Two people clapping for the Poet Laureate who is standing behind a podium

Poet Laureate

The Maryland Poet Laureate

The Poet Laureate of Maryland is an honorary State position. The selected poet serves at the discretion of the Governor for up to a four-year term renewable by the Governor’s consent. The Poet Laureate provides public readings and programs 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. 

In the 18th century, Ebenezer Cooke, author of The Sot-weed Factor: Or, A Voyage to Maryland (1708), called himself Maryland’s first Poet Laureate. However, Maryland’s official Poet Laureate position was formally established by the Maryland General Assembly in 1959 (General Provisions Article, §7–317); this law authorizes the Governor to appoint a citizen of the State as Poet Laureate of Maryland.

Poets Laureate have served the State since the inception of this Act in 1959. Past Poets Laureate 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.


Grace Cavalieri (2018 - )

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."

*Photo credit: Tony Lewis

Grace Cavalieri is available for appearances. Please use the Appearance Request Form to make your request.

Poet Laureate Information

For further information regarding the Maryland Poet Laureate position please contact

  • 1959-1962 Maria Briscoe Coker
  • 1962-1979 Vincent Godfrey Burns
  • 1979-1985 Lucille Clifton
  • 1985-1988 Reed Whittemore
  • 1991-1995 Linda Pastan
  • 1995-2000 Roland Flint
  • 2001-2004 Michael Collier
  • 2004-2008 Michael Glaser
  • 2008-2012 Stanley Plumly

Poet Laureate Projects

Grace Cavalieri, Poet Laureate of Maryland, held monthly poetry workshops in MD starting fall of 2019 for young people “who have something to say and would like to learn how to say it”.

This is a pilot program of 8 one-day workshops throughout Maryland that allows teenagers to get in touch with their inner core/heart, get in touch with who they are, and tell their stories in a safe place. It’s now become apparent that the need to reach teens is paramount. One small way is to go where we can reach them. We just call it “Poetry.”

Below is the basic template used for workshops.

Meditation begins the practice and then a discussion of the four basic necessary elements for a good poem, or work of art:

  • thinking
  • feeling
  • senses
  • intuition

The meaning of each of the four basic elements are discussed. 

The writing session brings the students within themselves by going through the floors of their lives in an elevator. Each floor represents a different year. This takes personal meditation and silence to obtain a story from one of the “Floors”.

The students leave the area to be alone to write what they “saw” on their “floor.” They return in 15 minutes having written from margin to margin just as they “saw” it. Writers then share what they “saw” on their “floor” with the group. Young writers stay with the narrative and just discuss how it becomes a poem.

The students also write a group sonnet and then use an oral tradition to speak in aloud as a “Crowd” poem.  (Horspiel tradition) (as heard on Podcast) 

Students also finish the sentences:  I wish    I wonder    I dream    I am afraid   etc. (as heard on Podcast)

The writers are given 10 words that have no connection, and they connect them into poems and stories (Samples on Podcast.)

Click here to listen. 

Prince Frederick County MD, November 23, 2019:
Our third workshop in this series was held on November 23, in Prince Frederick County at the Calvert Main Library where teens attended the third Poet Laureate workshop.  Thirteen years of age is the youngest age set for participation, with eighteen years as the ideal top range.

During this workshop, teens found space within themselves to explore unknown territory. Through “writing prompts” that evoke interior experience, they recalled and expressed. The creative process is not therapy, although it has healing effects. We do not question why, we simply acknowledge and share, focusing on language, line lengths, and—more than anything—finding the truth in ourselves. Self-discovery is one main value of writing. The product of our writing is the souvenir.

Each student participated in the writing and recording process because Teens want to be SEEN and HEARD!

This workshop was sponsored by the Fund for the Future of our Children and the Maryland Arts Council.

Click here to listen.

Howard County MD, October 12, 2019:

Our second workshop in this series was held on October 12, 2019 in Howard County, Maryland at Howard County Community College.  Six Middle school students ages 13-7 attended the second Poet Laureate workshop. Thirteen years of age is the youngest age set for participation, with eighteen years as the ideal top range.  

Young writers entered the elevator of their inner lives to find their deepest thoughts. They expressed what in this world made them happy, and what made them afraid. They also enjoy “Photo Ops” and “Microphones,” so dominant in our culture.

Each student participated in the writing and recording process because Teens want to be SEEN and HEARD!  

This workshop was sponsored by the Fund for the Future of our Children, the Maryland Arts Council and the Howard County Poetry & Literature Society (HoCoPoLitSo) founded in 1974.

Click here to listen.

