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The Arts

Professor Jennifer Grotz receives fellowship for literary translation studies

 Jennifer Grotz
Jennifer Grotz

Jennifer Grotz, professor of English and the director of the University of Rochester’s translation studies program, has been awarded a Literary Translation Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Grotz is one of 20 fellows awarded an arts grant for a translation project by the NEA in 2016, selected from a pool of more than 90 applicants. Her fellowship will support the English translation of several poems by the Polish writer Jerzy Ficowski as part of a collaboration with poet and translator Piotr Sommer.

“Receiving a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts is truly one of the highest forms of affirmation a writer or artist can aspire to,” said Grotz. “Not only am I grateful for the support this fellowship gives me as a translator, I’m also tremendously grateful for the time it will give me to translate an essential body of work by a major 20th-century writer still almost completely unknown in the United States.”

According to Grotz, Ficowksi’s poetry is centered on the ideas of freedom, suffering, and persecution, a result of his politically active past. In the author’s younger years, he was an active human rights advocate and part of the underground movement to destabilize Nazi rule in Poland. Instead of focusing on his own history, much of his work is focused on Roma, Jewish, and gypsy suffering in Poland. He is also renowned for his biography of Bruno Schulz, known as the “Polish Kafka.”

“The NEA is committed to providing Americans with diverse art experiences,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “Our support of literary translation provides opportunities for readers to expand their knowledge of other cultures and traditions while also experiencing some of the world’s most talented writers.”

Since 1981, the organization has awarded 410 fellowships to 363 translators, with translations representing 66 languages and 77 countries.

Grotz joined Rochester’s English department in 2009 and teaches courses in poetry, creative writing, and translation studies. In addition, she is the poetry editor of Open Letter Books — the University’s press for translated literature — and the director of the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference in Middlebury, Vermont.

Her most recent book of poems, The Needle, explores both Polish and American 20th-century poetry and its traditions. Grotz’s forthcoming projects include the English translation of Rochester Knockings, by French author Hubert Haddad.  The novel chronicles the rise and fall of Rochester’s infamous mediums, the Fox sisters, and the origins of the Spiritualist movement. Her third book of poetry, Window Left Open, is also forthcoming in February 2016 from Graywolf Press.

For the complete list of 2016 NEA Literature Translation Fellows, visit the NEA’s website at

About the NEA

Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. For more information, visit the NEA at

About the University of Rochester

The University of Rochester ( is one of the nation’s leading private universities. Located in Rochester, N.Y., the University gives students exceptional opportunities for interdisciplinary study and close collaboration with faculty through its unique cluster-based curriculum. Its College, School of Arts and Sciences, and Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences are complemented by its Eastman School of Music, Simon School of Business, Warner School of Education, Laboratory for Laser Energetics, School of Medicine and Dentistry, School of Nursing, Eastman Institute for Oral Health, and the Memorial Art Gallery.

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