He is the author of four poetry books: Haji as Puppet: An Orientalist Burlesque, (Word Works. 2017). Winner of 2016 Tenth Gate Prize for Mid-Career Poets, Foot Faults: Tennis Poems (David Robert Books, 2016), Ghazal Games (Ohio UP, 2011), and Dear Regime: Letters to the Islamic Republic, which won Ohio University Press’s 2007 Hollis Summers’ Prize, (David Lehman, judge).

Also an Iranian-American scholar and translator, his most recent academic book is Emerson in Iran: the American Appropriation of Persian Poetry (SUNY Press, 2019). He is co-author and translator of Nature and Nostalgia in the Poetry of Nader Naderpour (Cambria, 2017). His renderings of classical and contemporary Persian verse have appeared in such journals as Poetry, Brooklyn Rail, and Michigan Quarterly Review. He is a 2015 recipient of the Willis Barnstone Prize for Literary Translation.

Roger teaches creative writing (poetry and literary translation) in the MFA program as well as 19th and 20th century American literature and transnational (Middle Eastern-American literature) in the English department at Queens College, City University of New York.



Emerson in Iran: The American Appropriation of Persian Poetry

Examines the impact of Persian poetry in the work of Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Emerson in Iran is the first full-length study of Persian influence in the work of the seminal American poet, philosopher, and translator, Ralph Waldo Emerson. Extending the current trend in transnational studies back to the figural origins of both the United States and Iran, Roger Sedarat’s insightful 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, Sedarat exposes the development of 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.

Roger Sedarat is Associate Professor of English at Queens College, City University of New York. His books include Haji as Puppet: An Orientalist Burlesque and Ghazal Games: Poems.


Haji as Puppet: An Orientalist Burlesque

Winner of 2016 Tenth Gate Prize
Cover Art by Nicky Nodjoumi

What do you get when you cross political theater with poetry with growing up Iranian-American in Texas? This surprising and unique collection of poems, Haji As Puppet. Roger Sedarat’s fourth book shows the genius of full-throated political commentary when its reigning restraints are linguistic skill and uproarious humor.

“Roger Sedarat has created what I consider one of the greatest masterpieces of the Iranian-American canon. Haji as Puppet is a psychedelic romp through ancient Persian psyche all the way through modern Iranian hellscapes via the American imagination. This piercing Middle Eastern minstrelsy is unapologetically raw in its collisions with race, gender, sexuality, and pop culture. Sedarat truly understands the punk soul of Persian satire, and the way conviviality lives with calamity and pandemonium razes ritual. This is not your baba’s Rumi–and thank goodness!” –-Porochista Khakpour


Nature and Nostalgia in the Poetry of Nader Naderpour

Co-Auhtored with Rouhollah Zarei

As a representative twentieth-century Persian poet, Nader Naderpour effectively begins to challenge the distance between reader and text. Using common language to reach his audience in a colloquial voice, he nevertheless retains a nostalgic relationship to nature through vividly accessible images. In this respect he seems to embody an ongoing transition to modern poetics in Iran. His sensibility to nature especially affords a way of understanding in English translation both his own specific work, as well as the complex country from which it derives.


Foot Faults: Tennis Poems

First Published Collection of Tennis Poems

A completely unique read. Foot Faults: Tennis Poems is funny and insightful. Not just for tennis players but for anyone that likes to find humor and meaning in new challenges.

“These poems give delightful shape and concision to every thought — stray, deep-felt, nagging — you’ve had as a tennis player. Read them, recognize yourself, and smile.” — Gerald Marzorati, author of Late to the Ball: Age. Learn. Fight. Love.  Play Tennis. Win and former editor of New York Times Magazine.


Ghazal Games

Western and Eastern Reinvention of the Ghazal.

For its humor as well as its spirituality, the poems in this collection can perhaps best be described as “Wallace Stevens meets Rumi.” Perhaps most striking is the poet’s use of the ancient ghazal form in the tradition of the classical masters like Hafez and Rumi to politically challenge the Islamic Republic of Iran’s continual crackdown on protesters. Not since the late Agha Shahid Ali has a poet translated the letter as well as the spirit of this form into English, using musicality and inventive rhyme to extend the reach of the ghazal in a new language and tradition.

“These poems are to be savored in their audacity — in turn witty, erotic, ludic, learned, engaged. Roger Sedarat’s ghazals bridge the form’s (and the poet’s) Persian sources to American demotic language, and open couplet windows on transnational reality.”
— Marilyn Hacker, winner of the National Book Award and author of Names: Poems


Dear Regime:

Letters to the Islamic Republic

Winner of Ohio University Press’s Hollis Summers’ Prize

Written in a style that is as sure-footed as it is experimental, Dear Regime: Letters to the Islamic Republic confronts the past and current injustices of the Iranian government while retaining a sense of respect and admiration for the country itself. Woven into this collection are the author’s vivid descriptions of the landscape as well as the people of Iran. Throughout, Sedarat exhibits a keen appreciation for the literary tradition of Iran, and in making it new, attempts to preserve the culture of a country he still claims as his own.




Department of English
Queens College, City University of New York
65-30 Kissena Blvd. ,
Flushing NY, 11367