Jennifer Kwon Dobbs is Professor of English and Race, Ethnic, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Her teaching interests include poetry, poetics, creative nonfiction, Asian American literature, and critical ethnic studies.
Born in Wonju-si, Republic of Korea and adopted in Oklahoma, she is a first-generation college graduate and holds an MFA in poetry from the University of Pittsburgh and a MA in English/PhD in literature and creative writing from the University of Southern California. While at USC, she co-founded SummerTIME, a college-access writing program for inner-city high school students in Los Angeles. In 2008, she joined the St. Olaf faculty after previously teaching at Loyola Marymount University and the City University of New York.
Her books include Paper Pavillion (White Pine Press Poetry Prize, 2007), Interrogation Room (White Pine Press, 2018) mentioned in The New York Times and praised by World Literature Today for "a vigorous restlessness," and the chapbooks Notes from a Missing Person (Essay Press, 2015) and Necro Citizens (hochroth Verlag, 2019, German/English edition). She is also the editor of Multiverse: New and Selected Poems (White Pine Press, 2020) by Bulgarian-German poet Tzveta Sofronieva and co-editor of Futures: An AGNI Portfolio of Work in Translation with AGNI senior editor and nonfiction editor Shuchi Saraswat. With poet-scholar Johanna Domokos, Kwon Dobbs co-translated Northern Sámi poet Niillas Holmberg's Underfoot, a finalist for the 2020 Nordic Council Literature Prize, (White Pine Press, 2022). In fall 2022, she launched the German edition of Interrogation Room, co-translated by Irina Bondas and Felix Schiler and published as Vernehmungsraum (PalmArt Press), at the Frankfurt Book Fair.
Kwon Dobbs has received grants and awards for her writing, most recently the American-Scandinavian Foundation's Leif and Inger Sjöberg Prize for outstanding English translation and the Association of Asian American Studies Book Award for Distinguished Achievement in Creative Writing: Poetry. She is senior poetry editor of AGNI and serves on the board of the Twin Cities German Immersion School. She lives in Saint Paul.