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Doctoral Project

Of War and Poetry: Japanese Haiku in a Persian Dress
Faryaneh Fadaeiresketi (M.A.)

This research seeks to study the influence of the foreign literary works translated into Persian on modern Persian poetry with specific reference to haiku. The project will examine haiku’s reception in Iran, from 1950’s up until today, examining its influence on and functions in different domains of Persian culture and its connection with modern Persian poetry. In the course of the last five decades, certain Persian literati tried to connect haiku to Persian identity specifically to mysticism. In some cases, the haiku’s origin was even associated with Persian poetic genres before the advent of Islam in the 7th century. Although there has never been an exact agreement on this likeness and its extension, many poets have showed interest in using the term ‘Iranian haiku’ to emphasize the innovative aspects of their poems and to state that Persian haiku is not only a simple emulation. In this regard, these questions are aimed to be answered: How do haiku poets legitimize their poems as being Persian through connecting Zen Buddhism to Iranian mysticism? How specific mystical concepts were altered and re-interpreted to fit within the structure of haiku? And how did the very objective quality of the poetic image in haiku and its concise form meet Persian poetry that is best known for its metaphorical and complex language?

This research will deal both with Persian reception of haiku and also its implication in Persian culture through introducing new discourses and challenging established cultural norms and aesthetics. Thus, the first question to be answered is how haiku was introduced and received in Iran, either in process of translation or later on production. This will show the dynamic of haiku’s indigenization process through selection, interpretation, translation, mutation and adaptation. Moreover, with an analysis of the contemporary Persian literary scene, this research will examine haiku’s reception, as an example of a ‘foreign’ genre that reached Iran, in connection with the social and political changes in 20th century Iran.