Alireza Abiz (Iran/UK) is an Iranian poet, literary critic and translator based in London. He studied English Literature in Mashhad and Tehran universities and received his PhD in Creative Writing –Poetry from Newcastle University, UK. Abiz has written extensively on Persian contemporary literature and culture. His scholarly book ‘Censorship of Literature in Post-Revolutionary Iran: Politics and Culture since 1979’ is forthcoming by Bloomsbury. He has so far published five collections of poetry in Persian; ‘Stop! We must get off’, ‘Spaghetti with Mexican sauce’, ‘I can hear a tree from my desk’ “13/1 Koohsangi Street” and ‘Black Line- London Underground’. The latest collection published in 2017 was awarded the most prestigious independent poetry award in Iran, the Shamlou Award.  Abiz is also an award-winning translator and has translated some leading English language poets including Basil Bunting, Derek Walcott, Jack Kerouac and C.K. Williams into Persian. He is a board member in Poetry Translation Centre and the chief judge in Sarah Maguire Poetry in Translation Prize.







 Leopard’s Dream



I dream I’ve swallowed an oak tree

And its branches are spreading in my stomach

Soon it will grow out of my skin

A dove is building a nest on a bough

And a leopard is napping in the shadow of the tree

In the leopard’s dream

I am his mother and I’m suckling him

I want to wake up

I’m afraid I may disturb the leopard’s dream



Worthy is the lamb who was slain


Revelations (The New Testament)


The fog is coming toward me from the end of the alley

From the corner where a gate stands half-open

It engulfs the black Ford and the red Honda

Creeps on and slowly fills the alley

It climbs the hedges and the walls

Swallows the houses opposite one by one

Until only the chimneys are visible

It stands in front of me like a wall

Curls around the tree facing my window

I open the window

The fog embraces me

I close my eyes and with thousands of other ghosts- am carried away






I opened the door to her

Invited her in

She closed her umbrella and entered


She sat on a chair

I brought tea

We smoked

Talked about the weather and politics


I led her to the bathroom

Sliced her into small pieces

Placed her in the freezer



Her umbrella is hanging from the coat rail.


رؤیای پلنگ



خواب دیدم درخت بلوطی را بلعیده‌ام

و شاخه‌هایش در شکمم رشد می‌کند

چیزی نمانده از پوست تنم بزند بیرون

کبوتری بر شاخه لانه می‌سازد

و پلنگی زیر سایه‌ی درخت چرت می‌زند

در رؤیای پلنگ

من مادرش هستم و او را شیر می‌دهم

می‌خواهم بیدار شوم

می‌ترسم ر‌ؤیای پلنگ را آشفته کنم




شایسته است بره‌ای که قربانی شد


مکاشفات یوحنا



مه از انتهای کوچه به سمت من می‌آید

از سر پیچ که دروازه‌ی خانه‌ای نیمه‌باز است

فورد مشکی و هوندای قرمز را می‌پوشاند

می‌خزد و آهسته کف کوچه را پر‌می‌کند

از پرچین‌ها و دیوارها بالا می‌رود

خانه‌های رو به رو را یکی یکی محو می‌کند

-اکنون فقط دودکش بخاری‌ها پیداست-

در برابر من مثل دیواری می‌ایستد

بر درخت روبه روی پنجره می‌پیچد

پنجره را می‌گشای

مرا در آغوش می‌کشد

چشمانم را می‌بندم و با هزاران شبح دیگرهمراه می‌شوم.







در به رویش گشودم

به خانه دعوتش کردم

چترش را بست به درون آمد


بر صندلی نشست

چای آوردم

سیگاری کشیدیم

از هوا و سیاست سخن گفتیم


او را به حمام بردم

به تکه‌های کوچک بریدم

در فریزر جا دادم



چترش از چوب‌رختی آویزان است.

Translated from Persian to English by the poet and W. N. Herbert.


W.N. Herbert (also known as Bill Herbert) is a poet and academic and a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature who writes both in English and Scottish. He is the author of 8 poetry collections and is currently professor of poetry and creative writing at Newcastle University, UK.