Jonas Zdanys was born in New Britain, Connecticut, a few months after his parents arrived in the United States from a United Nations camp for Lithuanian refugees. He received his B.A. in English from Yale University and his M.A. and Ph.D. in English from the State University of New York.
A bilingual poet and translator, he is the author of forty-seven books. Forty-three of those volumes are collections of his original poetry, written in English or in Lithuanian, and of his translations of Lithuanian poetry and fiction into English. He has received a number of prizes, book awards, writing and travel grants, and public recognitions for his poetry and for his translations. His poem Easter, his translation of Velykos by Judita Vaičiūnaitė, was selected by the Scottish Poetry Library and the BBC to represent Lithuania during the 2012 Olympics in London. Other recent recognitions include an exhibit about his life and work by the National Library of Lithuania, writing and translation grants from the Lithuanian Ministry of Culture, appointment as Phi Beta Kappa Poet at Connecticut College, selection as Featured Poet at the Scissortail Literary Festival, and appointment as Poet in Residence at Sacred Heart University.
He is also active as an editor and a literary panelist and has served as a reviewer for Wesleyan University Press, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, the National Endowment for the Arts, and World Literature Today.
He has taught at the State University of New York and at Yale University, where he held a number of administrative positions and was a Scholar-in-Residence in the Yale Center for Russian and East European Studies. As part of his international activities, he was appointed a consultant for the reorganization of higher education by the Lithuanian Ministry of Education and the Lithuanian Parliament. He served for more than a decade as the state of Connecticut’s Chief Academic Officer and is currently Professor of English and Poet in Residence at Sacred Heart University, where he teaches creative writing and modern poetry seminars and directs the program in creative writing.