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Negative of a Group Photograph | Bloodaxe Books

Azita Ghahreman

Negative of a Group Photograph

نگاتیو یک عکس دسته جمعی

Azita Ghahreman


Publication Date : 08 Oct 2018

ISBN: 9781780374369

Pages: 65
Size :216 x 138mm
Rights: World

Shortlisted for the Warwick Prize for Women in Translation 2019

Negative of a Group Photograph brings together three decades of poems by the leading Iranian poet Azita Ghahreman. Born in Mashhad in 1962 and based in Sweden since 2006, Ghahreman is the author of five highly acclaimed collections. Her poems are lyrical and intimate, addressing themes of loss, exile and female desire, as well as the changing face of her country.

Negative of a Group Photograph runs the gamut of Ghahreman’s experience: from her childhood in the Khorasan region of south-eastern Iran to her exile to Sweden, from Iran's book-burning years and the war in Iraq to her unexpected encounters with love.

The poems in this illuminating collection are brought to life in English by the poet Maura Dooley, working in collaboration with Elhum Shakerifar.

'These poems are a wonderful mixture of the bodily, the earthy and the transcendent, the metaphysical; they have lyricism and a sense of elegy and a wonderful sense of defiance.' -  Boyd Tonkin (Judge, Warwick Prize for Women in Translation)

‘Azita is a poet who pays respect to the past, but doesn’t live in it.  Her poems are sometimes darkened with loss, but just as often lightened with humour, lyricism, a celebration of the human spirit.’ – Imtiaz Dharker, speaking about Azita Ghahreman on Radio 4’s Mother Tongue series

'This is a rich selection of poems from five books written over the last 40 years by the Iranian poet Azita Ghahreman, and translated into English by Maura Dooley with the help of the filmmaker Ellum Shakerifar. The close collaboration of these three women has yielded a collection of power and beauty, suffused with yearning, on a personal and a political level.' - Janice Dempsey, Write Out Loud

'Negative of a Group Photograph... is an elusive, wily kind of animal.  Nevertheless, it's a joy to engage with, and has this reader wanting to return to it again and again.' - Dzifa Benson, Modern Poetry in Translation

Farsi-English dual language edition

Co-published with the Poetry Translation Centre

The Poetry Translation Centre gives the best contemporary poems from Africa, Asia and Latin America a new life in the English language, working with diaspora communities for whom poetry is of great importance. By fostering creative collaborations between poets and translators, the PTC produces high-quality translations that extend the audience for international poetry.


Azita Ghahreman and Maura Dooley at the Mosaic Rooms

Azita Ghahreman gave several readings from Negative of a Group Photograph with Maura Dooley in October 2018 organised by The Poetry Translation Centre, and were joined by the book's "bridge translator" Elhum Shakerifar at the Mosaic Rooms in London on 11 October. This video includes a discussion of their translation process and extracts from some of the poems read in Farsi and in English translation.


Azita Ghahreman and Maura Dooley read from Negative of a Group Photograph at Manchester Literature Festival

This video shows an excerpt from the reading by Azita Ghahreman and Maura Dooley at Manchester Literature Festival on 8 October, with Azita Ghahreman reading the original poems in Farsi, and Maura Dooley reading in English and discussing their collaboration. The poems they read here are: ‘The Red Bicycle’ (Farsi first then English translation), followed by ‘Freedom’, ‘That Which I Once Was’, ‘Everywhere’, ‘Glaucoma’ and ‘Prison’ (these five in English translation first).




The Butterfly's Burden
Why I No Longer Write Poems
The Sea-Migrations
A Monkey at the Window





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