As a young girl reeling from the revolution in Iran in 1979, author Roya Hakakian discovered the great Persian poet Ahmad Shamlou. His poems made her realize the importance of breaking from tradition. Has a poem ever changed your thinking this way? Tell us in the comments.
The United States, along with five other world powers, has signed an agreement with Iran over its controversial nuclear program. What do Iranian expatriates in America think of the deal, which would temporarily ease western sanctions? Host Michel Martin speaks to human rights activist Sussan Tahmasebi and writer Roya Hakakian.
Poet Roya Hakakian is both Iranian and Jewish, and in an op-ed in Sunday’s New York Times, she argues that the two nations share an intertwined history that should discourage the prospect of war. Host Scott Simon speaks with Hakakian, author of Land of No, about the looming possibility of war between Iran and Israel.
On Sept. 17, 1992, a group of Iranian and Kurdish opposition leaders were assassinated in a Greek restaurant in Berlin. Despite pressures to keep the investigation at the lowest possible level, a German prosecutor unraveled a tangle of threads that led to Iran’s Supreme Leader himself. Host Scott Simon speaks with Roya Hakakian, author of the new book,Assassins of the Turquoise Palace.
When Roya Hakakian moved from Iran to the U.S., she didn’t think any poet in her adopted country could top the ones whose work she grew up with. But then she discovered a piece that blew away her prejudices. It was “My Papa’s Waltz” by Theodore Roethke.
Iranian-born commentator Roya Hakakian remembers the daunting goal she set for herself — becoming a writer in English. Although nervous about her command of our language, Hakakian signed up for a poetry class with beat generation poet Allen Ginsberg at Brooklyn College. Hakakian was delighted when Ginsberg trashed her first writing sample as riddled with “clichés” and “overused adjectives.” She was thrilled to have mastered the trite phrase.
Commentator Roya Hakakian remembers protesting in front of the American Embassy in Iran during the 1980 hostage crisis. She was a teenager at the time and now ponders the fate of today’s Iranian youth.
Scott Simon speaks with author Roya Hakakian about the widespread prayer vigils she’s encouraging for Neda Agha Soltan, the woman whose death on the streets of Tehran was captured on a cell phone video camera. Hakakian also discusses the role of women in Iranian political movements.
As the Bush administration keeps up a steady drumbeat of warnings to Iran not to develop nuclear weapons, commentator Roya Hakakian reflects on the nuclear rivalry between Iran and Israel. As a Jew born in Iran, she finds this confrontation deeply disturbing. Hakakian is the author of the memoir Journey from the Land of No: A Girlhood Caught in Revolutionary Iran.
An audience poll to select the 100 best young adult books coughed up 75,000 voters and just two books with non-white protagonists. Even a winning writer complained. Kill the judges? No, the enemy is us. Book editors ask for a solution.