In bringing this chorus of creativity to life, Sheema Kalbasi has performed a service that will be remembered for long. The voice that comes through The Poetry of Iranian Women is daring rather than desperate, decisive rather than doleful, and fairly composed, given the constraints that govern the lives of the featured poets, as women and as artists. In bringing this chorus of creativity to life, Sheema Kalbasi has performed a service that will be remembered for long.
– Dr. Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak
Real and groundbreaking, this anthology edited by Sheema Kalbasi is a breathtaking collection of Iranian women's poems and is an event not to be missed. The Poetry of Iranian Women is full of passionate and vital poems that speak of universal themes with grace, craft, sensual imagery, and sociopolitical angst. This compendium affords a wonderful opportunity to learn what is being written today by women of this ancient Persian culture of the Mid-East cradle of civilization.
– Daniela Gioseffi
A spiritual regeneration from artists who have taken back their god, their religion, their home and most importantly themselves, Sheema Kalbasi has created this volume of poetry with great force and desire. The Poetry of Iranian Women transcends nationalities simultaneously highlighting the passion and dignity of the poetic collection it embodies.
– Larry Jaffe
Not only does Sheema Kalbasi in The Poetry of Iranian Women give us the voices of these talented, passionate Iranian poets but also shows us that the depths and textures of their culture revealed in verse is also history, political science, sociology, and psychology. Occasionally, there comes along a person like her who understands where the lessons of poetry intersect with other areas of scholarship.
– Roger Humes
Kalbasi's poetry is generous and abundantly human, passionate and compassionate.
– Jimmy Santiago Baca, award winning poet, and author of Immigrants in Our Own Land
Sheema Kalbasi's poems speak of love, loss, and life in exile. They are the poems of a human rights activist passionate with the hope of peace. Kalbasi's poetry exposes the deep heart of a woman who is compassionate with suffering and full of the joy of life, of the innocence of a child, the knowledge of a woman, the aspirations of a peacemaker. These are stirring poems with a worldly view, both accessible and imaginative. They make an excellent cross-cultural exchange that demonstrates our universal humanity.
– Daniela Gioseffi, American book award winning author of WOMEN ON WAR: INTERNATIONAL WRITINGS.
In her poem, "New England" Sheema Kalbasi writes:
She slips the shelves and shadows
of her new found friends within
the walls of her nights dream before another
summer-morning lights the start of the day
Through compassion and wisdom she weaves the world together with her vivid words. World history is not national, it is international, and in her words, I found traces of my history, my life, my grief, and my desires. Sheema, a world citizen, shows in this powerful book, that just as the Earth is gold at its core, moving hot liquid, she does too.
– Birgitta Jonsdottir, Birgitta Jonsdottir, poet, editor, and member of the Icelandic parliament.
and through this steady music and bright vision we enter the world of a fine poet, who, like her daughter, dances among, and slips the shadows and shelves of both her heritage and her new home to become something startlingly fresh and vibrant. A beautiful book. An important new voice.
– Dr. Joel B. Peckham, Jr ., Department of American Literature, University of Cincinnati, Clermont College, author of Night walking, and Asleep at the Wheel
There are honest and hard won poems here. They speak of pain, cruelty and loss, the very elements that separate us from each other to our mutual sorrow. There is also love and hope for redemption. Heartfelt and true.
– Roger Aplon, poet, writer, Latest Collections: The Man with His Back to the Room & Intimacies
Sheema Kalbasi belongs to that world-wide community of the passionate and caring, who write of exile, injustice and desire.
– Wayne Amtzis, poet
In an age of extremes, be they from the right or the left, from any and all religions, it is rare to hear a voice of reason, mature and graceful. Sheema Kalbasi has that voice. Echoes in Exile is a cry in the wilderness, an oratorio Kalbasi says she needs to "write to keep nothing from overloading nothing." We learn more about the world in these poems, and thus, about ourselves.
– Daniel Y. Harris, M. Div, lecturer, essayist, poet, and translator
Sheema Kalbasi's debut collection documents her struggle to confront the past and absorb a new culture. Born in Iran and now living in the United States, she handles complex threads of the Middle Eastern tapestry (which she refers to in "Kaddish" as God's "bloody sore") and weaves her own vivid fabric within it. Part chronicle of losses, self-doubt, and of what is retained (family), part polemic against an oppressive past and quest for her own identity, Kalbasi's concluding account of a passionate interlude reveals her evolving consciousness.
– D. H. Melhem author of New York Poems, Rest in Love, Blight, other works. Stigma and the Cave: Two Novels
Ms. Kalbasi's remarkably open volume of poetry, Echoes in Exile, dwells on justice, humanity, a "sublime divine" love for her daughter and mother (beautifully rendered in "Mama in the War"), an affair gone awry, seasons, a revolution lived through, exile, and loss.
"I am not good in the game of heart. I am a simple girl I said. /he said: Sheema....."
"I write what you can't write my name: Sheema
I will never influence my child the way I was influenced by the World events.
I will be telling her the story of a kiss by a leaf descending on the skin of a sleeping beauty in the gardens of Persia. "Nothing is eternal. Not family, not friendships, not love, not lust. Nothing... not even the wandering eyes that will read these lines in wonder. /His love is my story." Her story is the story of love, achingly written.
– Katayoon Zandvakili
On the page, these poems in their original Persian are lovely and mysterious; through the eye, they speak to the heart. In translation, these poems, both classic and contemporary, speak not only to our hearts but also to our souls, revealing their poets' deepest desires: for peace, for love, for life. In her bilingual anthology, Sheema Kalbasi has brought these women into my home; welcoming them, I am moved and informed.
– Cortney Davis
When Sheema touches her pen to paper, beauty miraculously appears. Seven Valleys of Love is a gentle loving wind that is released to the earth.
– Larry Jaffe