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Maryland Poet Laureate

Maryland Poet Laureate



Grace Cavalieri was appointed Maryland Poet Laureate on November 7, 2018 by Governor Larry Hogan. Grace Cavalieri is the author of 20 books and chapbooks of poetry, the latest are Other Voices, Other Lives (ASP, 2017;) and Life Upon The Wicked Stage: A Memoir (NAP/Scarith, 2015.) She's also written texts and lyrics performed for opera, television and film and has had 26 plays produced on American stages. Grace teaches poetry workshops throughout the country at numerous colleges. She produced and hosted "The Poet and the Poem," weekly, on WPFW-FM (1977-1997) presenting more than 2,000 poets to the nation. She now presents this series to public radio from the Library of Congress via NPR satellite and Pacifica Radio, celebrating 42 years on air in 2019.

Grace has received the 2013 George Garrett Award, the Pen-Fiction Award, the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award, The Corporation for Public Broadcasting Silver Medal, and awards from the National Commission on Working Women, the WV Commission on Women, the American Association of University Women, The DC Poet Laureate Award from Dolores Kendrick, the Paterson lifetime Achievement Award, among others. She won a Paterson Excellence Award for What I Would do for Love, and The Bordighera Poetry Prize for Water on the Sun. She received the inaugural Columbia Merit Award from the Folger Shakespeare Library for "significant contributions to poetry."

The Poet Laureate position was formally established by the Maryland General Assembly in 1959 (Chapter 178, Acts of 1959; Code State Government Article, sec. 13-306) and authorizes the Governor to appoint a citizen of the State as Poet Laureate of Maryland.

Poets Laureate have served for the State since the inception of this Act in 1959. Past Poet Laureates include (in order of service): Maria B. Coker, Vincent Godfrey Burns, Lucille Clifton, Reed Whittemore, Linda Pastan, Roland Flint, Michael Collier, Michael Glaser, Stanley Plumly, and Grace Cavalieri.

The Poet Laureate of Maryland is an honorary State position in which the individual selected will serve at the discretion of the Governor for up to a four-year term renewable by the Governor’s consent. The Poet Laureate will provide public readings for the citizens of Maryland, ensuring that people in all geographic regions of the State have access to at least one reading during the term of service. As an honorary position the Poet Laureate will not receive compensation, though limited reimbursement for expenses incurred in the performance of duties is available.

*Photo credit: Tony Lewis

Read Ms. Cavalieri's poem "Terms of Office" in honor of Governor Hogan's inauguration on January 16, 2019 below. 

Ms. Cavalieri is available for appearances in her new role. Please use the Appearances Request Form to make your request.





Grace Cavalieri, seen above in her trademarked leather jacket, stopped by WYPR for an interview on “Midday” with Tom Hall. The Poet Laureate and author of ASP’s Other Voices, Other Lives, mused on her life and work, meditating on the loss of her late husband, and reading from deep poetry catalogue. This interview is well worth the 40 minutes it takes to impart the important wisdom of one of Maryland’s foremost sages.

Listen to the interview HERE

Watch the Interview HERE

Buy a copy of Grace’s Legacy Book Other Voices, Other Lives HERE


For further information regarding the Maryland Poet Laureate position please contact Kayla Morgan, Poet Laureate Liaison, at 410-767-6412 or e-mail

If you need assistance in using this form, please contact the MSAC office at 410-767-6555 or TDD/TTY: 410-333-4519

Pictured left to right Kelly M. Schulz Secretary, Maryland Department of Commerce, Grace Cavalieri, Maryland's 10th Poet Laureate,  Christine Stewart, former MSAC staff, Teri Cross Davis, Chair, Poet Laureate Selection Committee,  Ken Skrzesz, Executive Director, MSAC

Pictured left to right Kelly M. Schulz Secretary, Maryland Department of Commerce, Grace Cavalieri, Maryland's 10th Poet Laureate,  Christine Stewart, former MSAC staff, Teri Cross Davis, Chair, Poet Laureate Selection Committee,  Ken Skrzesz, Executive Director, MSAC; Photograph by Edwin Remsberg Photographs

Grace Cavalieri
May our Governor hear the language of the people
as terms of his office.
"Language" simply means many people
have come together to make words.
There are nearly 100,000 words in the English language
I've chosen exactly 238 but I want to shine them up
to speak about a man serving in high office;
a man who will walk by the beautiful waters
of our bays, rivers, rivulets;
One who continues with inner strength
clearing new paths with elasticity for every kind among us--
who knows love and hope are not holiday greetings
but governing principles--
a man, aspirational for humanity.
Language always leads us to the soul of each matter,
and today it rinses words clean, renewing meaning:
Independence of thought
an honorable nature
clear vision
calm in the ey of national storms
From the rich bottom lands of southern Maryland
To the forested hills of our western state
From the dynamic energy of northern Maryland
to his own hometown--
May our governor's inner spirit seek compassion before action.
May his wisdom see that the heart's choice dictates the mind's decisions
May he be rewarded with radiant pride for his integrity
In speaking of success Ralph Waldo Emerson said
Each one has an aptitude to do easily some feat impossible to any other
And to do otherwise undermines the talents of all others.
May Governor Hogan be rewarded with radiant pride for his integrity.

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