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Rooftops of Tehran Paperback

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Red Hen Press; 1 edition (March 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597091103
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597091107
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,356,140 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


In Rooftops of Tehran Sholeh Wolpé condemns injustices through the highlighted experiences of others – especially women – by bringing into focus realities that are difficult to comprehend even from the safe distance of Anchorage, Seattle, Los Angeles, New York, or London. Wolpé walks an internal-external tightrope that is made all the more powerful when held against the tidal tensions between Washington and Tehran. But the context is impossible to ignore, and largely because of the beauty Sholeh Wolpé draws from within it, Rooftops of Tehran is an uncommon achievement in contemporary American poetry – it is a book that actually matters.

–Jeremy Edward Shiok

"In a world where cultures and religions are recklessly facing off,
Sholeh Wolpe writes careful poems that cast a light on some
of what we all hold in common."   Billy Collins


Sholeh Wolpé’s Rooftops of Tehran is that truly rare event: an important book of poetry. Brushing against the grain of Persian-Islamic culture, she sings a deep affection for what she ruffles. Her righteous aversion to male oppression is as broad as the span from Tehran to LA, as deep as a wise woman’s heart. This is a powerful, elegant book.
—Richard Katrovas, author of Prague Winters and The Years of Smashing Bricks

In Sholeh Wolpé’s Rooftops of Tehran, an unforgettable cast of characters emerges, from the morality policeman with the poison razor blade to the crow-girls flapping their black garments, from the woman with the bee-swarm tattoo emerging from her crotch to the author as a young girl on a Tehran rooftop with a God’s eye view “hovering above a city / where beatings, cheating, prayers, songs, / and kindness are all one color’s shades.” Here is a delicious book of poems, redolent of saffron and stained with pomegranate in its vision of Iran and of the immigrant life in California. Wolpe’s poems are at once humorous, sad and sexy, which is to say that they are capriciously human, human even in that they dream of wings and are always threatening to take flight.
—Tony Barnstone, award winning poet and translator, author of The Golem of Los Angeles

A stark and wondrous journey through and beyond the worlds looming on top of the aching roofs of Tehran, the poems in this collection are as vibrant as they are brave. Sholeh Wolpé poetry proves to be rumination, prayer, song. This book is an irresistible unrest.
—Nathalie Handal, author of The Lives of Rain and co-editor of Language for a New Century: ContemporaryPoetry from the Middle East, Asia & Beyond

About the Author

Sholeh Wolpé is the author of Sin—Selected Poems of Forugh Farrokhzad  (University of Arkansas Press), Rooftops of Tehran (Red Hen Press), The Scar Saloon (Red Hen Press), Shame (a play in three acts) and a Poetry CD (Refuge Studios). Her Poems, translations, essays, and reviews have appeared in scores of literary journals, periodicals and anthologies worldwide, and have been translated into several languages. She was born in Iran and presently lives in Los Angeles, California.

More About the Author

Sholeh Wolpé is an award-winning poet, literary translator and writer. Born in Iran, she has lived in Trinidad, the UK, and the United States.

Her publications include three collections of poetry,two books of translations,and three anthologies.

In 2010, Ms. Wolpe was awarded the Lois Roth Translation Prize for Sin: Selected Poems of Forugh Farrokhzad.

Her poems, translations, essays and reviews have appeared in scores of literary journals, periodicals and anthologies worldwide, and been translated into several languages. For more information about Sholeh Wolpe please visit:

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By T. Ejtemai on March 15, 2010
Format: Paperback
Wolpe's poetry is beautifully written, without pomp and arrogance. I couldn't put it down, nor did I want to. She writes in a voice with which people can truly identify, regardless of race, nationality, gender, or creed. She speaks from the heart with familiarity and eloquence all at the same time, creating a volume of poetry accessible to the masses.
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