Honored as this year’s Florie Gale Arons Poet, alumna Jennifer Grotz got the chance to revisit her roots at Tulane University in September 2016.
Grotz is a 1993 graduate of Newcomb College.
“I feel like I became a poet here,” said Grotz.
“The world needs poetry; there’s never been a society or culture or language without it.”
— Jennifer Grotz, 2016 Florie Gale Arons Poet
A professor of English at the University of Rochester, Grotz has written three books of poetry and has been published in The New Yorker, Poetry and The New Republic.
The celebrated poet is also known for her French and Polish translation work.
“I translated a book of contemporary psalms by Patrice de La Tour du Pin from French, and I also recently published a novel that I translated from French by Tunisian-born writer Hubert Haddad,” said Grotz.
“I always find inspiration from reading in French and Polish traditions, but my new book of poetry was largely influenced by spending time at this former Franciscan monastery in the Alps,” she said.
Grotz’s work flourished at the annual writer’s retreat hosted by the former abbey located in the Alpes-Maritimes region of France. She spent a month there every summer over a six year period.
“I was deeply inspired there, and the landscape became a kind of vocabulary for my poetry,” said Grotz.
At an event organized by Newcomb College Institute, Grotz read selections from Window Left Open, the collection influenced by her summer sojourns, within the Woldenberg Art Center’s Freeman Auditorium.
Grotz described the event as a full circle experience, as she reminisced about attending many poetry readings as a Tulane student.
During her visit, Grotz also attended a community writing workshop and discussed poetry with professor of English Peter Cooley and his students.
When asked if she had words of wisdom for budding poets currently studying at Tulane, Grotz said, “The tried and true advice is read everything you can and not to give up because poetry seems old fashioned. The world needs poetry; there’s never been a society or culture or language without it.”