Ala Khaki – Remembrances

Remembrances, …, is a poetic window into life inside Iran’s notorious Evin prison, by Ala Khaki, an Iranian-American poet. He was betrayed by a friend for being the author of some of the resistance poetry that used to be distributed underground in universities in Iran. The poems in the book chronicle his time as a political prisoner from arrest in 1976 by the Shah’s feared Secret Police, the SAVAK, subsequent tortures and conviction by a military tribunal, to release in 1977 after fourteen months of captivity.

“I was in an interrogation/torture room in a basement of Evin Prison, my second session within 24 hours of my arrest, eyes blindfolded, mouth full of blood from beatings. I had denied any involvement in opposition activities, refused to sign a prepared confession, or give up any names of any supposed cohorts. The door opened and some people walked in. I recognized Ali’s voice saying, “it’s him”. It was like a ton of crushed ice hit me. Karimi, my interrogator/torturer, sure that this would break my will to resist, slapped me triumphantly and yelled “we know everything you’ve done, you son of bitch, so stop lying to us.” Months later, a newcomer to Evin informed me that Ali was released less than a week after being arrested. ” From the introduction to Remembrances

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Ala Khaki is author of two poetry books, Return (in English) and Calling the Dawn (in Farsi). His poems have appeared in Iranian and American literary journals and anthologies, including The Book Review, Par (Feather), Worcester Review, The Poets’ Touchstone, the 2010 Poets’ Guide to New Hampshire, Poet Showcase: An Anthology of New Hampshire Poets, and COVID Spring. In 1981, he was the subject of a documentary film titled “Resident Exile” by the celebrated documentary filmmaker and director Ross McElwee.