Rigoberto González interviews Roger Sedarat

A discussion of Roger Sedarat’s Dear Regime: Letters to the Islamic Republic – poems. Sedarat:

The two respective governments of Iran and America certainly tend to speak and act in terms of rigid dichotomies. You know…like President George W. Bush’s infamous warning to nations of the world that “You’re either for us or against us.” On the whole, the speaker in this book is positioned like the majority of Iranians who love their country yet resent its leadership (I think a lot of Americans have felt the same way). …

As for the American side of the room, the book obviously is for them too. I want them to experience the kind of disorientation—through humor, form, and disparate subject matter (popular culture juxtaposed with ancient tradition, western paired with eastern sensibility, etc.)—that makes Iran more of a complex country than they see represented in the media. More than anything, I want to challenge the Orientalist gaze fixated on the veil (in this case the Iranian chador). I tried to do this in the book by setting up then violating expectations. Also, as grave as the situation appears in the Middle East, I want my American audience to understand that Iranians especially have a tremendous sense of humor, as well as deep sense of the poetic tradition.

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