GORĀN, ʿABD-ALLĀH SOLAYMĀN (1904-62), the leading Kurdish poet of the twentieth century. Born in Ḥalabja, in northeastern Iraq, Gorān received his formal education at local schools and the state pedagogical institute in Kerkuk. As a school teacher in his native city he continued his self-education by studying foreign languages and reading extensively in modern Turkish and Western European literatures. In the 1930s he became active in radical political and social causes, a militancy that led to frequent arrests and imprisonments until the overthrow of the monarchy in Iraq in 1958. Gorān made signal contributions to the development of modern Kurdish poetry. By combining the traditions of classical and folk verses with the spirit and techniques of contemporary lyricism, he endowed Kurdish poetry with new forms and a diversified subject matter. He introduced blank verse, the prose poem, and new rhyme schemes, and in such works as “Āwāti durī” (“Distant longing”; 1950) he abandoned the traditional ʿaruzµ altogether. The atmosphere of his early verse was romantic, as in the long poem, “Gešt le Hewrāmān” (“Journey to Avromān”), which abounds in luxuriant descriptions of nature, and in numerous love poems idealizing woman as the source of all that is beautiful and good. But after World War II, a strong note of realism pervaded his work as social themes became dominant. Characteristic of his poetry in this period is the modern Kurdish classic, “Golī ḵönawī” (“The bloody rose”; 1950), a drama in verse about tragic love in an unjust world. Gorān was a prolific essayist and an energetic newspaper editor, particularly in the early 1950s of the weekly Jin (Life), which he transformed from a cultural journal into a militant voice of the poor in Kurdish society. He devoted much effort in particular to the creation of a single Kurdish literary language through a merging of the two main dialects—Sōrāni, in southern Iraqi Kurdistan, which he himself used, and Kormānji, in Turkey and northern Iraqi Kurdistan. He was also a skilled translator of both prose and poetry from English, French, Persian, and Turkish into Kurdish, but very little of his own work has been translated. Gorān died in Solaymāniya (Iraq) on 18 November 1962.
Works: Behest u yādgār, 1950; Fir-mēsk u hunar, 1950; tr. B. Amin, F. Shakely, and L. Bäckström as Tarar och konst, Stockholm, 1986.
Sirušt u derun, 1968.
Helbižārda, Baghdad, 1953 (tr. of English and French short stories).
ʿA. Gorān, Divan-e Gorān, ed. M. M. Karim, Baghdad, 1980.
Studies: Husein Alyshanov, Müasir kürd shairi Abdulla Goranyn poezijasy, Baku, 1969.
Joyce Blau, Mémoire du Kurdistan, Paris, 1984, pp. 176-79.
R. Helmi, Šeʿer u edebiyat-e kordi II, Baghdad, 1956, pp. 147-98.
Maruf Khaznadar, Ocherk istorii sovremennoĭ kurdskoĭ literatury (An essay on the history of contemporary Kurdish literature), Moscow, 1967, pp. 173-78.
Kanat Kalashevich Kurdoev (Qanate Kurdo), Tariḵa edebeyeta kurdi, 2nd ed., Ankara, 1992, pp. 99, 310-12.
Originally Published: December 15, 2002
Last Updated: February 17, 2012
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Vol. XI, Fasc. 2, pp. 136-137