The Parsagon Review’s October guest is a literary mediator between two cultures with her translations especially of contemporary Iranian poetry and prose. Sholeh Wolpé is a poet, writer, editor, and literary translator. She was born in Iran and spent most of her teen years in Trinidad and the UK before settling in the United States. A recipient of the 2014 PEN/Heim award, 2013 Midwest Book Award and 2010 Lois Roth Persian Translation prize, Wolpé is the author of three collections of poetry and two books of translations, and is the editor of three anthologies. Among her translations one can mention Sin (A selection of poems by Forough Farrokhzad for which she received the 2010Lois Roth Persian Translation Award), The Forbidden-Poems From Iran and Exiles (Published by Michigan State University 2012 and winner of 2013 Midwest Book Award in Poetry) and The Atlanta Review‘s 2010 special issue of Iran.
An award-winning poet as well, Wolpé’s writings have been translated into several languages and her work is included in numerous American and international anthologies of poetry and fiction. She has taught poetry and literary translation at Stonecoast’s MFA program and has participated in many festivals, international programs, and university events.
PARSAGON: What are the top seven works of Persian literature that have influenced your literary career as a poet and translator?
- Forugh Farrokhzad, collected poems
- Ahmad Shamlou, collected poems
- Mawlana (Rumi), Diwan-e Shams-e Tabrizi
- Farid ud-Din Attar, Mantiq-ut-Tayr (Conference of the Birds)
- Sadegh Hedayat, Boof-e Koor (The Blind Owl)
- Shahrnush Parsipur, zanan bedooneh mardan (Women Without Men)
- Poems of Tahirih Qurratu l-‘Ayn
And there are so many more I would like to name, such as Goli Taraghi, Simin Behbahani, Nader Naderpour, and Sohrab Sepehri …
PARSAGON: Would you introduce seven successful works of fiction or poetry by Iranian-American writers who write primarily in English?
- Tremors: New Fiction by Iranian American Writers, edited by Persis Karim and Anita Amirrezvani
- Moonlight on the Avenue of Faith, by Gina Nahai
- Veils and Words: The Emerging Voices of Iranian Women Writers, by Farzaneh Milani
- The Blood of Flowers, by Anita Amirrezvani
- The Last Illusion, by Porochista Khakpour
- Reading Lolita in Tehran, By Azar Nafisi
- No God But God, by Reza Aslan
There are many more I am embarrassed to not be able to include. Also, please keep in mind that each of these authors has other books. We are fortunate to have so many wonderful Iranian-American writers contributing to the American literary landscape.