poem index


Jennifer Grotz

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Jennifer Grotz

Jennifer Grotz was born in Canyon, Texas, in 1971. She received a BA from Tulane University in 1993, an MFA from Indiana University in 1996, and a PhD from the University of Houston in 2005.

She is the author of Window Left Open (Graywolf Press, 2016); The Needle (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011), named the 2012 Best Book of Poetry by the Texas Institute of Letters; and Cusp (Mariner Books, 2003), winner of the Katherine Bakeless Nason Poetry Prize. She is also the translator of Psalms of All My Days (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2015) by Patrice de La Tour du Pin.

Henri Cole writes, “I admire the solemn precision of her poems. Her mind thinking—about life and art, about landscape and love, about loneliness and loss—illuminates everything it touches.”

Grotz is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. She currently serves as the assistant director of the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conferences, and she teaches at the University of Rochester and Warren Wilson College. She lives in Rochester, New York.

Selected Bibliography

Window Left Open (Graywolf Press, 2016)
The Needle (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011)
Cusp (Mariner Books, 2003)

by this poet

Driving alone at night, the world’s pitch, black velvet 
stapled occasionally by red tail lights
on the opposite highway but otherwise mild 
panic when the eyes’ habitual check 
produces nothing at all in the rearview mirror,
a black blank, now nothing exists 
but the dotted white lines of the road, 
and the car
        "When your eyes have done their part, 
        Thought must length it in the heart."
           —Samuel Daniel

. . . Thought lengths it, pulls 
an invisible world through 
a needle's eye 
one detail at a time,

beginning with 
the glint of blond down 
on his knuckle as he
What had been treacherous the first time 
had become second nature, releasing 
the emergency brake, then rolling backwards 
in little bursts, braking the whole way down
the long steep drive. Back then 
we lived on the top of a hill.
I was