rooftops of tehran

Red Hen Press (2008)

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“In Sholeh Wolpe’s Rooftops of Tehran, and 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, cheatings, 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

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Keeping Time with Blue Hyacinths

Published by the University of Arkansas Press (2013).

“A gifted Iranian-American poet beautifully explores love and the loss of love, beauty and war and the ghosts of the past.” –Shelf Awareness Magazine

“Like dreams peopled with healing clues, Wolpe’s poems are rich with surrealism and harmony, telling deep truths of women across cultures and languages.” –Annie Finch

“When Sholeh Wolpé asks ‘How hard is it to write a love song?’ she is reflecting on beauty and love in times of war and personal upheaval. She is reflecting on poetry’s absurd covenant with pain, loss, and violence–and its promise to find beauty through these human horrors. Her beautiful poems are at once sensual, meditative, raw in their honesty, and judicious in their fit use of language. This collection delights and disturbs, often in the very same poem.”

–Kwame Dawes


“Sholeh Wolpe’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 L.A., 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