Department of English


Jennifer Grotz

Research Interests

Jennifer Grotz’s most recent book of poems, ;The Needle, explores both Polish and American twentieth-century poetry and its traditions. According to a Washington Postreview (4/20/11), "Where many writers look inward and mine their private landscapes, Grotz sees the objects and scenes around her. . . . Attentiveness brings her poems—and the world—alive. . . . Grotz's perspective makes her work feel objective and insightful, even when she writes about family tragedies. Her ability to balance artistry and emotion results in buoyant poetry." The Needle was named as one of the best five books of poetry published in 2011 by NPR; it was also named the 2012 Best Book of Poetry by the Texas Institute of Letters.

Her previous collection, Cusp, is informed by the phraseentre chien et loup, between dog and wolf, which is a French colloquialism for twilight. It signifies a brief instant in the blue light of dusk when the dog, who roams during the day, is about to retreat and when the wolf, who roams at night, just begins to come out. Cusp is a book about being in a kind of middleness, and it is also a book that aims to locate itself in terms of a literary tradition. The longest poem in the book, “Arrival in Rome,” for instance, is an imitation of Keats’s “Ode to a Nightingale” and grapples with the anxiety of influence of a young woman poet. While the poems in Cusp portray the world as divided, the poetic project of the book is to locate a cusp, a "now" moment between past and future, between domestic and foreign, between the random and the inevitable.

Her newest book, The Psalms of All My Days, is a book of translations from the French of the poet Patrice de La Tour du Pin.

Fellowships, Honors & Awards

  • Helen C. Smith Best Book of Poetry Award, Texas Institute of Letters, 2012
  • Assistant Director of the Bread Loaf Writers Conference
  • Faculty, Warren Wilson MFA Program
  • Consulting Poetry Editor, Born Magazine (
  • Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Award
  • Writing Fellowship, Camargo Foundation, Cassis, France
  • Residency Fellowship, Vermont Studio Center
  • New Writing Award, Fellowship of Southern Writers
  • Administrative Director, Krakow Poetry Seminar, 2001-2007
  • Natalie Ornish Poetry Prize for Best First Book, Texas Institute of Arts and Letters
  • Individual Artist Grant, Cultural Arts Council of Houston
  • Translation Award, American Translators Association
  • Katherine Bakeless Nason Poetry Prize for Cusp, chosen by Yusef Komunyakaa
  • Prague Summer Program Fellowship in Poetry
  • Individual Artist Fellowship, Oregon Arts Commission
  • Pushcart Prize, 2011
  • Poems included in Best American Poetry anthologies for 2000, 2009, and 2011

Courses Offered (subject to change)

  • Courses in poetry writing, modern and contemporary American and European poetry, and the art of translation

Selected Publications

  • Psalms of All My Days (translated from the French of Patrice de La Tour du Pin), Carnegie Mellon 2013
  • The Needle, Houghton Mifflin 2011
  • Cusp, Houghton Mifflin 2003
  • Not Body (letterpress chapbook), Urban Editions 2001
  • Poems published in journals and anthologies such as New England Review, Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, Tri-Quarterly, American Poetry Review, Poetry Daily, and Best American Poetry 2000, 2009, and 2011 (Scribner's)
  • Translations from the French and Polish published in journals and anthologies such as Ploughshares, Poetry International, Tri-Quarterly, Antioch Review, Agni Online, Circumference, and New European Poets (Graywolf Press 2008)
  • Essays and reviews published in journals and newspapers such as Virginia Quarterly Review, Boston Review, Gulf Coast, Indiana Review, and The Washington Post