Salisbury MD, Sept 21, 2019:
The first workshop was held on September 21, 2019 in Salisbury, Maryland.  Eight Middle school students attended the inaugural Poet Laureate workshop. They were 8th graders, age 13. Thirteen is the youngest age set for participation.  

Every person participated and they loved the “photo ops” and “recordings’” because Teens want to be SEEN and HEARD!

Click here to listen.

Lai Fong Wong and Andrew Wong

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Lai Fong Wong grew up in multi-cultural cities Macau and Hong Kong and is now residing in Rockville MD. Wong's career includes college professor, curator, supervisory consultant on creative arts, and art designer/entrepreneur. Lai Fong Wong is represented by the international artwork online platform 1stDibs, she will debut her solo art exhibitions at the Woman's National Democratic Club and Arts Club in Washington in the Spring, 2024. Wong's poetry anthology and art album book, "Poesy Spectrum Flows," vividly demonstrates her poetry, and her paintings. These visual works signify Zen minimalism, spontaneity, as well as imaginative fantasy. Her latest book is "Fire On The Zen"
(New Academia Publishers)

Andrew Wang Fat Wong is the last President of Hong Kong's Legislative Council before sovereignty reverted in 1997 to China. He first picked up this fascinating hobby in 2007 and has so far been concentrating on the "jueju" or quatrain (4-lined verse) of the Tang Dynasty venturing occasionally into other forms of classical Chinese poetry. His book 60 Chinese poems in English Verse published in 2021 is a collection of 60 Tang Dynasty (618907) Chinese 4-line poems (quatrains) he has rendered in verse form into English. These are all new translations.

Laura Shovan

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Laura Shovan is an author, educator, and Pushcart Prize-nominated poet. Her chapbook, Mountain, Log, Salt, and Stone won the inaugural Harriss Poetry Prize. Her work appears in journals and anthologies for children and adults. Laura's award-winning middle-grade novels include The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary, Takedown, and the Sydney Taylor Notable A Place at the Table, co-written with Saadia Faruqi. Laura is a longtime poet-in-the-schools for the Maryland State Arts Council. She serves on the faculty of Vermont College of Fine Arts' MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults. Her poetry collection for kids is Welcome to Monsterville, illustrated by poet Michael Rothenberg.

Edgar Kunz

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Edgar Kunz is the author of two poetry collections: Fixer, published by Ecco in 2023 and named a New York Times Editors' Choice book, and Tap Out, published by Ecco in 2019. He has been a National Endowment for the Arts Fellow, a MacDowell Fellow, and a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. Recent poems appear in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Poetry, APR, and Oxford American. He lives in Baltimore and teaches at Goucher College.

Greg McBride

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Born months before the end of WWII, Greg McBride's life has been marked by the military, athletics, law, and poetry. His peripatetic childhood he was an "Army brat" took him to California, Texas, Arizona, Utah, Missouri, Okinawa, Oregon, Yokohama, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.

In later years, he was a Pennsylvania state wrestling champion, an Army photographer in the Vietnam War, a public service lawyer in D.C., a father and grandfather, and a civic activist. In his 50s, McBride began writing poems and several years later founded the Innisfree Poetry Journal, currently in its 19th year of biannual publication. At the age of 67, he published his first full-length collection of poems, Porthole, (Briery Creek Press, 2012), which won the Liam Rector First Book Prize for Poetry. His second collection is Guest of Time (Pond Road Press, 2023).

His honors include the Boulevard Emerging Poet prize and grants in poetry from the Maryland State Arts Council. McBride's work has appeared in such journals as Alaska Quarterly, Bellevue, Gettysburg Review, New Ohio Review, Rhino, River Styx, and Salmagundi.

Truth Thomas

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Truth Thomas is a singer-songwriter, poet, and photographer born in Knoxville, Tennessee and raised in Washington, DC (the Capitol recording artist once known as Glenn Edward Thomas). He is the founder of Cherry Castle Publishing and studied creative writing at Howard University under Dr. Tony Medina. Thomas earned his MFA in poetry at New England College. The creator of the "Skinny" poetry form, his collections include Party of Black, A Day of Presence, Bottle of Life, Speak Water, winner of the 2013 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work in Poetry and My TV is Not the Boss of Me, (a children's book, illustrated by Cory Thomas). A former writer-in-residence for the Howard County Poetry and Literature Society (HoCoPoLitSo), his poems have appeared in over 150 publications, including The 100 Best African American Poems (edited by Nikki Giovanni). He is Editor-in-Chief of The Skinny Poetry Journal.

