I guess these days we have much greater opportunities to meet a much wider range of people, and not only meet them as in bump into them face to face, but to ‘meet’ in a virtual way. Through my love of music, in particular the Mavericks (yes, I have to give them a mention!) I have met many people on-line… some I have gone on to meet in real life and it’s a great thrill to actually do so.

There is another sort of ‘meeting’, and that is when you read about people, maybe people who are no longer alive, but you read their words, or you read about them, and become close – only in your own mind, obviously! These days we have access to a wonderful wide community and just as in real life when you bump into a stranger and get to know them, you can have chance encounters right here.

I was looking at what different people had been sharing on Twitter, and stopped to look at an image of a beautiful young woman and a card or postcard with some writing in a script I couldn’t read but I guessed to be Farsi or Persian. The comment was ‘in loving memory of Forough Farokhzad’, describing her as an influential and modernist Iranian poet, film director and feminist’; it was in loving memory because her life was cut tragically short at the age of only thirty-two whose life was cut short fifty-two years ago, almost exactly, on  February 13th 1967.

I was interested because I knew some amazing Iranian people, many years ago now; I had an Iranian boyfriend for a while, and then when I started teaching in Manchester, some of my students were from Iran. I was teaching them when the Shah was overthrown and it was a worrying time for them, thinking of their families back home… back to the poet, back to Forough Farokhzad.

Forough was born in the last days of 1934 in Tehran; her father was in the military, a colonel, and he and his wife had a big family, seven children and Forough was the third. She was married when she was only sixteen and had a son, but then she and her husband divorced and he had custody of their child. Forough began to write poetry and her first collection of poems was published when she was only twenty-one – what a precocious talent, and how hard it must have been for her as a woman living in Tehran at that time. Her short life was eventful; she wrote more, she became a film director, she had a close and loving relationship with Ebrahim Golestan an important writer and director. A demonstration of the sort of person she was is an episode when she was making a film in a leper colony and after less than a couple of weeks took on and adopted the child of two of the people she met who were suffering from the disease. Her death was the result of a terrible accident; swerving to avoid a school bus she had an accident in her car and as a result died… at only thirty-two.

Here is a link to one of the many biographies you can find about her.

https://iran.britishcouncil.org/en/underline/literature/forough-legacy

I have ordered one of her books… I found her words by just a chance encounter!!

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