Abdulla Goran (Kurdish: عەبدوڵڵا گۆران, Ebdella Goran) was a Kurdish poet. He undoubtedly brought about a revolution in Kurdish poetry, and is also called the father of modern Kurdish literature. At this time Kurdish poetry was loaded with hundreds of years of foreign heritage, especially Arabic. Goran cleared his poetry of this influence and gave it a form, rhythm, language and content which was based on Kurdish reality and Kurdish culture, nature and folkloric traditions. The Arabic meter (‘urûz), much used in all Muslim Oriental poetry, was exchanged for patterns from old Kurdish folk songs, and the vocabulary was purified of Arabic and other languages.
Abdulla was born in Halabja in 1904, he studied in Kirkuk. When his father and older brother died, he left school and taught as a teacher for several years in the Hawraman region. In the 1940s when the Allies established a Radio Station in Jaffa, Goran served as Kurdish staff member. Active in the Iraqi Communist Party he was arrested and tortured many times during the period of the monarchy. Until 1954, he was editor for the journal Jîn (Life). In early 1959, he became the editor in chief of the journal Shafaq (dawn, later changing name to Bayan). He was appointed a lecturer at the Department of Kurdish language and literature at the University of Baghdad in autumn of 1960. As a member of the Iraqi Committee of peace and solidarity he often traveled to the former Soviet Union. He became ill with cancer and died in Kurdistan on 18 November 1962.
The dominant themes in Goran’s poetry are his ideal of freedom and his love for Kurdistan, for women and for nature. His way of depicting nature is unique within Kurdish literature. Here and through other aspects Goran reveals a familiarity with the leading European modernist poets.
Goran went through three different periods in his literary career. This is evident in both the content and the form of his poetry. First he went through a classic period following the footsteps of his predecessors. Then he went into a romantic period, where women and nature were the most dominant themes. He started to transform traditional patterns of poetry. Characteristically Goran often sees the woman in Nature and Nature in the woman as in the poem Beauty and the woman. In his mature years, Goran turned to free verse as a means of expressing his political commitment to his people’s fight for freedom and the working class struggle. He exposed, in his subtle and innovative poetry, gender discrimination against women, specially honor killing. He strongly condemned honor killing in one of his poems, Berde-nûsêk (A Tomb-Stone).
Throughout the last years of his writing, however, one will observe how a progressively stronger political tendency in the end overshadows and weakens the aesthethic aspects of Goran’s poetry.
Goran published his poems, articles and translations in majority of the Kurdish journals and newspapers between the early 1930s and until his death. During his lifetime, two collections of his poetry were published, «Paradise & Memory» and Firmêsk û Huner (Tears & Art) in 1950.
His poem «Kurdistan» articulates what this love is and how it shapes his thoughts and defines his aesthetic values: I have been nurtured by these valleys, summits and hummocks, My breath is full of the fragrant breeze of your highlands, My lips are satiated by your snow waters, My gaze is used to the sight of your silvery twilights Reflecting on evening snows, My ears are habituated to the music of your waterfalls Pouring down from high quarters above snow to green landscapes. My tongue bloomed with your beautiful speech, With words of your mountain songs, The words of folk tales told around fireplaces, The words of your children‘s lullabies. When blood stirs in my veins, It does so under the power of your love, I know.
• Tears and Art (Firmêsk û Huner), 1950. Translated in Swedish by B. Amin, F. Shakely and L. Bäckström as Tårar och konst, Stockholm, 1986.
• Paradise and Memory (Beheştî Yadigar), 1950.
• Dîwanî Goran, Collection of Poems, Edited by M. M. Karim, Baghdad, 1980.