Susan Okie

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Susan Okie is a poet, a doctor and a former Washington Post medical reporter and science editor. Her poems have appeared in The Gettysburg Review, Prairie Schooner, The Bellevue Literary Review, Journal of the American Medical Association, Cider Press Review, Gargoyle, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Innisfree Poetry Journal, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Little Patuxent Review and other magazines. Her poem, "Perseid," was chosen by Michael Collier as the first-prize winner in the 2012 Bethesda Poetry Contest. Her poem, "In Hades" was a finalist in The Bellevue Literary Review's annual poetry contest, judged by Cornelius Eady, and "Metamorphosis, a poem published in 2016, was featured as poem of the day on Poetry Daily. In 2014, she received an MFA in Poetry from the Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers.

Susan's poetry chapbook, Let You Fly, was a finalist in the 2017 New Women's Voices contest held by Finishing Line Press, and was published in 2018. She is also the author of two nonfiction books, and is an assistant clinical professor of family medicine at Georgetown University School of Medicine. She volunteered as a physician for eighteen years with Mobile Medical Care, treating low-income adults in Montgomery County, Md.

Susan is married to Walter Weiss, a former medical school classmate, and lives in Bethesda, Md. They have two sons. Woman at the Crossing is her first full-length poetry collection.

Dr. Tonee Moll

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Dr. Tonee Moll is a queer & trans poet & essayist. They are the author of Out of Step: A Memoir, which won the Lambda Literary Award in bisexual nonfiction and the Non/Fiction Collection Prize. Their latest book, You Cannot Save Here, won the Jean Feldman Poetry Prize and is available now from Washington Writers' Publishing House. Their poetry has also received the Adele V. Holden award for creative excellence and the Bill Knott Poetry Prize, along with nominations  for the Pushcart Prize and Best of Net. Tonee holds an MFA in Creative Writing & Publishing Arts from University of Baltimore and a Ph.D. in English from Morgan State University. They are a Gemini.

David Keplinger

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David Keplinger's eight poetry books include Ice (Milkweed Editions, 2023), The World to Come (Conduit Books and Ephemera, 2021), and Another City (Milkweed Editions, 2018). He has been awarded the 2020 Emily Dickinson Award from the Poetry Society of America, the 2019 UNT Rilke Prize, two artist fellowships from the NEA (Poetry and Literary Translation), The 2006 Colorado Book Award, the 2014 Cavafy Prize from Poetry International, and Mary Oliver selected his first book, The Rose Inside, for the 1999 T.S. Eliot Award. He teaches at American University, which named him 2022/2023 Teacher/Scholar of the Year.

Rachel Pastan

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Rachel Pastan is the author of four novels, most recently In the Field. Based on the life of Nobel Prize-winning geneticist Barbara McClintock, the novel was selected for the National Book Foundation's 2022 Science + Literature award. She has worked as editor-at-large at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, where she developed the popular art and museum blog Miranda, and as editor of her small-town newspaper. Pastan was a long-time core faculty member at the Bennington Writing Seminars MFA program and currently teaches at Drexel University.

Danny Queen

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Danny Queen has authored eight books, including The Book of Tributes, Color Me Poetry, Wake-up Call: Final Call, Wings of the Worldwind, plus others. A Master Spoken Word Poet, Danny's work has been featured in numerous magazines, local newspapers, and publications. Danny Queen is also a songwriter. He's written and produced songs: "Do It for the Children," "Up Close and Personal," "The Only Heaven I know," and "Soft Music at Midnight." For over 10 years, Danny produced and hosted the popular cable television show, "Color Me Poetry," for Bowie State University's television station.

Hailey Leithauser

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Hailey Leithauser is the author of Swoop, published in 2013 and which won the Poetry Foundation's Emily Dickinson First Book Prize, the Towson Award for Literature, and was a finalist for the Kate Tufts Discovery award. A second collection, Saint Worm, was published by Able Muse press in 2019. Her work appears widely in journals and anthologies and has been selected three times for Best American Poetry. She is a retired librarian and lives in the Maryland suburbs outside of Washington, DC.

Deanna Nikaido

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Deanna Nikaido is a poet, artist, and Jin Shin Jyutsu practitioner. She is the author of two collections of poetry, Voice Like Water and Vibrating With Silence and co-author of two children's books, Animal Ark: Celebrating Our Wild World in Poetry and Pictures (National Geographic Children's Books) with Newberry medalist Kwame Alexander and New York Times best selling author Mary Rand Hess, and How to Write a Poem with Kwame Alexander (Harper Collins).

She holds a degree in Illustration from Art Center College of Design, was a literacy coach for Bookinday, teaching poetry and book publication to elementary, middle, and high school students, and was a Regional Coordinator in Maryland for the national recitation program, Poetry Out Loud. Deanna lives in Maryland surrounded by nature, enamored by the art her grandchildren produce, and the stories they tell.

