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House Arrest

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House Arrest, comprising poems selected from Alizadeh’s two collections, Diary of a House Arrest,1956-1967 (2003) and Blue Bicycle (2015), takes as its central theme the overthrow of Iran’s Prime Minister, Mohammad Mosaddegh, during an American and British-led coup in 1953.

After being removed from power, Mosaddegh was forced to live in exile in Ahmadabad castle near Tehran, and in these poems, Alizadeh imagines himself in Mosaddegh’s place, in exile, and allows his imagination to take him wherever it pleases. In the dream-like atmosphere of his poems, times and places melt into each other like magma, blending Greco-Roman mythology, ancient Iranian folklore, the Christian New Testament, the Old Testament, European fairy tales and Persian Sufism. Yet his work is thoroughly modern; mythical figures live alongside contemporary humans, and classical forms are transformed into modernist experiments.

Hasan Alizadeh was born in 1947 and embarked on a literary career, initially as a short story writer, but since the 1990s, he has focused mostly on poetry. His talent is widely recognized in Iran, as shown by his having won the Modern Iranian poetry Prize in 2002, but very little is known about him personally as he declines to give interviews or talk about himself.