Jennifer Kwon Dobbs

Born in Wonju, Republic of Korea and adopted by a steelworker and homemaker in Oklahoma, Jennifer Kwon Dobbs is a poet, essayist, and scholar with interests in creative writing, critical adoption studies, Asian American literature, and Korean literary translation. She holds a BA in English with honors from Oklahoma State University, an MFA in Poetry from the University of Pittsburgh, and an MA in English/PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Southern California.

Her works include Paper Pavilion (2007), recipient of the White Pine Press Poetry Prize and the New England Poetry Club’s Sheila Motton Book Award; Interrogation Room (White Pine Press 2018), finalist for the Copper Nickel/Milkweed Jake Adam York Prize; and the chapbooks Notes from a Missing Person (Essay Press 2015); Necro Citizens (hochroth Verlag 2019); and Song of a Mirror, finalist for the Tupelo Press Snowbound Chapbook Award. Currently, she is co-editing Radical Kinships: An Anthology of Autocritical Writing with Dr. Jenny Heijun Wills, Lisa Moore, and Joshua Whitehead, and co-translating the poetry of Sámi writer Niilas Holmberg with Johanna Domokos.

Widely collaborative, Jennifer has partnered with composers, artists, documentary filmmakers, dance choreographers, and virtual reality programmers on a range of interdisciplinary projects that have premiered in Asia, Europe, and North America. In support of her writing and scholarship, she has received fellowships from the Jerome Foundation, Intermedia Arts, Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, Minnesota State Arts Board, among others.

Committed to local and transnational community building, Jennifer serves on the boards of Coffee House Press and Nodutdol’s Korean Education and Exposure Programs. Previously, she was a fellow of the Korea Policy Institute, an advisory board member of Adopsource, and the director of education and outreach for Truth and Reconciliation for the Adoption Community of Korea. With Dr. William Arce, she co-founded the writing curriculum for the USC Rossier School of Education’s SummerTIME college-access program.

For 20 years, she has taught students from LaGuardia Community College in New York to Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles to the Loft Mentor Series in Minneapolis. Her former students have been accepted to graduate or professional school at Columbia University, London School of Economics, University of California San Diego, University of Minnesota, University of Washington, Vanderbilt University, Yale University, and elsewhere.

Since 2008, she teaches at St. Olaf College where she is currently associate professor of creative writing and director of Race and Ethnic Studies. She lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota.