Emma Lazarus: “The New Colossus”

In 1883, as the Statue of Liberty was being built, poet Emma Lazarus (1849-1887) was asked to donate a piece of writing to be auctioned off to fund the statue's construction in New York City. At the time, Lazarus was participating in aid programs for refugees who had fled anti-Semitic pogroms in eastern Europe. Confronted with destitution and suffering she had never previously encountered, Lazarus was inspired to express her empathy for these refugees through "The New Colussus." In 1903, the poem was engraved on a plaque at the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty. The statue had originally been intended to simply symbolize American liberty, but Lazarus' iconic lines "Give me your tired, your poor/Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free" gave the statue a new meaning: a message of welcome to the immigrants sailing past the statue into New York Harbor, and a beacon of hope symbolizing the promise of America. "The New Colossus" has been translated to Persian here by Tavaana.

Tavaana Publication   Click here to read Tavaana's exclusive translation of "The New Colossus."


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