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                                        Volume. 12115

Poet Simin Behbahani dies at 87
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Iranian poet Simin Behbahani in an undated photo
Iranian poet Simin Behbahani in an undated photo
TEHRAN -- Iranian poet Simin Behbahani, who is mostly known for the new rhymes she innovated in modern Persian ghazal (ode), died from heart failure at Tehran’s Pars Hospital on Tuesday morning. She was 87.
 
Behbahani, who was suffering from a heart problem over the past few years, fell into a coma on August 7.
 
“Despite all physicians’ efforts, my mother died at 1 a.m.,” her son Ali Behbahani told the Persian service of ISNA.
 
“Mother was a bit better on Monday and we thought that she had become aware of what was happening around her, but the hospital informed us that she died in the early hours of Tuesday,” he added.
 
Behbahani’s death came as a shock to literati and her fans, who sent condolence letters and messages that were published in Persian media. 
 
“Simin was the womanly gem of Iranian poetry,” critic, poet, and painter Javad Mojabi said in a statement published by ISNA.
 
“Her poetry was life itself. She breathed life into poetry, love, the people of her homeland, and her times,” he added.
 
“We mourn for her, but she never liked mourning,” Mojabi noted.
 
“I offer my condolences over the death of this great poet to her family, friends and fans, and particularly to Iranian women,” author Mahmud Dowlatabadi said in a message.
 
“She was always a poet who thought of the country ahead of her own wishes. I hope her memory lives on,” he added.
 
“The lady of the modern Persian ghazal left this world to become eternal beside the luminaries of Persian literature in history,” said Ali Dehbashi, the managing director of the Persian literary monthly Bokhara.
 
He compared Behbahani with three other woman poets: Parvin Etesami, Forugh Farrokhzad and Simin Daneshvar, who influenced Persian poetry over the past century. 
 
Simin Khalili, who later took her spouse family name Behbahani, was born into a cultured family. Her father, Abbas Khalili, was a writer and poet, and her mother, Fakhr Ozma Arghun, was a poet and a teacher of French literature.
 
In 1946, Simin married Hassan Behbahani and at the same time began to study law at the University of Tehran. However, she never took a position involving law. Instead, she worked as teacher of Persian literature for years.
 
Her first marriage broke up in 1970. Shortly thereafter, she married her classmate Manuchehr Kushiar, who died of a heart attack in 1983.
 
She created over twenty collections of poems. Her first collection “The Broken Setar” was published in 1951, and her last, “The Collection of Simin Behbahani’s Poems”, came in 2012.
 
A selection of her poems was translated into English by Iranian translator Ismail Salami in a book entitled “Maybe It’s the Messiah” in 2002.
 
Behbahani began composing poems in her youth using quatrain ghazals in their classical style. Under the influences of some modern works, she shifted to some unusual and innovative styles.
 
Literati and critics believe that the new rhymes she and other poets, such as Hushang Ebtehaj (Sayeh), created saved the Persian ghazal from oblivion.    
 
Her funeral is scheduled to be held on Friday. In her last will and testament, Behbahani asked to be buried in the Imamzadeh Taher Cemetery in Karaj.
 
MMS/YAW
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