A celebration of Persian voices and talent

Zorba by Nasrollah Kasraian, translated by Poupeh Missaghi


Zorba by Nasrollah Kasraian

Translated by Poupeh Missaghi
“How many times should I call out to you? / It seems you are not hearing me...”

by Nasrollah Kasraian
Translated by Poupeh Missaghi

How many times should I call out to you?
It seems you are not hearing me…

You left
Without having yet taught me
How to dance
All by myself
And that
Not in Crete
Not on a beach
But in a land where
Not only dancing
But also uttering the word
Is prohibited

N.K. Mehr 1400 (October 2021)


Nasrollah Kasraian was born in 1944 in Khorram Abad, in the province of Lorestan in Iran. Known as the father of Iranian ethnographic photography, he was arrested by the Pahlavi regime in early 1971 for his political activism and for the translation of The Bolivian Diary of Ernesto Che Guevara. Whilst in prison, he translated his first book on photography. Upon his release in 1975, he became a professional photographer. Since then, he has published more than thirty-one books of photography, many of them in collaboration with his wife, the ethnographer and educator Ziba Arshi, documenting the lives of different Iranian ethnic groups, nomads, and the diverse natural landscape of the country. Sarzamin-e Maa Iran (Our Homeland Iran), Gozar (Transition), Isfahan, Kurdistan, Tehran, Torkamanha-ye Iran (Iran’s Turkmans), Damavand, Kavirha-ye Iran (Iran’s Deserts), Persepolis, Shomal (The North of Iran), and Jonoob (The South of Iran) are just some of his titles. In 2015, Gozaresh-e Yek Zendegi (Leaves from a Life), a selection of his photographs, was published in celebration of his lifelong legacy.

Author photo by Atieh Noori


Poupeh Missaghi has a PhD in English and Literary Arts from the University of Denver; an MA in Creative Writing from Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD; and an MA in Translation Studies and a BA in Translation Practice from Azad University, Tehran. Her novel trans(re)lating house one was published by Coffee House Press in 2020, and her translation of Iranian author Nasim Marashi’s I’ll Be Strong for You came out with Astra Publishing House in 2021. Her short pieces of prose and translation have appeared in numerous journals. She is based in Brooklyn, NY, and teaches at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn; City University of New York; and Pacific Northwest College of Art, Portland.