Portrait of an Iconoclast

In Jasmin Darznik’s Song of a Captive Bird, she explores the life of Forugh Farrokzhad, one of the great Iranian poets of the 20th century. Farrokzhad’s poetry is known for its simplicity, fierceness, and boldness. At a time when women were expected to be silent, Farrokzhad unapologetically wrote about women’s desires and emotions. She often criticized and challenged the patriarchal attitudes of contemporary Iranian society.

As someone who was personally inspired by Farrokzhad’s writings, Jasmin Darznik presents a well-researched, fictionalized account of Forugh Farrokzhad’s life story. In the author’s note, she mentioned “embracing the unique power of fiction to illuminate the past.” Darznik does more. She takes the reader into Iran, with its rich culture and history, and presents the powerful story of Forugh Farrokzhad, who in life was as unyielding and bold as her poetry, and just as complex.

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