Roger Sedarat is a poet, translator, and Americanist scholar. He is the author of four poetry collections, Dear Regime: Letters to the Islamic Republic, which won Ohio UP’s 2007 Hollis Summers’ Prize, Ghazal Games (Ohio UP, 2011), Foot Faults: Tennis Poems (David Roberts, 2016), and Haji as Puppet: an Orientalist Burlesque (Word Works, 2017), which won the Tenth Gate Prize for Mid-Career Poets.
The winner of the 2015 Willis Barnstone Prize in Translation, his renderings of classical and modern Persian poetry have appeared in such journals as Poetry, Brooklyn Rail, World Literature Today, Arroyo, and Aldus. An excerpt from a longer translation project of diaries from women prisoners in Iran has appeared in Guernica: A Journal of Arts and Politics. Other translation publications include extensive renderings of classical Persian poetry in Trent Reedy’s Words in the Dust (Arthur A. Levine, 2011), the chapbook Eco-Logic of the Word Lamb: translations/imitations (Ghost Bird Press, 2016), and The Unsaid: Nature and Nostalgia in the Poetry of Nader Naderpour (forthcoming, Cambria).
Like his original poetry, his scholarship focuses on hybrid crossings of Persian as well as other Middle-Eastern writing with American literature. Fusing his academic speciality in 19th and 20th century American poetry with his Iranian background and interest in literary translation, he has recently returned to Ralph Waldo Emerson’s preoccupation with the poetry of Iran through German intermediary renderings. Conference presentations and a chapter publication focus on how Emerson as early poet-translator anticipates Ezra Pound in shaping an American poetics from the appropriation of foreign literary traditions.
After receiving his BA at the University of Texas-Austin and an MA in English/Creative Writing at Queens College, he completed a PhD in English at Tufts University. His doctoral dissertation examines the figuration of New England history in the poetry of Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, Wallace Stevens, and Robert Lowell. Much of his creative writing as an Iranian-American poet involves the connection of his Middle-Eastern background to the American literary tradition, adapting Persian themes and forms into English. His creative interests include using humor, interdisciplinary performance, politics, literary/cultural theory, translation, and popular culture to violate aesthetic expectations and hegemonic English/American influence. He is currently working on a full-length book of translations of verse by a contemporary postmodern Iranian poet, as well as an academic book project, Emerson in Iran: the American Appropriation of Persian Poetry.
Professor Sedarat’s current research interests include Creative Writing (poetry), Literary Translation (theory and praxis), 19th and 20th century American Poetry, and Middle Eastern-American Literature
Poetry: Ghazal Games (Ohio UP, 2011) and Haji as Puppet: an Orientalist Burlesque (Word Works, 2017).
Translation: English renderings of ghazals by Hafez in Aldus: a Journal of Literary Translation, modern Persian verse in The Unsaid: Nature and Nostalgia in the Poetry of Nader Naderpour (forthcoming, Cambria), and postmodern verse in Poetry.
Scholarship: “Middle Eastern-American Literature: A Contemporary Turn in Emerson Studies.” A Power to Translate the World: New Essays on Emerson and International Culture, Ed. David LaRocca & Ricardo Miguel-Alfonso, Series Ed. Donald E. Pease. University Press of New England/Dartmouth College Press, 2015. 310-325.
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