translated from the Persian by Lyn Coffin
In his poems of memory and displacement, Iranian poet Mohsen Emadi charts his experience of exile with vivid, often haunting imagery and a child’s love of language. Lyn Coffin’s translations from the Persian allow Emadi’s poems to inhabit the English language as their own, as the poet recasts his earliest memories and deepest loves over the forges of being ‘someone who goes to bed in one city and wakes up in another city.’ Alternating between acceptance and despair, tenderness and toughness, he writes, ‘I wanted to be a physicist,’ but ‘Your kisses made me a poet.’ Mohsen Emadi is a powerful witness to life in the present times, and Standing on Earth introduces a major world poet to an English-language readership for the first time.
- “Mohsen Emadi is one of the brightest stars of twenty-first century Persian poetry. Widely known in Iran and Spain, it is time for us to discover Emadi through Lyn Coffin’s brilliant English translations. Enter a brilliant mind’s meditation through the metaphorical language of the heart.” –Sholeh Wolpe
- “Emadi has become a citizen of the world of poetry, an artist in service to a Muse that taught him that becoming a poet meant ‘discovering the danger of existence and the beauty of childhood’…His poems are experiences that can be lived only through language.” –Sam Hamill
- “Standing on Earth by Mohsen Emadi is a suddenness of echoes mooring us to the mystical within. The poems witness sorrow lifting, a nation sinking, and breath colliding with itself. A solitude lingers at the heart of each line. A profound reflection. An infinite sigh. This collection, lyrical and imagistic, where between death and silence is remembrance, where shadow after shadow resides, ‘whispers: guess who it is…’ And the poet leaves us wondering because it is wonder that takes us closer to love’s many versions, to an intimacy weaved in nation and exile. The poems in this unforgettable collection ground us, and give us flight.” –Nathalie Handal