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
REVIEWS, ESSAYS, COMMENTS:
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.
This large canvas is frameless. It is surrounded by white space. Having drawn the readers’ gaze inside, towards the centre of its large canvas in order to witness and respond reflexively to the violence depicted there, the book then invites us all to move outwards, into a new, as yet unmarked page, so that we may, together, search for something new – perhaps a more just and vibrant tomorrow for Iran, and for ourselves.