Women Poets Iranica:
Editorial Board

Dominic Parviz Brookshaw

Dominic Parviz Brookshaw is Professor of Persian Literature and Iranian Culture at the University of Oxford, and Senior Research Fellow in Persian at Wadham College, Oxford. He has served on the editorial boards of both Iranian Studies and Middle Eastern Literatures and is a former member of both the Governing Council of the British Institute of Persian Studies and the Council of the Association for Iranian Studies. He has published widely on premodern Persian lyric poetry, women writers of the Qajar era, and twentieth-century Iranian poets. His most recent book, Hafiz and His Contemporaries: Poetry, Performance, and Patronage in Fourteenth-century Iran (I.B. Tauris, 2019), won the Saidi-Sirjani Book Award in 2020.

Rouhangiz Karachi

Rohangiz Karachi is an associate professor in the Department of Literature, Institute for Humanities and Cultural Studies, Tehran. Her PhD thesis was titled “A Review of the Poetry of Modern Poetesses from the Period of Constitution in Iran.” She has published six books and more than forty articles, mainly about women and poets. Her first poems were published in 1970, and her first volume of poetry, titled Bā kābūs'hā-yi zan (Women’s Nightmares) was published by Murgh-i Āmīn in 1998.” Her second collection of poetry, Chashmhā-yi lūch-i zamīn (Cross-Eyed Earth), was published in 2001 by Nigāh-i Sabz. Her poems have appeared in various magazines and anthologies. She is also the author the following monographs: Andīshah nigārān-i zan dar shiʻr-i mashrūtah (An Inquiry into the Poems of Thoughtful Poetesses during the Constitutional Period) (Dānishgāh-i al-Zahrā, 1995); Furūgh, yāghī-i maghmūm (Furūgh, the Sorrowful Rebel) (Rāhiyān-i Andīshah, 1997); and Parvīn Iʻtisāmī : hamrāh bā kitābʹshināsī-i tawsīfī (A Descriptive Bibliography of Parvīn Iʻtisāmī (Dāstānʹsarā, 2004).

Fatemeh Keshavarz

Fatemeh Keshavarz is a professor of Persian literature and the director of the School of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at the University of Maryland. She completed her studies at Shiraz University and at the University of London. She taught at Washington University in St. Louis for over twenty years, where she chaired the Department of Asian and Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from 2004 to 2011. In 2012, Keshavarz joined the University of Maryland as the Roshan Institute Chair in Persian Language and Literature, and director of the Roshan Institute Center for Persian Studies. Keshavarz is the author of several award-winning books, including Reading Mystical Lyric: The Case of Jalal al-Din Rumi (University of South Carolina Press, 1998), Recite in the Name of the Red Rose (University of South Carolina Press, 2006), and a book of literary analysis and social commentary titled Jasmine and Stars: Reading More Than Lolita in Tehran (University of North Carolina Press, 2007). She has also published other books and numerous journal articles. Keshavarz is a published poet in Persian and English and an activist for peace and justice. She was invited to speak at the United Nations General Assembly on the significance of cultural education. Her National Public Radio show, “The Ecstatic Faith of Rumi,” earned her the Peabody Award in 2008. In the same year, she received the Herschel Walker Peace and Justice Award.

Zuzanna Olszewska

Zuzanna Olszewska is an associate professor in the social anthropology of the Middle East at the University of Oxford. She specializes in the ethnography of Iran and Afghanistan, with a focus on Afghan refugees in Iran, the Persian-speaking Afghan diaspora, and the anthropology of literature and cultural production. She received her doctorate in social anthropology from the University of Oxford, and has held post-doctoral fellowships at St. John’s College (junior research fellowship, 2008–12) and the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE Fellow in Anthropology, 2012–13). Her doctoral research was published as The Pearl of Dari: Poetry and Personhood among Young Afghans in Iran (Indiana University Press, 2015), an ethnographic inquiry into how poetic activity reflects changes in youth subjectivity in an Afghan refugee community, based on work with an Afghan cultural organization in Mashhad, Iran. The book won the 2016 Houshang Pourshariati Iranian Studies Book Award from the Middle East Studies Association and the 2017 Middle East Section Book Award of the American Anthropological Association.

