Robert Grunst



Among signal achievements Robert Grunst has learned and forgotten Morse code, worked two green seasons in the biggest pickle plant in the world, worked as a welder’s chipper, taught 9th grade English, served as a deckhand and engineer aboard Great Lakes gillnet tugs, and shattered an ankle cross-country skiing. He teaches a variety of courses in American literature, creative writing, and in the university’s Core Curriculum. His two books of poetry are The Smallest Bird in North American, Inland Seas Series, New Issues Press, 2000 & Blue Orange, Robert McGovern Prize, Ashland Poetry Press, 2012. His poems have been published in over thirty literary journals, including American Literary Review, Crab Orchard Review, The Iowa Review, Kestrel, Nimrod, Prairie Schooner, Seneca Review, and Third Coast. His essays focusing on life-ways and material culture of Great Lakes’ fishing people and their boatbuilding vernaculars have been published in Anchor News: Wisconsin Maritime Museum, The Fisherman, The Great Lakes Fisherman, Inland Seas: Quarterly Journal of the Great Lakes Historical Society, Michigan History Magazine, Nor’easter: Journal of the Lake Superior Marine Museum Association, and Lake Superior Magazine.

Ph.D., American Literature; Theories of Composition; the Essay
University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, 1989

Master of Arts, Writing
University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, 1984

Master of Fine Arts, Poetry
University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, 1981

Bachelor of Arts, English
Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan, 1971

ArtStart’s 6th Annual EcoArts Fest. (2013). Finalist, 6th Annual EcoArts Fest Mississippi River Poetry Contest

Ashland Poetry Press. (2012). Robert McGovern Publication Award: Poetry

Indiana University-South Bend. (2010). Finalist: Lester M. Wolfson Poetry Award

Professor of English, St. Catherine University, 2002–Present

Book: Blue Orange. May, 2012. Ashland Poetry Press. McGovern Prize Winner. (poems)

Book: The Smallest Bird In North America. 2000, New Issues Press: Kalamazoo, Michigan. (poems)


“Not Seeing Toucans” & “Firewood.” Corazón Land Review. Forthcoming. Poems.

“Being Wide of the Path of This Morning’s Avalanche.” Kestrel. Forthcoming. Poem.

“Below Stripped Mountain.” The Saint Ann’s Review. Forthcoming. Poem.

“Surprising the Woodcock.” Saint Katherine Review. Vol. 4 /3, 2014. Poem.

One poem from Blue Orange, an Interview, a Review, & one lyric essay, 'Big Boy' featured on Poem of the Week Website: April 13–18, 2014

“Violaceous Jay.” Grey Sparrow Journal. 4/4: Fall, 2013. Poem. And online:

“Why The Blue Beech Is Blue.” Water~Stone. Volume 16. 2013. Poem.

"Seventeen Iguanas.” Steam Ticket: A Third Coast Review. Vol XVI, Spring, 2013. Ghazal.

“Blue Orange,” “Ramón Gaton’s Right Hand,” “Cordillera Blanca Fault Zone Papaya,” “Ode for the Glaciers Above Us and a Can of Sardines.” Poetry East. Numbers 76, 77, 78, Fall, 2012. Poems.

“In the Orchard of Star Fruit,” Verse Daily [Online], July 1, 2012. Poem. Reprint.

“Mayflies.” Tar River Poetry. Volume 51, #2, Spring, 2012.

“Our Mother’s Sewing Scissors.” The Saint Ann’s Review. Reprint. 2001–2011 Tenth Anniversary Special Issue. Poem.

“At Chinese Harbor,” “This Orange That”. Image: Art, Faith, Mystery. #68/Spring, 2011. Poems.

“Ode to Island Shrikes,” “One Saddle Rose Blooming.” Poetry East, #69/Fall, 2010. Poems.

“Bronzy Incas.” Nimrod International Journal of Poetry & Prose. Vol53/No 2 Spring/Summer, 2010. Poem.

“Audience Before the Pig.” Tar River Poetry. Vol 49/No 2, Spring, 2010. Poem.

Grunst, R. (2014). "Poetry Reading." University of Texas / Arlington Poetry Month Reading Series

Grunst, R. (2013). “Kenny Basina’s Snare Line: Or Major Native American Novels.” The Selim Center Lecture Series / University of St. Thomas

Grunst, R. (2013). "Poetry Reading: Why The Blue Beech Is Blue." Water~Stone Review. Vol 16 Release Reading

Grunst, R. (2013). "Poetry Reading from New Poems." ArtStart’s 6th Annual EcoArts Fest: St. Paul, MN (Harriet Island)

Grunst, R. (2013). "Poetry Reading: from Blue Orange." Associated Writing Programs Annual Meeting

Grunst, R. (2012). "Poetry Reading from Blue Orange." Sub-Text Books

Grunst, R. (2012). "Poetry Reading." Prairie Lights Poetry Reading Series; Prairie Lights Books, Iowa City, Iowa

Grunst, R. (2012). "Poetry Reading / Talk Local Lit Lounge." Twin Cities / Rain Taxi Book Festival

Grunst, R. & Cisewski, P. (2012). "Poetry Reading." 100 Thousand Poets For Change Event, Black Dog Cafe, St. Paul, MN

Grunst, R. & James, D. (2012). "Poetry Reading: from Blue Orange." Schuler's Books, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Grunst, R. (2012). "Blue Orange Book Release Reading." Fine Arts Building, St. Catherine University

Grunst, R. (2012). "Selected Poems from Blue Orange." Ashland Poetry Press Authors Reading at the Associated Writing Programs Conference, Chicago, Illinois

Grunst, R. (2011). "New Poems." New and Nearby Reading Series

Grunst, R. & And others, P. (2011). "100 Thousand Poets for Change." Video Broadcast Poetry Reading