Terry Edmonds

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Terry Edmonds is a born and bred Baltimorean. Since the 1980s, he has been an active member of the poetry community in both Baltimore and New York. His first two chapbooks, Thank God for the Lowlife and To Hear This Message Again Press Ten, were published by Baltimore's Apathy Press in 1989 and 90, respectively. Terry has also been a featured reader at numerous poetry events in both cities. Currently residing in New York with his partner Wendy Levine, he's been an active member of New York's Riverside Poets workshop; and his poems have appeared in the group's annual anthology.

Terry developed a love for language and poetry as a young boy growing up in the projects of Baltimore. The writing passion led to a more than 45-year career as a public relations specialist and executive speechwriter, including serving as chief speechwriter for President Bill Clinton. While his professional career demanded most of his energy and time, Terry has continued to write and occasionally published his poems. This is his first major collection since 2014.

Terence Winch

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Terence Winch's latest book, That Ship Has Sailed, was published in 2023 as part of the Pitt Poetry Series (University of Pittsburgh Press). He is the author of eight earlier poetry collections. Winner of an American Book Award and a Columbia Book Award, he has also written a young adult novel called Seeing-Eye Boy and two story collections, Contenders and That Special Place. His work has appeared in many journals and in more than 50 anthologies. He is the recipient of an NEA Poetry Fellowship and a Gertrude Stein Award for Innovative Writing, among other honors. A book of occasional love poems called It Is As If Desire will be out in 2024 from Hanging Loose Press. Terence Winch is also the editor of the Best American Poetry's "Pick of the Week" feature. Also a musician, songwriter, and recording artist, Terence Winch has played traditional Irish music all his life.

William Heath

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William Heath taught American literature and creative writing at Kenyon, Transylvania, Vassar, the University of Seville, and Mount Saint Mary's University, where he retired as a professor emeritus. The William Heath Award is given annual to the best student writer. He has published three books of poetry, The Walking Man, Steel Valley Elegy, and Going Places; two chapbooks, Night Moves in Ohio, and Inventing the Americas; three novels: The Children Bob Moses Led (winner of the Hackney Award), Devil Dancer, and Blacksnake's Path; a work of history, William Wells and the Struggle for the Old Northwest (winner of two Spur Awards and the Oliver Hazard Perry Award); and a collection of interviews, Conversations with Robert Stone. In 2023 he received the Hiram College Lifetime Achievement Award. He lives in Annapolis, Maryland.

The Song in the Room: Six Women Poets

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Sandy Jackson Cohen enjoyed a diverse career as a government lawyer in the Maryland Office of the Attorney General, and she also farmed blueberries in Michigan. Sandy is now an award-winning portrait painter and has run studios for both figure study and portraiture. Meg Robinson is a singer, songwriter, and composer of harp music. Her harp compositions are played worldwide, including Carnegie Hall. She's also educational consultant for "Innerworld," a psychological support platform in Virtual Reality. Carole Falk went from teaching English to an MFA in Ceramics and making pottery while "docenting" at the Smithsonian Asian Art Museums. Painting and poetry are now central in her life. Her artwork is owned by corporations, a hospital, the FHA, and Sallie Mae, plus other major collectors. Dona Rudderow Sturn is an executive with clients in Europe and the U.S. She's a visual artist for in-brand marketing and advertising, graphic design, and large-scale digital murals, in multiple media. Janice F. Booth writes a monthly gardens column in a popular magazine and is now in her fifth year of publication. She also writes miscellaneous articles and poetry after a long career teaching English literature and related subjects on the high school and college levels. Natalie Canavor has edited national magazines, run a corporate communications department, and taught NYU graduate students, plus hundreds of businesspeople, how to write better. She is also an award-winning journalist and the author of seven books, including "Business Writing for Dummies," as well as a college textbook used internationally.

James J. Patterson

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James J. Patterson is a keen student of history, literary and otherwise. An autodidact, his role models are the medieval goliards, traveling musicians who wandered from town to town, gathering insights and experiences to retell in stories and songs. Patterson's travels, both geographical and metaphysical, have led him through a lively and varied life. He adapted the complete Adventures and Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes for radio, founded the music management company Baker Street Limited and the influential SportsFan Magazine, and spent 15 years on the road as a touring musician, as one-half of the popular folk duo The Pheromones. He is the author of two previous books, the essay collection Bermuda Shorts (2010) and the novel Roughnecks (2014). His stories and essays have appeared in many magazines and journals, including Gargoyle, The Broadkill Review, the Maryland Literary Review, and Nexus: The International Henry Miller Journal, and in the anthology Music Gigs Gone Wrong (Paycock Press, 2022.) He also wrote the liner notes for The North Star Band's double album, Then and Now, released in 2022.

