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Sholeh Wolpe

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Native name  شعله ولپی
Role  Poet
Name  Sholeh Wolpe
Nationality  Iranian-American
Language  English, Persian

Sholeh Wolpe wwwwhittieredusitesdefaultfilesmedianewsSh
Occupation  poet, literary translator, and writer
Alma mater  George Washington University, Northwestern University, Johns Hopkins University
Notable works  The Scar Saloon, Rooftops of Tehran, Sin:Selected Poems of Forugh Farrokhzad, The Forbidden: Poems From Iran and Its Exiles, Breaking the Jaws of Silence, Walt Whitman's Song of Myself: Persian Edition, Keeping Time With Blue Hyacinths
Education  Johns Hopkins University, Northwestern University, George Washington University
Books  The Scar Saloon, Rooftops of Tehran, Keeping Time with Blue Hya

Ssu qep poetry reading with sholeh wolpe

Sholeh Wolpé (Persian: شعله ولپی‎‎)(born 6 March 1962) is an award-winning Iranian-American poet and literary translator. She was born in Iran, and has lived in Trinidad, England and United States. She is the author of four collections of poetry, three books of translations, a play, and is the editor of three anthologies.


Sholeh Wolpe About Sholeh Wolp Sholeh Wolp

keeping time with blue hyacinths a poem in seven movements by sholeh wolpe


Sholeh Wolpe Writing Tip by Sholeh Wolpe Writers At Work

Sholeh Wolpé was born in Tehran, Iran, and spent most of her teen years in Trinidad and the UK before settling in the United States. The Poetry Foundation has written that “Wolpé’s concise, unflinching, and often wry free verse explores violence, culture, and gender. So many of Wolpé’s poems deal with the violent situation in the Middle East, yet she is ready to both bravely and playfully refuse to let death be too proud.”

Sholeh Wolpe Sholeh Wolp 1962 Poetic Voices

Wolpe's literary translations have garnered several prestigious awards.

Sholeh Wolpe Sholeh Wolpe Poet Writer Editor Literary Translator

Wolpé lives in Los Angeles.

Literary career

Sholeh Wolpe Sholeh Wolp The Poetry Foundation

A recipient of 2014 PEN/Heim Translation Fund grant, 2014 Hedgebrook Residency, the 2013 Midwest Book Award and 2010 Lois Roth Persian Translation prize, Wolpé is the author of four collections of poetry and three books of translations, and is the editor of three anthologies.

Her play SHAME was a 2016 Eugene O'Neill Theater Center's National Playwright conference semifinalist, and she was one of ten Centenary Stage Women Playwrights Series finalists in 2016.

Wolpé’s first collection, The Scar Saloon, was lauded by Billy Collins as “poems that cast a light on some of what we all hold in common.” Poet and novelist Chris Abani called the poems “political, satirical, and unflinching in the face of war, tyranny and loss . . . they transmute experience into the magic of the imagined.”

The poems in Wolpé’s second collection, Rooftops of Tehran, were called by poet Nathalie Handal “as vibrant as they are brave,” and Richard Katrovas wrote that its publication was a “truly rare event: an important book of poetry.”

Wolpé’s translations of the Iranian poet Forugh Farrokhzad’s selected work, Sin, was awarded the Lois Roth Persian Translation Award in 2010. The judges wrote that they “found themselves experiencing Forugh’s Persian poems with new eyes.” Alicia Ostriker praised the translations as “hypnotic in their beauty and force.” Willis Barnstone found them “extravagantly majestic,” and of such order that “they resurrect Forugh.”

Sholeh Wolpé and Mohsen Emadi’s translations of Walt Whitman’s "Song of Myself" (آواز خويشتن) were commissioned by the University of Iowa’s International Program. They are currently on University of Iowa’s Whitman website and will be available in print in Iran.

Robert Olen Butler lauded Wolpé's anthology, Breaking the Jaws of Silence as “a deeply humane and aesthetically exhilarating collection.” Wolpé's 2012 anthology,The Forbidden: Poems from Iran and Its Exiles, a recipient of the 2013 Midwest Book Award, includes many of Wolpé’s own translations, and was called by Sam Hamil a “most welcome gift” that “embraces and illuminates our deepest human bonds and hopes.”

