Breaking the Jaws of Silence


Sixty American Poets Speak to the World
Edited by Sholeh Wolpé
154 pages, 5.5 x 8.5
978-1-55728-629-1 (paper)
February 2013


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Through the support of PEN Center USA, Iranian American poet and translator Sholeh Wolpé has brought together sixty American poets to address the world through poems that not only meditate on the principles of freedom, justice, and tolerance but also boldly and directly address specific countries. Natasha Trethewey, Robert Bly, Rita Dove, Yusef Komunyakaa, Galway Kinnell, Philip Levine, Carolyn Forché, Billy Collins, Jorie Graham, Naomi Shihab Nye, and Quincy Troupe are just some of the poets whose work is gathered in this powerful new collection.

These poets speak out in the tradition of all poets who speak out in uprisings, seeking to change the landscape despite an environment of oppression, torture, and denial of basic human rights. All poems included were gifted to this anthology, which will benefit PEN Center USA’s Freedom to Write program.

Sholeh Wolpé is the author of three collections of poetry including Keeping Time with Blue Hyacinths and Rooftops of Tehran, and she is the editor of The Forbidden: Poems from Iran and Its Exiles and a regional editor of Tablet & Pen: Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East. Her books of translations include Sin: Poems of Forugh Farrokhzad, which was awarded the Lois Roth Persian Translations Award in 2010, and a Persian translation of Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself.

Editor website.

“A deeply humane and aesthetically exhilarating collection.”
—Robert Olen Butler, author of A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain

“A truly miraculous collection. Sholeh Wolpé has not only brought together some of the most prominent poets in the world today, she has created a work of both truth and beauty that gives voice to the voiceless across the globe.”
—Reza Aslan, author of No god but God and editor of Tablet & Pen

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