Letter from Ali Alizadeh to Ali Zarrin
I received your wonderful chapbooks a few weeks ago, and have been enjoying
reading them immensely. Penny and I particularly enjoyed Modern Marriage; she
Not having read all of your Farsi poems, and if you don't mind my saying
so, your English work strikes me as very American. This observation is not at
all a criticism coming from someone like me - I did my Honours thesis on US
confessional poets and psychoanalysis, and concluded with admiring Charles Olson
and relating his poetics to post/anti-Freudian concepts of Deleuze and Guattari.
I think there's something Olson-esque about your work, and also confessional. In
fact your superb sequence Desert reminded me a lot of T. Roethke's The Lost Son.
But the epic scope of, say, the Book of I is very much in the same breath
as Olson's Maximus poems, and also Ginsberg's incantations. At certain parts I
was also reminded of Billy Collins's wit and precision, e.g. in the poem 'Modern
Marriage'. All in all, I think your work reflects the very best aspects
of American culture and literary heritage which, as the title of one your other
poems suggests, you have made your own. I think your work also testifies to the
versatility and capability of an Iranian/Persian poetic voice that can absorb
and multiply with 'the Other' so seamlessly.
So, many thanks for your books. They've given me much food for