Wolpé’s Iran Edition of the Atlanta Review became that journal’s best-selling issue. Wolpé is also a regional editor of Tablet and Pen: Literary Landscapes from The Modern Middle East (edited by Reza Aslan), and a contributing editor of the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Wolpé’s modern translation of The Conference of the Birds by the 12th Century Iranian Sufi mystic poet "Attar", was lauded by PEN lauded as an “artful and exquisite modern translation.” About the book, W.W. Norton & Co writes: "Wolpé re-creates the intense beauty of the original Persian in contemporary English verse and poetic prose, fully capturing for the first time the beauty and timeless wisdom of Attar’s masterpiece for modern readers."

Wolpe's poems and translations have been set to music by composer Shawn Crouch, American jazz band San Gabriel 7, Australian composer Brook Rees and Iranian vocalist and musicians Mamak Khadem, Sahba Motallebi, and Sussan Deyhim.


  • George Washington University -- B.A. in Radio/TV/Film
  • Northwestern University -- M.A. in Radio/TV/Film
  • Johns Hopkins University -- MHS in Public Health
  • Books

  • The Conference of the Birds (W.W. Norton & Co, 2017)
  • Keeping Time with Blue Hyacinths (University of Arkansas Press, 2013)
  • Breaking the Jaws of Silence (University of Arkansas Press, 2013)
  • The Forbidden--Poems from Iran and Its Exiles (Michigan State University Press, 2012)
  • Sin: Selected Poems of Forugh Farrokhzad (University of Arkansas 2007)
  • Rooftops of Tehran (Red Hen Press 2007)
  • The Scar Saloon (Red Hen Press 2004)
  • Other work

  • Atlanta Review — Iran Issue 2010 Edited by Sholeh Wolpe
  • Tablet & Pen — Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East Edited by Reza Aslan; Sholeh Wolpe, regional editor, (W.W. Norton 2010)
  • Other publications

    Wolpe's work can be found in the following anthologies:

  • The Golden Shovel Anthology (University of Arkansas Press, 2017)
  • Others Will Enter the Gates: Immigrant Poets on Poetry, Influences and Writing in America (Black Lawrence Press, 2015)
  • Wide Awake: Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond, (Pacific Coast Poetry Series, 2015)
  • Veils, Halos, and Shackles: International Poetry on the Oppression and Empowerment of Women, (Kasva Press, 2015)
  • Flash Fiction Funny: 82 Very Short Humorous Stories (Blue Light Press, 2013)
  • Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here: Poets and Writers Respond to the March 5th, 2007, Bombing of Baghdad's "Street of the Booksellers" (PM Press, 2012)
  • How To Free a Naked Man from a Rock: An Anthology (Red Hen Press, 2011)
  • Sudden Flash Youth: 65 Short Short Stories (Persea Books, April 2011)
  • Tremors: New Fiction by Iranian American Writers (University of Arkansas Press, 2013)
  • Poetry of Provocation and Witness from Split This Rock (wordpress, 2012)
  • The Forbidden: Poems from Iran and its exiles (Michigan State University, 2012)
  • Tablet & Pen: Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East (W W Norton 2010)
  • Rumpus Original Poetry Anthology (The Rumpus, 2012)
  • Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia & Beyond (Norton, 2008)
  • Powwow: American Short Fiction from Then to Now (Da Capo Press, an imprint of the Perseus Books Group Inc., 2009)
  • The Poetry of Iranian Woman, A contemporary anthology (Reelcontent, 2009)
  • Been There, Read That: The Armchair Traveler's Companion (Victoria University Press, 2008)
  • In Our Own Words—A Generation Defining Itself (MW Enterprises, New York 2007)
  • Evensong: Contemporary Poems of Spirituality (Bottom Dog Press, 2006)
  • Yellow as Turmeric, Fragrant as Cloves, — An anthology of Asian American Female Poets (Deep Bowl Press, Feb. 2008)
  • Inlandia: A Literary Journey Through California's Inland Empire (Heyday Books, 2006)
  • Let Me Tell You Where I've Been: New Writing by Women of the Iranian Diaspora (University of Arkansas Press, 2006)
  • The Other Side of Sorrow (Poetry Society of New Hampshire 2006)
  • Strange Times, My Dear: The PEN Anthology of Contemporary Iranian Literature (Arcade Publishing, April 2005)
  • So Luminous the Wildflowers, An Anthology of California Poets (Tebot Bach, 2003)
  • References

    Sholeh Wolpé Wikipedia