Leila Rahimi Bahmany

Leila Rahimi Bahmany is a Historical Studies Visitor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. She completed her doctorate at the Free University of Berlin. Her first book is titled Mirrors of Entrapment and Emancipation: Forugh Farrokhzad and Sylvia Plath (Leiden University Press, 2015), and it was the recipient of a 2016 Latifeh Yarshater Award. The book juxtaposes the highly ambivalent essence of the mirror metaphor in the poetry of Forugh Farrokhzad with that imagery in the oeuvre of Sylvia Plath. The interpretive prowess of the study reinforces the inseparable dynamics of the culturally established configurations of a woman’s self-image and her voice. Her main fields of interest are women’s literature and feminist literary theory and criticism. She has authored several book chapters and encyclopedia articles on Persian literature and Sufism, as well as on Azerbaijani intellectuals. Currently, she is working on her second monograph, dealing with the life and literary works of a modern Iranian female writer, Simin Daneshvar. The monograph aims to present a thorough study of Daneshvar’s biography and her fictional narratives. She also studies modern prose narratives from Iran written in Azeri Turkish.

Photo credit: Andrea Kane, Institute for Advanced Study

Fatemeh Shams

Fatemeh Shams is a professor of modern Persian literature at the University of Pennsylvania. She has also taught Persian language and literature at various academic institutions in the United Kingdom, including the University of Oxford, the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and the Courtauld Institute of Art. Her work focuses on the intersection of literature, politics, and society. Shams is interested in the evolution of poetry and patronage in the Persian literary tradition and the representation and transformation of this relationship in modern Iran. She has published articles and book chapters on poetry, patronage, and politics in the Iranian context. Her book, A Revolution in Rhyme: Poetic Co-option under the Islamic Republic (Oxford University Press, 2020), deals with poets and patrons in Iran. She was awarded the Humboldt Foundation Fellowship to join the Forum Transregionale Studien in Berlin in order to embark on a book project on exile and exilic writing in the Persian tradition. Shams is also an internationally acclaimed, award-winning poet who has published three collections of poetry in Persian and in English. Her first collection, 88 (Gardoon, 2012), won the Jaleh Esfahani Poetry Award in London. Her third bilingual collection, When They Broke Down the Door (Mage, 2015), won a Latifeh Yarshater Book Award in 2016. Her poetry and translations have been featured in World Literature Today, the Michigan Quarterly Review, Life and Legends, Poetry Foundation, Jacket 2, Penn Sound, and more. The Mirror of My Heart: A Thousand Years of Persian Poetry by Women (Penguin, 2021) features a number of her poems.

Sunil Sharma

Sunil Sharma is Professor of Persianate & Comparative Literature at Boston University. His areas of research are premodern Persian and South Asian literatures, specifically poetry and court cultures, history of the book, and travel writing. His last book, Mughal Arcadia: Persian Poetry in an Indian Court (Harvard University Press, 2017) is a study of early modern Persianate literature. The output of a multi-year project entitled “Veiled Voyagers: Muslim Women Travelers from Asia and the Middle East” with Siobhan Lambert-Hurley and Daniel Majchrowicz was recently published as Three Centuries of Travel Writing by Muslim Women (Indiana University Press, 2022). The book recovers, translates, and analyzes Muslim women’s travel writing from a range of languages in order to draw out the gendered relationships that inhere between travel and Muslim identities, nationalism, and the shaping of global power. Sharma was the president of the Association for the Study of Persianate Societies (ASPS).

Yidan Wang

Yidan Wang, professor of Persian language and literature, also serves as the director of the Institute of Iranian Culture Studies at Peking University. Her main research interests focus on classical Persian literature and the cultural exchanges between China and Iran from the tenth century, especially during the Mongol-Yuan period. Her publications include Tarikh-i Chin az Jami‘ al-Tavarikh (in Persian), A Study and Collated Translation of Rashid al-Din’s History of China in Jami‘ al- Tavarikh (in Chinese), the Chinese translations of Iranian Folktales, Rumi’s Masnavi-yi Ma‘navi (vol. 4), and Omar Khayyam’s Rubaiyat. She has also published more than thirty articles on Persian literature or on the cross-cultural communications between China and Iran.

