Female Heroes of Asia: Iran

Three Transforming Poets

Iran (13th, 19th and 20th Centuries)


In Iran’s traditions poets are honored. While most classical poetry has been written by men, there are some outstanding women who are celebrated for their literary skills and for giving Iran work that reflects the female point of view. Iranian Nobel Prize winner Shirin Ebadi has written that women’s words have been “the most powerful tool we have to protect ourselves, both from the tyrants of the day and from our own traditions....Feminist poets of the last century who challenged the culture’s perception of women through verse...have for centuries relied on words to transform reality.”

Here are three poets from different periods who, while reflecting different historic sensibilities, are remembered as heroes whose words have transformed Iranian women’s reality.

Padishah Khatun (Safwat al-Din Khatun): 13th Century

Tahirih (Qurratu’l-Ayn): (1817/20-1852)

Forugh Farrokhzad: (1935-67)

Lyn Reese is the author of all the information on this website
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