illustrated, colour, bilingual edition
Political Prisoners | Iran | Poetry ISBN 978-1-77525672-4
Written in the wake of the 1980s massacres of political prisoners in Iran, Lives Lost: In Search of a New Tomorrow insists on the work of memory, critical thought, and imagination to resist the 'forgetting' forged by violence. Saeed Yousef's acerbic, moving, and defiant quatrains, based on eyewitness accounts, subvert the classical form of the Persian rubā'ī to testify to State atrocities.
This multi-genre, bilingual edition introduces Yousef's historically significant poem to non-Persian speaking readers for the first time. Ahad Bahadori's attentive translation, Ava Raha's surrealist illustrations, and Dr. Shahrzad Mojab's illuminating Foreword offer valuable perspectives on the poem and the role of resistance poetry in the aftermath of the Iranian Revolution.
"Lives Lost: In Search of a New Tomorrow reminds us of our collective responsibility to disturb silences and unsettle complicities with regimes of terror. Read this poem as a call for solidarity to abolish prison, torture, and execution anywhere in this world." — from the Foreword by Shahrzad Mojab
This illustrated, and meticulously edited edition manages to pay great tribute to the poem and creates something that is greater than all its parts. It seems wrong to step back from the history explored here, but when you do, this is a book that is enchanting, poetically provoking, and powerful. The labour of love here has perhaps inadvertently and counterintuitively created a strangely beautiful thing from the seeds of tyranny.
David Rudd-Mitchell, Wasafiri
Lives Lost: In Search of a New Tomorrow is a perfect reminder of the need for solidarity to abolish torture and execution around the world. The arresting, surreal illustrations and the gravity of the topic make the collection a worthwhile read.
Ava Homa, Herizons
In Lives Lost, it is the dead who narrate. The poem’s heroes are talking not from the safe harbor of an imagined afterlife but via the blunt expressivity of their new corpsification, their exposed, irrefutable materiality, just as their wills that said no also remain.
In Ava Raha’s haunting illustrations, rosy blood splashes and pools, but the figures of the executed refuse to dissolve.
Lives Lost: In Search of a New Tomorrow connects the past and the present of Iran. It allows us, as readers, to connect the 1980’s massacre of Iranian political prisoners to the repression of protesters in 2009 and 2019, alongside the downing of the Ukrainian airplane in Tehran – bringing these disparate events together as moving parts of the same larger tragedy.
Interview: Shahrzad Mojab on Talking Radical Radio