Sholeh Wolpé

Sholeh Wolpé is an Iranian-American poet, playwright, and librettist. She is the recipient of a PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grant, a Midwest Book Award, and the Lois Roth Persian Translation Prize. Her publications number over twelve collections of poetry, translations, and anthologies, as well as several plays. Her most recent book, Abacus of Loss: A Memoir in Verse, was chosen by The Mary Sue magazine as one of “8+ Beautiful, Contemporary Novels Written in Verse That Make Poetry Accessible,” and was hailed by Colorado Review as a book that “examines the masks of patriarchy in powerful metaphor and narrative.”

Wolpé's translations of the twelfth-century Sufi mystic poet, Attar, The Conference of the Birds (W.W. Norton & Company), and of the twentieth-century Iranian rebel poet Forugh Farrokhzad, Sin: Selected Poems of Forugh Farrokhzad (University of Arkansas Press), have garnered awards and established Wolpé as a celebrated re-creator of Persian poetry in English.

Most recently, her play SHAME was featured in New Iranian Plays, published by Aurora Metro books (2022). Wolpé wrote the libretto for an oratorio, “The Conference of the Birds,” and a multi-genre performance, “The Seven Valleys,” which premiered, respectively, at the Broad Stage and the Getty Villa Museum in 2022. “Song of Exile,” for The Arlington Chorale, will premiere in Virginia in 2023.

Sholeh has lived in Iran, Trinidad, and the United Kingdom and is currently a writer-in-residence at the University of California, Irvine. She performs her literary work solo and with musicians internationally. She divides her time between Los Angeles and Barcelona.

Claudia Yaghoobi

Claudia Yaghoobi is Roshan Institute Associate Professor and director of the Center for the Middle East and Islamic Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Yaghoobi is a scholar of Iranian cultural studies, and gender and sexuality studies with a focus on the members of sexual, ethnic, and religious minoritized populations. She is the author of “Transnational Culture in the Iranian Armenian Diaspora” (forthcoming, Edinburgh University Press, 2023), Temporary Marriage in Iran: Gender and Body Politics in Modern Persian Literature and Film (Cambridge University Press, 2020), and Subjectivity in ‘Attar, Persian Sufism, and European Mysticism (Purdue University Press, 2017). She received her PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 2013. She teaches courses on Iranian literature and culture, Middle Eastern literature, gender and sexuality, diaspora studies, and human rights. As an Iranian-Armenian-American, Yaghoobi’s research concerns the literature of the Middle East with a special focus on Persian and Armenian literature. Within Persian literature and culture, her focus is on the members of sexual, ethnic, and religious minority populations, ones marginalized by normative society. Her work addresses the embodiments of liminality through which authors, artists, and directors challenge and critique social hegemonies. Her first monograph, Subjectivity in ‘Attar, reassesses the significance of the concept of transgression and construction of subjectivity within select works of the medieval Persian Sufi poet Farid al-Din ‘Attar Nishapuri (1145-1221). She traces the intersections of transgression, law, inclusion and exclusion, self and the other, in ʿAttar’s treatment of class, gender, sexuality, and religion. Her second monograph, Temporary Marriage in Iran, examines the representation of sigheh (temporary marriage) in modern Iranian cultural productions. However, the book moves beyond the literary and cinematic realms and examines in depth a rather controversial social institution that has been the subject of disdain for many Iranian feminists, and that has captured the imagination of many Western observers. Her third book, “Transnational Culture,” examines the various creative ways that Iranian-Armenian authors and artists, as members of religious and cultural minority populations of Iran and later in the diaspora in the United States, craft and negotiate a unique notion of self—one that is at odds with the wish to be integrated into mainstream society—while maintaining ties with the homeland.