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Join us for a morning of beautiful poetry readings and an insightful talk about Persian poetry from multi-award-winning Artist and Scholar Nazli Tabatabai-Khatambakhsh and Poet Afshin Babazadeh.

In this talk on the rich tapestry of Persian poetry, Afshin Babazadeh will explore the diverse contributions of notable poets within the realms of both classical and modern Persian literature. Nazli Tabatabai-Khatambakhsh will share her own poetry which draws on the light and dark of what it means to be alive and to love in times of turbulence and joy, written in response to the writing of Forough Farrokhzad. This talk will open with a traditional Iranian song sung by Leela Emadi aka Arghanun.


Nazli Tabatabai-Khatambakhsh 

Nazli Tabatabai-Khatambakhsh (she/او) is a multi-award-winning artist and scholar, currently Professor of Dramatic Writing and Associate Artist (Guildhall School of Music & Drama), Associate Director (Sanctuary Queer Arts), and Associate Artist (Oxford School of Drama). She is an Arts Council England grad fellow of the New York-based International Society for the Performing Arts, of which she is also a member of the Governance Committee. Their performance portfolio spans opera, theatre, dance, circus and includes experimental page and performance poetry; she also has a portfolio in equitable collaborative practice that includes leadership, coaching and mentoring, policy and strategy. 

For more information about Nazli, you can check out her Instagram and Twitter profiles.

Afshin Babazadeh 

Afshin Babazadeh arrived in Britain in 1979 from Iran. He studied engineering and management. He has published five collections of poetry in Persian, including "Letters to the Sister of Stones," "Breakfast in a Better Situation," "When I Lie Down Next to You," "Cows," and "The Passage of Escape." In addition to his poetry, Babazadeh has showcased his versatility as a writer, penning three plays and two scripts. Notably, one of his plays, "The Newspapers Talking," was on stage in London at the Little Angel Theatre.


Leela Emadi

Leela Emadi, aka Arghanun, an Iranian traditional singer, transcends cultural boundaries with her captivating voice. Her recent Spotify release, "Az Jamadi," is a sonic tapestry inspired by the poetry of Rumi. For Arghanun, the voice isn't just an instrument; it's the conduit for soulful expression. As she states, "It's not me who sings; but my voice sings through me."

In her performance, Arghanun will navigate three sets of Avaz and Tasnif, each crafted in distinct Persian melodic styles (Gushe) and modal systems (Dastgah). The thematic heart of her presentation orbits around "Bahar," Persian term for Spring, breathing a sense of renewal and celebration into the ambiance.