read that, I haven't had chance to read that masterpeice yet!
have fun nazy jan.
bayram

Nazy said...

Salam Bar Aghaye Bayramali!

I, too, wish you and Mehran and Leva could come to class. We would build our "gang" and have a good time! Don't miss Khosrow va Shirin Bayram. If for no other reason, it would make an excellent conversation piece, as no one who has read it is indifferent to it. Be good my friend.

parsa said...

dost aziz.man bedon ejazeaton shoma ro link kardam.besyar az khonadan weblogeton khoahshal misham chon age hich fayede nadashte bashe ke dare.hadaghal zabanam khob mishe.dost aziz man dar talasham ke ba khonadan ketab haie jadid va ashnaiee ba dostan jadid mesle toye bozorgavr sorate roshdam ro dar tamam abaade zendegi ziad konam.azaton ye khahesh daram age momkene man ro link konid manoneton misham.man alan dar ye vazziat rohi badfi be sar mibaram.adres weblogam:
www.parsa1986.blogfa.com
manon az vaghti ke sarf krdi

Assal said...

Nazy Joonam:

I am so interested to learn about your weekly lessons. I was introduced to parts of Khosrow and Shirin by my WONDERFUL Farsi Class Teacher in the East Bay! He is a wonderful man and we also studied parts of the Shahnameh with him as well.

Is your class conducted entirely in English, with translations of the text, or in Farsi?

Also, a question for Serendip: Who was your Iranian Lit professor at UCLA? I graduated in 2005 and took several Iranian history and lit classes as electives...

shawhin said...

Nazy - kheyli mamnoon as peyghaamet. This is very exciting! My wife and I are really hoping to be able to attend.

baaz ham mamnoon.

Nazy said...

Assal Jan. Guess what? Your wonderful Farsi teacher is in my poetry class! He is one of those other students I mentioned earlier, who participate in making the class very interesting. You really should come!

Nazy said...

Dear Shawhin. See you and Mrs. Shawhin in class!

Nazy said...

Salam Bar Aghaye Parsa: Az inkeh be didane man amadid az shoma mamnoonam. Az link-e shoma ham mamnoonam. Parsa Jan, man hatman be weblog-e shoma sar mizanam. Merci keh amadid. Omidvaram zendegie shoma har rooz behtar beshavad va har noe bohrani ra keh dari bezoodi poshte sar begozari. Zendegi aslan asan nist Parsa Jan, amma bayad biamoozim chegooneh behtarin natayej ra az hamani keh dar ekhtiare ma gharar dadeh shodeh be dast biavarim. Shad bashid. Zemnan: Learning English is a very good idea my friend. It will enable you to access other sources of information and other people all over the world.

serendip said...

Assal Jan: I think it was Mr.ziaie or something with a z in it. And my TA was an Afghani gentleman, whom I really liked because he helped me write my essay on music of that era. Do you happen to know his name?

shawhin said...

Nazy - the class was heaven. I'm bummed that tonight's class will be the last... but I can't thank you enough for the info.

Nazy said...

Shawhin Jan: You came to class! Why didn't you make yourself known my friend? Now I'm bummed out that I didn't recognize you! I'm really embarrassed now.