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Poet Profile: Bänoo Zan


Poet Profile: Bänoo Zan

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:

Sumaiyya Reads

Quill & Quire

Verse Afire, the print publication of The Ontario Poetry Society in May 2016

Canadian Women in the Literary Arts

Canadian Immigrant

Draft Readings

Brockton Writers Series

Room: Literature, Art and Feminism since 1975, Issue 39.4: This Body’s Map

The Town Crier, Author Notes

The Town Crier, “To me, all poetry is political”:

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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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