Karren LaLonde Alenier

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Karren LaLonde Alenier is author of six collections of poetry, including Looking for Divine Transportation, winner of the 2002 Towson University Prize for Literature, and On a Bed of Gardenias: Jane and Paul Bowles, new from Kattywompus Press. Gertrude Stein Invents a Jump Early On,her jazz opera with composer William Banfield, premiered at New York City’s Symphony Space’s Thalia Theater in June 2005. Composer John Supko is collaborating with her on How Many Midnights, an opera love story about Jane and Paul Bowles. She writes for Scene4 Magazine at She maintains a blog at

Maritza Rivera

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Maritza Rivera is a Puerto Rican poet and US Army veteran who has lived in Rockville, MD, since 1994.  Maritza is the creator of a short form of poetry called Blackjack and her work appears in literary magazines, anthologies, and online publications.  She is the author of About You, a collection of poetry “for women and the men they love,” and A Mother’s War, written during her son’s two tours in Iraq to make the intensity of war a reality for everyone. Maritza is a contributor to Poets Responding to SB 1070, participates in the Warrior Poetry Project at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD, and serves on the Board of Directors of Split This Rock in Washington, DC.

Edgar Gabriel Silex

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Edgar Gabriel Silex is the author of two poetry collections from Curbstone Press, Acts of Love (2004) and Through All The Displacements (1995). Recent work has appeared in Hayden's Ferry ReviewRattle and The New American Poets: A Breadloaf Anthology. Silex has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Maryland State Arts Council. He is a professor of English at the Maryland Institute and College of Art in Baltimore. He lives in Laurel, Md. with his family.

Rose Solari and James J. Patterson

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Rose Solari is a poet, writer, and teacher. She is the author of two full-length collections of poems, Orpheus in the Park and Difficult Weather, and two chapbooks of poems, Selections from Myths & Elegies and The Stolen World. Rose wrote and performed in the multimedia play Looking for Guenevere. Rose is a longtime faculty member at the Writer's Center in Bethesda, Maryland, and a member of its Board of Directors. Rose's work appears in Initiate: An Oxford Anthology of New Writing, from Oxford University's Kellogg College Creative Writing Program.

James J. Patterson says of the act he co-founded in the 1980s, The Pheromones, “We were one of the first bands on MTV and one of the last on American Bandstand.” Born half Canadian, and a longtime Washington, D.C. resident, Patterson has been a political satirist, comedian, songwriter, sportswriter, dramatist, performer, and publisher. He now shares his life and the perspectives gleaned from it in his new book of creative non-fiction, Bermuda Shorts.

Sue Ellen Thompson

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Sue Ellen Thompson’s fifth book of poetry, They, was published in September 2014. Her work has been included in the Best American Poetry series, read on National Public Radio by Garrison Keillor, and recently won a Pushcart Prize. She taught at Wesleyan University, Middlebury College, Binghamton University, and Central Connecticut State University before moving to the Eastern Shore of Maryland in 2006. She now mentors adult poets and teaches workshops at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda and Annapolis. She was awarded the 2010 Maryland Author Prize from the Maryland Library Association.

Belle Waring and Walter Cybulski

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Belle Waring's first collection, Refuge (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1990), won the Associated Writing Programs’ Award for Poetry in 1989, the Washington Prize in 1991, and was cited by Publishers Weekly as one of the best books of 1990. Dark Blonde (Sarabande Books, 1997) won the the 1997 Poetry Center Book Award (San Francisco State University) and the First Annual Larry Levis Reading Prize in 1998. She has received fellowships from the NEA, the Washington, D.C. Commission on the Arts, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Waring has a background in both nursing and teaching. She is currently a science writer in federal service.

Walter Cybulski works as a preservation librarian and has taught preservation courses at the University of Maryland and Catholic University. As Henry Hoynes Poetry Fellow at UVA, he studied with Gregory Orr and John Moffitt.  Published poems are in AmericaPropagoEyecatcher, and Anthology of Magazine Verse & Yearbook of American Poetry (1981).  His work has been called poetry as witness, observation, and meditation. Critics call his work a poetry of the ordinary and the miraculous, in which the living and the dead emerge from memory and history to participate in a shared voice.

