Jennifer Scappettone is a poet, translator, and scholar devoted to the cross-contamination of these practices as modes of inquiry, on the page and off. As a poet she embraces trans- and semilinguistic forms of making such as collage, video, book arts, embodied performance, and choral soundscape production, often in relation to documentary projects. She is currently working on the second book of a diptych scoring the environmental, health, and affective impacts of transnational mining and waste economies. She teaches courses on poetry, book arts and cross-media writing, experimental translation, documentary and social practice, architecture and urbanism, ecopoetics and environmental humanities.
Jennifer’s poetry collections include From Dame Quickly (Litmus Press, 2009) and the cross-media documentary poem The Republic of Exit 43: Outtakes & Scores from an Archaeology and Pop-Up Opera of the Corporate Dump (Atelos Press, 2016); her poetry has been translated and included in a range of global anthologies. Her translations of the polyglot poet and refugee from Fascist Italy Amelia Rosselli were collected in Locomotrix: Selected Poetry and Prose of Amelia Rosselli (University of Chicago Press, 2012), and won the Academy of American Poets’s biennial Raiziss/De Palchi Book Prize. She is also the author of Killing the Moonlight: Modernism in Venice (Columbia University Press, 2014), a study of the city of lagoons as a crucible for experiments across literature, politics, urbanism, and the visual arts, which the Modernist Studies Association’s Book Prize committee described as “a scholarly quarry of a city fabled in the literary history and cultural memory of Europe.”
An interest in the materiality of language, and its material consequences in our public and private lives, has led Jennifer to poetic forms beyond the typeset page encompassing painting, collage, digital media, dance, and soundscape creation. She has developed interactive and site-specific poetry in collaboration with other artists at places ranging from the Chicago Architecture Biennial to the São Bento monastery in Porto, WUHO Gallery, Los Angeles, Trajan’s aqueduct at the American Academy in Rome, and Fresh Kills Landfill; see her website for more information on her recent writing, multidisciplinary performance work, and installations. She founded PennSound Italiana, a segment of the audiovisual archive based at the University of Pennsylvania devoted to experimental Italian poetry. She has received fellowships from the Bogliasco Foundation, the Villa I Tatti, Civitella Ranieri, the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, the Getty Research Institute, the iLAND foundation, the Millay Colony, the Stanford Center for the Humanities, and the American Academy in Rome, among other honors. Her current book project, “Pennies from Nether: A Score for Copper Lyre,” was a finalist for the 2023 Creative Capital Award in Literature.
Work with Students
Theses Jennifer has advised include a collection of poems charting the racial tensions of Oak Park and its diasporic communities, production of a Platonic dialogue staged on a Bronx bus aimed at tracing the impact of dialect expression on philosophical questions, and a project that staged the collective translation of Federico Garcia Lorca in real time through performance.
- Ecopoetics: Literature and Ecology
- The Book as Poetic Form
- Writing and Social Change
- Exploratory Translation
- Poetry Of and Off the Page
- Radical Documentary
- Poetry and the Present Moment
- London vs. Nature
- Sensing the Anthropocene
- Literature of the City Between Utopia and Dystopia, Design and Occupation
- SMOKEPENNY LYRICHORD HEAVENBRED: Two Acts (The Elephants, 2017)
- The Republic of Exit 43: Outtakes & Scores from an Archaeology and Pop-Up Opera of the Corporate Dump (Atelos Press, 2016)
- From Dame Quickly (Litmus Press, 2009)
- Belladonna Elders Series #5: Poetry, Landscape, Apocalypse, with work by Jennifer Scappettone, Lyn Hejinian, and Etel Adnan (Belladonna Press, 2009)
- Locomotrix: Selected Poetry and Prose of Amelia Rosselli (University of Chicago Press, 2012)
- Killing the Moonlight: Modernism in Venice (Columbia University Press, 2014)