Poet Profile: Bänoo Zan

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Bänoo Zan landed in Canada in 2010. She has published more than 120 poems, translations, biographies, and articles in print and online publications around the globe. Her book, The Song of Phoenix: Life and Works of Sylvia Plath, was reprinted in Iran in 2010. She is the founder, an organizer and host of Shab-e She?r (Poetry Night), the most diverse poetry reading series in Toronto.

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Bänoo Zan is a poet, translator, teacher, editor and poetry curator, with more than 120 published poems, etc., as well as two books. Song of Phoenix: Life and Works of Sylvia Plath, was reprinted in Iran in 2008.  Songs of Exile, a collection of her poems, was released in 2016 in Canada.  A second collection, Letters to My Father, is due to be released early 2017. She is the founder of Shab-e She’r (Poetry Night), the most diverse poetry reading and open mic series in Toronto. It bridges the gap between poetry communities, bringing together artists from different ethnicities, nationalities, religions (or lack thereof), ages, genders, sexual orientations, disabilities, poetic styles, voices and visions.

Bänoo has chosen to present her poem ‘The Hajj Pilgrim’ as it is a good representation of her as a person, as well as her work as a poet.


The Hajj Pilgrim:

They say
you are a man—
in tavaaf—

on the day of ‘Arafah
stoning the Shaytan

They say
you are a woman—
covering your breasts
from the na-mahram

your long hair in hijab

They say
you are angry

never drink or dance
never smile

But I’ve seen you
with Mohammad

in intimate embrace of
religion and justice

chaste and naked

You love like a man—
give up everything
for a kiss

You love like a woman—
want everything
in a kiss

I heard
you are converting
from you

to the lover
you are

Wash blood
off bombs and believers

Mourn the loss of innocence
in the ritual of need

Shave your head
Cut your nails
Wrap yourself in ihram

and join the humble crowd
that dies
for a visit

from you


More of Bänoo Zan and her work can be found below:
Facebook & LinkedIn: Bänoo Zan
Twitter: @BanooZan

Here is the link to information about Bänoo’s poetry book, "Songs of Exile," on the publisher Guernica Editions website

And here are some links to reviews and interviews:

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