Avideh Shashaani

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Avideh Shashaani is the founder and president of the Fund for the Future of our Children (FFC), a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., dedicated to developing innovative educational and multicultural programs that encourage the healthy integration of body, mind and heart in children and youth and empower them to be agents of peace in local and global environments. She promotes intercultural and interfaith understanding through lectures, workshops and publications. She is the author of two books, Promised Paradise (poetic prose) and Remember Me (poetry). She has translated 10 Persian mystical texts into English. She served as vice president of the Literary Friends of the DC Public Library for five years. She is a former co-director of the International Institute for Rehabilitation in Developing Countries (founded by the UN, UNESCO, UNDP and Rehabilitation International). She is the past board chair of Refugee Women in Development and the founding chair of MOSAICA: The Center for Nonprofit Development and Pluralism. She holds a bachelor's degree in experimental psychology, a master's degree in educational planning and management and a Ph.D. in Sufi studies.

David Keplinger

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David Keplinger is the author of seven poetry books and four volumes of translations from the Danish and German. His most recent books of poems include THE WORLD TO COME (2021), which was awarded the Minds on Fire Open Book Prize from Conduit Books, THE LONG ANSWER: New and Selected Poems (2020), and Another City (2018), which won the 2019 Rilke Prize. In 2020 he was selected for the Emily Dickinson Award from the Poetry Society of America, and in that same year he was a finalist for the National Translation Award. He teaches at American University in Washington, D.C.

Eva Brann

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Eva Brann is a member of the senior faculty at St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland, where she has taught for more than sixty years. She holds degrees from Brooklyn College and Yale University and is a recipient of the National Humanities Medal. She is the author of thirteen books, all published by Paul Dry Books: Feigning, Pursuits of Happiness, Iron Filings or Scribblings, How to Constitute a World, Doublethink / Doubletalk, Then & Now, Un-Willing, The Logos of Heraclitus, Feeling Our Feelings, Homage to Americans, Open Secrets / Inward Prospects, The Music of the Republic, and Homeric Moments.

Kondwani Fidel

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Kondwani Fidel has used the power of storytelling to confront education reform and civil rights all over the world. He was recently featured on The Tom Hall Show where he discussed his work and life story. Baltimore Magazine honored Fidel with the "Best of Baltimore" in 2021 for his poetic skills. Fidel is the author of The Antiracist, Hummingbirds in the Trenches, and Raw Wounds. In 2020, Fidel released his debut poetry EP "The Mud Was Made For Us," which is multilayered aesthetics of Fidel's steady flow, tactical wordplay, and smooth cadences crooned over laid back jazz beats. He received his BA in English from Virginia State University, and his MFA in Creative Writing and Publishing Arts from the University of Baltimore—and is currently a professor at Coppin State University. NPR called Fidel "one of the nations smartest young Black voices." He is from and based in Baltimore City.

Melvin E. Brown

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Melvin E. Brown was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. He attended Columbia University and is a graduate of the Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars, where he received his M.A. He has published two books of poetry, In The First Place and Blue Notes and Blessing Songs. Melvin was the longest serving editor of Chicory, a literary magazine of the Enoch Pratt Free Library; and he is a former faculty member of Sojourner Douglass College and Towson University, where he taught African American Literature and Creative Writing.

Stewart Moss

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As a former Executive Director of The Writer's Center in Bethesda, Maryland, one of the largest literary centers in the USA, Stewart Moss helped establish creative writing programs for adult immigrants and members of the military being treated for neurological and psychological trauma. Prior to that, he worked as an educator and fundraiser in educational institutions around the country. He has taught literature and creative writing in both the USA and abroad; Scotland, Greece, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, and Nepal are among the countries in which he has lived and worked. Moss has essays included in Retire the Colors: Veterans & Civilians on Iraq & Afghanistan, ed. Dario DiBattista (Hudson Whitman/Excelsior College Press, 2016) and Plume Poetry and poetry in Plume, Goss183, and Origins Literary Review. His chapbook, For Those Whose Lives Have Seen Themselves: Poems (Finishing Line Press) was published in 2021. He has also been featured in "The Poet and the Poem" podcasts at The Library of Congress. He was educated at Union College (NY) and Harvard University, where he studied the relationship between religion and culture. A native of Boston, MA he resides in Annapolis, MD.

Barbara Goldberg

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Barbara Goldberg, poet, translator and speechwriter, is the author of 6 prize-winning books of poetry, including the Felix Pollak Poetry Prize for The Royal Baker's Daughter. Her Breaking & Entering: New and Selected Poems appeared in 2022, and was one of 35 books featured by the Kirkus Review. Her book Transformation: The Poetry of Translation received the Valentin Krustev Award. The recipient of two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts as well as awards in translation and fiction, she has also translated and edited several anthologies of contemporary Israel poetry. Her work appears in the Paris Review, Poetry, American Poetry Review, the Gettysburg Review, and elsewhere. As Series Editor of the International Editions for the Word Works, she has selected for publication poets translated from the Kurdish, Ancient Greek and Croatian, the latter of which was shortlisted for ALTA's 2021 National Translation Award.

