Roger Sedarat is an Iranian-American 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. He received a large grant from the Atlantic Philanthropies Director/Employee Designated Artist Gift Fund to develop his latest collection into a staged dramatic performance that challenges the Western Orientalist gaze toward the Middle East.
The winner of the 2015 Willis Barnstone Prize in Translation, he has published renderings of classical and modern Persian poetry in such journals as Poetry, Brooklyn Rail, World Literature Today, and Michigan Quarterly Review. 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 (Cambria, 2017).
Like his original poetry, his scholarship focuses on hybrid crossings of Persian and other Middle-Eastern writing with American literature. His book Emerson in Iran: the American Appropriation of Persian Poetry (SUNY Press, 2019) is the first full-length study of Persian influence in the work of the seminal American poet, philosopher, and translator. Fusing his academic specialty in 19th century American poetry with his Iranian background and interest in literary translation, his comparative readings of Platonism and Sufi mysticism reveal how Emerson managed to reconcile through verse two countries so seemingly different in religion and philosophy. By tracking various rhetorical strategies through a close interrogation of Emerson’s own writings on language and literary appropriation, he exposes a latent but considerable translation theory in the American literary tradition. He further shows how generative Persian poetry becomes during Emerson’s nineteenth century, and how such formative effects continue to influence contemporary American poetry and verse translation.
After receiving his BA at the University of Texas-Austin in Sociology/Philosophy and an MA in English/Creative Writing at Queens College, he completed a PhD in English at Tufts University. His doctoral dissertation examining the figuration of New England history in the poetry of Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, Wallace Stevens, and Robert Lowell culminated in the publication of New England Landscape History in American Poetry: a Lacanian View (Cambria, 2011).
Creative Writing (poetry), Literary Translation (theory and praxis), the American Renaissance, 19th and 20th century American Poetry, and Middle Eastern-American Literature
Recent Courses Taught
ENG 758: MFA Thesis Workshop
ENG 757: MFA Translation Workshop
ENG 351: Nineteenth Century American Literature
ENG 301: Advanced Poetry Workshop
ENG 244: Theory
Poetry: Haji as Puppet: an Orientalist Burlesque (Word Works, 2017), winner of the 2016 Tenth Gate Prize for a Mid-Career poet; Ghazal Games (Ohio UP, 2011).
Translation: English renderings of classical and modern Persian verse in Michigan Quarterly Review, Poetry, and World Literature Today; The Unsaid: Nature and Nostalgia in the Poetry of Nader Naderpour (Cambria 2017).
Scholarship: Emerson in Iran: the American Appropriation of Persian Poetry (SUNY, 2019); “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.
Fellowship to Obama Institute for Transnational American Studies, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany (2020); President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching by Full-Time Faculty (2019); Word Works’ Tenth Gate Prize for a Mid-Career Poet, Haji as Puppet: an Orientalist Burlesque (2016, Leslie McGrath, judge)
Spam prevention powered by Akismet