Mihai Grünfeld was born in Cluj, Romania where he lived with his family until he was eighteen. In January 1969 he and his older brother traveled to Czechoslovakia and from there escaped to Austria. This was the beginning of a long journey, which took him to Israel, Italy, Sweden, and Canada in search of a home in the West. Eventually he settled in the United States.
He obtained his Ph.D. from University of California at Berkeley and is a professor of Spanish and Latin American Literature at Vassar College since 1987 where he teaches in the Hispanic Studies Department. At Vassar he has periodically served as chair, directed the Vassar-Wesleyan Program in Spain, Vassar’s Summer Language Program in Oaxaca, Mexico, and was an assistant director of The Spanish School at Middlebury College.
Mihai Grünfeld’s research focuses on modern Latin American poetry, especially the Avant-Garde, and the intersection between literature and the visual arts as expressed, for example, in the Mexican muralism. He published Antología de la poesía latinoamericana de vanguardia (1995), and articles on modernismo and the Avant-Garde, as well as creative short stories. His autobiography Leaving – Memories of Romania was published in 2008, and was translated and published in Spain as Irse (2011). He finished work on a novel entitled “The Dressmaker’s Son,” and together with Sarah Levine Simon adapted the novel to a play entitled “The Dressmaker’s Secret.” He also finished translating and editing a memoir entitled “Inherited Words” by Roth Zoltán, a Romanian Holocaust survivor.