Taylor Johnson

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Taylor Johnson is from Washington, DC. and lives in Maryland. He is the author of Inheritance (Alice James Books, 2020), winner of the 2021 Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America. His work appears in Poetry Magazine, The Paris Review, The Baffler, Scalawag, and elsewhere. Taylor is the inaugural 2022 Poet-in-Residence at the Guggenheim Museum.

Pat Valdata

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Pat Valdata is a poet and novelist. Her book about women aviation pioneers, Where No Man Can Touch, won the 2015 Donald Justice Poetry Prize. Her third novel, Eve's Daughters (Moonshine Cove, 2020), won first prize from the Delaware Press Association and received an Honorable Mention from the National Federation of Press Women. Her poetry has appeared in Ecotone, Ekphrastic Review, Italian Americana, Little Patuxent Review, North American Review, Passager, and Valparaiso Poetry Review. In 2021 she received an individual artist award from the Maryland State Arts Council. Pat lives in Crisfield, Maryland, with her husband, Bob Schreiber, and their rescue poodle, Junior.

Daniel Mark Epstein

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Daniel Mark Epstein is a poet, playwright, and biographer. He has published eight volumes of poetry, most recently Dawn to Twilight: New and Selected Poems. His honors include fellowships from the National Endowment of the Arts, the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Prix de Rome (Rome Prize) and an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He has received several honorary degrees, most recently an honorary doctorate of letters from Kenyon College in 2020. His poems and biographies of Aimee Semple McPherson, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Abraham Lincoln, and Bob Dylan, have been translated into many languages.

Marita Golden

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Marita Golden is the author of 20 works of fiction and nonfiction. Her books include the novels The Wide Circumference of Love, After and The Edge of Heaven and the memoirs Migrations of the Heart, Saving Our Sons and DonÕt Play in the Sun One WomanÕs Journey Through the Color Complex and the anthologies which she edited, Us Against Alzheimer's Stories of Family Love and Faith and Gumbo A Celebration of African American Writing which she edited with the novelist, E. Lynn Harris. Her most recent work of nonfiction is The Strong Black Woman How a Myth Endangers the Physical and Mental Health of Black Women. She is the recipient of many awards including the Writers for Writers Award presented by Barnes & Noble and Poets and Writers, an award from the Authors Guild, and the Fiction Award for her novel After awarded by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. She has lectured and read from her work internationally.

Pamela Woolford

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Pamela Woolford is a narrative interdisciplinary artist and keynote speaker, intertwining her work as a writer, filmmaker, performer, and immersive-media director to create new forms of narrative work about Black women, Black girls, and others whose joy, imagination, and inner life are under-explored in American media and popular art.

She is the recipient of six Maryland State Arts Council Awards, five film-festival awards internationally, a Changemaker Challenge Award from United Way of Central Maryland and Horizon Foundation, an aSHE Fund Micro-Grant, and two Baker Artist Awards in interdisciplinary arts. She has been awarded a Storyknife Writers Residency, a NES Artist Residency, and an Official Citation from the Maryland House of Delegates.

Pamela Woolford is the author of more than 100 memoir, fiction, profile, human-interest, and think pieces published in The Baltimore Sun, Poets & Writers Magazine, NAACP's Crisis Magazine, Harvard University's Transition, and other publications. Her writings have been selected for anthologies, translated into German, and widely cited. In 2020 she was the Bisson Lecturer in the Humanities at Marymount University.

Her multimedia project Antoine and Me is featured at the Baltimore Museum of Art through 3/12/23. Her retrospective virtual-reality experience Up/Rooted: Pamela Woolford's Cabin Windows premieres in 2023.

W. Luther Jett

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W. Luther Jett is a native of Montgomery County, Maryland and a retired special educator. His poetry has been published in numerous journals as well as several anthologies. Luther's poem "How Many Fingers", published in Bourgeon, was nominated for the 2022 Pushcart Prize. His poetry performance piece, Flying to America, debuted at the 2009 Capital Fringe Festival in Washington D.C. He is the author of five poetry chapbooks: "Not Quite: Poems Written in Search of My Father", (Finishing Line Press, 2015), and "Our Situation", (Prolific Press, 2018), "Everyone Disappears" (Finishing Line Press, 2020), "Little Wars" (Kelsay Books, 2021), and "Watchman, What of the Night?" (CW Books, 2022). Luther is also the facilitator of a monthly virtual open mike sponsored by the Hyattstown Mill Arts Project in Hyattstown, Maryland.

