Alex Niemi

Alex Niemi

Photo by Gregory J. Ongie


Alex Niemi is a poet and translator working from the French, Russian, and Spanish. She is the translator of For the Shrew by Anna Glazova (Zephyr Press, 2022) and The John Cage Experiences by Vincent Tholomé (Autumn Hill Books, 2020), as well as the author of the poetry chapbook Elephant (dancing girl press, 2020). Her poetry and translations have appeared in Asymptote, Columbia Journal, the Hopkins Review, the Los Angeles Review, andthe Offing,among other publications. She received her MFA in literary translation from the University of Iowa, where she was an Iowa Arts Fellow, and her BA in comparative literature and Romance languages from the University of Michigan.

Project Description

To support the translation from the Russian of the poetry collection Facial Calculation by Anna Glazova. Born in 1973, Glazova is a scholar, translator, author of six collections of poetry, and has taught at Northwestern University, Cornell University, Johns Hopkins University, Rutgers University, and most recently, Dartmouth College. Her work explores nature, time, space, and consciousness in tight, unrhymed lines. Her latest book, Facial Calculation, is dedicated to the memory of her teacher, Werner Hamacher, the German literary critic and theorist, and includes 70 poems that meditate on the differences between “countable” and “lived” time as manifested in writing.

I first encountered Anna Glazova’s poetry in Saint Petersburg while on winter break from the school where I was teaching in Vladimir. Like many translators, I arrive in literary cities with a half-empty suitcase, my primary goal to return home with a wonderful pile of books. On that trip, I purchased Glazova’s For the Shrew. I read it in one sitting on the train back to Vladimir, and wrote to her shortly thereafter, asking if I could translate it. This translation of Facial Calculation is part of our ongoing collaboration, now in its fifth year, with hopefully more to come.

As an early-career literary translator, winning a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts provides validation and allows me to make space for my translation practice. Forging a path as a literary translator is not easy financially, especially if poetry is your main genre. This grant will give me uninterrupted time to work on the manuscript, as well as allow me to travel to Germany (where Glazova currently resides) to collaborate with the author directly. I am grateful to the National Endowment for the Arts for giving me this opportunity to spend time on these complex poems and work toward cementing the presence of Anna Glazova in English.     

About Anna Glazova

Anna Glazova is a poet, scholar, and translator of the Russian diaspora. A laureate of the Andrei Bely Prize, Glazova is one of the most significant poets writing in Russian today, as well as an active member of the Russophone poetry community. In addition to her own writing and translation, Glazova supports the work of other poets as an editor, literary critic, and through her work as a committee member for the Arkadii Dragomoshchenko Prize.