Forouq Farrokhzad


Forouq Farrokhzad was born in Tehran on January 5, 1935. She attended public schools through the ninth grade. She then transferred to Kamal-ol-Molk Technical School, where she studied dressmaking and painting.

In 1951, at age sixteen, Forouq married her cousin, the artist Parviz Shapour, over the objections of both families on account of Shapour's age. One year later, Forouq's only son, Kamyar, was born. Forouq separated from Parviz Shapour in 1954.

In 1955 Forouq's first collection was published, forty-four poems under the title Asir (The Captive). In July 1956, Forouq published her second volume of verse, Divar (The Wall), containing twenty-five short lyrics. She dedicated it to her former husband. Forouq's relationship with the controversial writer and cinematographer Ebrahim Golestan was important in the poet's personal life from the time it began in 1958 until her death.

Her third collection, Esian (Rebellion), appeared in 1958, securely establishing her as promising yet notorious poet. Far ahead of her time in the mid-1950s, Forouq clearly voiced in such poems as The Captive, The Wedding Band, Call to Arms, and To My Sister her feelings about conventional marriage, the plight of women in Persia, and her own situation as a wife and mother no longer able to live a conventional life. As a divorced female poet in Tehran, she attracted much attention and considerable disapproval. One of her short-lived relationships with men is described in The Sin.

In 1962 Forouq made a documentary film about a leper colony, entitled The House Is Black. The movie was acclaimed internationally and won several prizes. In 1963 UNESCO produced a thirty-minute film about her, and Bernardo Bertolucci came to Persia to interview her and decided to produce a film about her life. In 1964 Forouq's fourth poetry collection, Tavallodi Digar (Another Birth) was published, contained thirty-five poems that she had composed over a period of nearly six years. In 1965 Forouq's fifth collection, Let Us Believe in the Beginning of the Cold Season, was completed, but it was not published until after her death.

On Monday, February 14, 1967 Forouq lost her life in a car accident. She was barely thirty-two years old and at the height of her creativity. She is buried in the Zahiredoleh Cemetery in Tehran.