Joel Dias Porter

Joel Dias Porter (aka DJ Renegade) originally from Pittsburgh, PA & currently resides in South Jersey and Maryland. The 1998 & 1999 Haiku Slam Champion, his poems have been published in POETRY, Mead, Best American Poetry 2014, Callaloo, Antioch Review, Red Brick Review, & the anthologies, Short Fuse, Role Call, Def Poetry Jam, 360 Degrees of Black Poetry, Slam (The Book), Poetry Nation, Beyond the Frontier, and Catch a Fire. A Cave Canem Fellow, he also received the Furious Flower "Emerging Poet Award" in 1995. His next collection "Ideas of Improvisation" comes out today from Thread Makes Blanket Press.

Patti Ross

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Patti (Spady) Ross graduated from Washington, DC's Duke Ellington School for the Performing Arts. As a lifetime learner her most recent certificate is in Writing for Social Justice from the University of California, Berkeley. After high-school, she performed with several local theater companies in the Washington region. In addition to her performance career, she used her college degree in print media to freelance several of her journalist pieces gaining publication in the Washington Times and the Rural America newspapers. A few years ago, Patti rediscovered her love of writing and is sharing her voice as the spoken word artist "little pi." Her debut chapbook, St. Paul Street Provocations, was released in 2021 by Yellow Arrow Publishing; she was nominated for a Pushcart Prize for her poem "Indemnity". She is a former board member for the Maryland Writers Association. Patti is the first Poet in Residence for the AA Food Bank in partnership with PoetryXHunger. Her most recent publication is in the anthology: Writing the Land: Foodways and Social Justice, Release October 2022
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Kristin Kowalski Ferragut

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Kristin Kowalski Ferragut writes poetry, songs, short stories and essays. She lives in Maryland where she teaches, plays guitar, sings, rides her bike, and hosts the DiVerse Gaithersburg Poetry Reading and Open Mic. She is author of the full-length poetry collection Escape Velocity (Kelsay Books, 2021) and the children's book Becoming the Enchantress: A Magical Transgender Tale (Loving Healing Press, 2021). Her poetry has appeared in Beltway Quarterly, Bourgeon, Anti-Heroin Chic, Fledgling Rag, Little Patuxent Review, and Gargoyle Magazine among others. More, including her blog, Poetry & Other Mystical Space, can be found on her website at


Pulitzer Prize Winner William Meredith served as U.S. Consultant In Poetry to The Library Of Congress, 1978-1980, a term now known as U.S. Poet Laureate,

Commentary by Grace Cavalieri

20th Century Poets William Meredith

Josephine Jacobsen was a Canadian-born American poet, short story writer, essayist, and critic. She was appointed the twenty-first Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 1971. In 1997, she received the Poetry Society of America’s highest award, the Robert Frost Medal for Lifetime Achievement in Poetry. Jacobsen lived in Baltimore, MD.

20th Century Poets Josephine Jackson

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18th century writer Madame de Stael is unknown to American readers - until now. She authored 40 books (novels, plays, political theories). She was part of a coup to unseat Napoleon. Why do we know the writers Rousseau, Burke, Godwin? And not a woman equal, in thought and action?

Now, French history, in the midst of the Revolution, is told with letters in the voice of Madame Germaine de Stael, imagined by Grace Cavalieri. All facts, dates, are accurate - only a woman writer's humanity is newly available.

Letters by Grace Cavalieri, with glorious photographs by Dan Murano.



 This program is co-sponsored by Georgetown University, Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding/Center for Contemporary Arab Studies collaborative Education Outreach program, and the Fund for the Future of Our Children (  The U.S. Department of Education is funding a National Resource Center on the Middle East and North Africa which is providing funding for this program along with the co-sponsor Future of Our Children.

* note: The session working with teachers was excluded to protect privacy

Audio - Part 2

Maryland Poet Laureate, Grace Cavalieri, shows how to bring poetry into the classroom; giving teachers poetry experience and tools.

The Poet Laureate stands in a classroom addressing elementary-age students while a teacher looks on.
Poet Laureate Grace Cavalieri working with students.

Click here to hear the story of Little Garlic—Enchanted Tales for all Ages, winner of the National Indie Excellence Awards in the category of Children’s books, written by Maryland author Avideh Shshaani, narrated by Maryland Poet Laureate Grace Cavalieri. 2 hours 40 minutes