Sholeh Wolpe

Los Angeles, CA 90004

Author's Bio

Sholeh Wolpé is a poet, literary translator and writer. She was born in Iran and spent most of her teen years in Trinidad and the UK before settling in the United States. Wolpé’s work include four collections of poetry, a play, three books of translations, and three anthologies. Her recent work includes her translation of Sufi mystic poet Attar’s masterpiece, The Conference of the Birds, which was awarded the prestigious PEN/Heim grant and lauded as an “artful and exquisite modern translation.”  About her most recent book of poems, Keeping Time with Blue Hyacinths, Shelf Awareness Magazine writes, “A gifted Iranian-American poet beautifully explores love and the loss of love, beauty and war and the ghosts of the past.” Poet and essayist Kwame Dawes lauds it as a “collection that delights and disturbs, often in the very same poem.” About her poems, The Poetry Foundation writes, “Wolpé’s concise, unflinching, and often wry free verse explores violence, culture, and gender.” Poet and novelist Chris Abani writes, “Sholeh Wolpé’s poems are political, satirical, and unflinching in the face of war, tyranny and loss. Talismanic and alchemical, they attempt to transmute experience into the magic of the imagined. But they also dare to be tender and funny lyrical moments.” Wolpé’s translations of the iconic Iranian poet Forugh Farrokhzad, Sin, is now in its fourth printing and was awarded the prestigious Lois Roth Persian Translation Award in 2010. Her co-translation of Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself into Persian (with Mohsen Emadi) was commissioned by the University of Iowa’s International Program as the first ever literary translation of Whitman’s masterpiece. Wolpé has performed her poems and translations with world renowned musicians at Quincy Jones Presents series on Broad Stage, Skirball Cultural Center Series, Los Angeles Aloud, and LACMA stage, among others.  Her writings have been translated into eleven languages, and a collection of her poems in Spanish, Cómo Escribir una Canción de Amor, is forthcoming in Mexico and Spain. Her work is included in numerous American and international anthologies and journals of poetry and fiction, including PBS Frontline, Guernica, The Best American Poetry blog, Callaloo, and World Literature Today. She has taught poetry and literary translation at Stonecoast’s MFA program, and is a contributing editor to Los Angeles Review of Books.  She is based in Los Angeles.

Publications and Prizes

Breaking The Jaws of Silence: Sixty American Poets Speak to the World
(University of Arkansas Press, 2013)
, Keeping Time With Blue Hyacinths
(University of Arkansas Press, 2013)
, RoofTops ofTehran by Sholeh Wolpe
(Red Hen Press, 2008)
, Sin: Selected Poems of Forugh Farrokhzad
(University of Arkansas Press, 2007)
, The Conference of the Birds
(W. W. Norton & Company, 2018)
, The Forbidden: Poems from Iran and Its Exiles
(Michigan State University Press, 2012)
, The Scar Saloon
(Red Hen Press, 2004)
City Dialogues: Life Druing Wartime
(California Arts Council, 2004)
, Di-ver-city
(Austin International Poetry Foundation, 2005)
, Evensong: Contemporary Poems of Spirituality
(Bottom Dog Press, 2006)
, Fresh Flash: Short Short Stories About Youth
(Persea Books, 2011)
, Inlandia: A Literary Journey Through California's Inland Empire
(Heyday Books, 2007)
, Java Monkey Speaks
(Poetry Atlanta Press, 2006)
, Language for a New Century
(W. W. Norton & Company, 2008)
, Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry From the Middle East, Asia & Beyond
(W. W. Norton & Company, 2008)
, Let Me Tell You Where I've Been: New Writing by Women of Iranian Diaspora
(University of Arkansas Press, 2006)
, Poetry of Iranian Women
(CreateSpace, 2009)
, Poetry That is Life
(Ketab Gooya Publishing, 2006)
, Powwow: American Short Fiction from Then to Now
(Perseus Press, 2009)
, So Luminous the Wildflowers: An Anthology of California Poets
(Tebot Bach, 2003)
, Strange Times, My Dear: PEN Anthology of Contemporary Iranian Literature
(Arcade, 2005)
, Tablet & Pen-- Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East (regional editor)
(W. W. Norton & Company, 2010)
, Tablet & Pen: Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East
(W. W. Norton & Company, 2010)
, The Other Side of Sorrow
(Poetry Society of New Hampshire, 2006)
, Yellow as Turmeric, Fragrant as Cloves, — An anthology of Asian American Female Poets
(Deep Bowl Press, 2008)
Art/Life Limited Editions, Ash Canyon Review, Atlanta Review, Beacons, Callaloo, Chaffin Journal, Circumference, City Dialogues: Life During Wartime, Faultline, Grain Magazine, Green Hills Literary Lantern,, Journal of the American Medical Association, Los Angeles Review, Maize, Mochila Review, Muse Apprentice Guild, On the Bus, Orbis, Pearl Magazine, Persian Mirror, Poetry Salzburg Review, Revista Respiro, Runes: A Review of Poetry, Spillway Magazine, Spiral Bridge, The Daily Star, The Persian Book Review, Two Lines XIV: World Writing in Translation, Two Review, Women's Review of Books, Words Without Borders
Prizes Won: 
— 2015 PEN/Heim Translation Fund in support of her new project, translating 12th century Iranian Mystic Poet, Attar — 2010 Lois Roth Persian Translation Award for "Sin: Selected Poems of Forugh Farrokhzad" — Midwest Book Award for "The Forbidden--Poems from Iran and Its Exiles" — "Peace through the Arts" award, Artists Embassy International (2005) — First and second prize in poetry, Soul-Making Literary Competition from The National League of American Pen Women (2003)

More Information

Listed as: 
Gives readings: 
Travels for readings: 
Identifies as: 
Iranian American
Prefers to work with: 
Fluent in: 
English, Persian
Born in: 
Raised in: 
Tehran and Couva(Trinidad), NONE
Please note: All information in the Directory is provided by the listed writers or their representatives.
Last updated: Nov 18, 2017