Jennifer Grotz of the University of Rochester Wins Poetry Translation Award

Jennifer Grotz, a professor of English at the University of Rochester in New York, is sharing the 2022 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation, which recognizes book-length translations of poetry from any language into English. She is sharing the award with Piotr Sommer, the Polish poet, critic, and editor, for their translation of the poetry collection Everything I Don’t Know (World Poetry Books, 2021) by Jerzy Ficowski.

Translating the poems in Everything I Don’t Know was a decade-long effort for Grotz and Sommer, who met when Sommer arrived as a visiting poet at the University of Rochester’s Skalny Center for Polish and Central European Studies. “Our collaboration came out of the great joy we discovered of reading and talking together about both Polish and American poetry,” said Professor Grotz.

Dr. Grotz and Sommer aimed to bring Ficowski’s most successful poems into English, but many proved challenging to render —“not only for his poetic and linguistic playfulness and invention with the Polish language, but also for the range of subject matter in his work, from ancient civilizations to Polish folklore and, most hauntingly, the Holocaust,” added Professor Grotz.

Professor Grotz is the author of three books of poetry including her latest collection Window Left Open (Graywolf Press, 2016)  She is also director of the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conferences.

Dr. Grotz s a graduate of Tulane University in New Orleans. She holds a master’s degree and a master of fine arts degree from Indiana University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Houston.

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