Grace Cavalieri

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Grace Cavalieri is an American poet, playwright, and radio host of the Library of Congress program The Poet and the Poem. In 2019, she was appointed the tenth Poet Laureate of Maryland.


  • BS - Education: English and History, The College of New Jersey, Trenton, 1954
  • MA - Creative Writing & Education: Goddard University, Plainfield, VT, 1975
  • Post-Graduate Studies, Graduate School of English, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, 1975–1976
  • Graduate Studies in Education, Graduate School of Education, Rollins University, Orlando, FL, 1962–1963

Literary career[edit]

In 1979 she founded The Bunny and the Crocodile Press/Forest Woods Media Productions, Inc., a publishing house and media production company.

Anna Nicole: Poems By Grace Cavalieri written by Grace Cavalieri was first published on March 7, 2008.

LIFE UPON THE WICKED STAGE: A Memoir written by Grace Cavalieri was first published on May 1, 2015.

In 2019, she was appointed the tenth Poet Laureate of Maryland.

Cavalieri has published 26 books and chapbooks of poetry, plus fiction.[1] She has written many produced plays, plus texts for two produced operas. She co-founded the Washington Writers Publishing House with John McNally in 1976 and served on its editorial board from 1976 to 1982. In addition, in 1979 she founded The Bunny and the Crocodile Press/Forest Woods Media Productions, Inc., a publishing house and media production company. Forest Woods Media Productions produces The Poet and the Poem for podcasts and public radio, now celebrating 44 years. As of 2014, she still operates the small press, which is actively publishing. She has lectured and taught throughout the United States at several colleges and universities, and was, for 25 years, visiting poet at St. Mary's College of Maryland. She was resident writer at the Word Works annual retreat in Tuscany, 1996–2003.[2] She was book editor of The Montserrat Review until 2011. She writes a monthly poetry feature entitled “Exemplars” for the Washington Independent Review of Books (2011–present).[2]

Radio career[edit]

Cavalieri has had a long-term connection with public radio and public radio programming. Cavalieri and a core staff founded the non-commercial radio station WPFW-FM after being awarded a three-year National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Radio Development Grant in 1976. Cavalieri worked for the station as Director of Arts Programming from 1976 to 1978, and as a radio producer from 1976 to 1985. She has produced more than 100 programs in radio drama, and poetry and arts criticism, including Poetry from the City, Expressions, and Writer's Workshop on the Air.[2]

Cavalieri worked as a radio broadcaster at WPFW-FM from 1977 to 1997 and is best known in the Washington literary community for her program The Poet and the Poem.[3] The show aired weekly from 1977 to 1997, and was distributed nationally through the Pacifica Radio station network, which includes KPFA-FM/KPFB-FM Berkeley, California, KPFK-FM North Hollywood, California, KPFT-FM Houston, Texas, and WBAI-FM New York City, New York. Cavalieri stopped airing The Poet and the Poem through WPFW-FM in 1997 and now presents this series to public radio from the Library of Congress via NPR satellite. Approximately ten episodes from the Library of Congress series are produced each season, and podcasts are made available through the Library of Congress.[4] Typically, The Poet and the Poem features poets who live in the Washington, D.C. area and have become a part of the Washington literary community. Cavalieri has been committed to presenting various American cultural traditions on the program and is particularly interested in the black literary community. The recordings of her programs include a significant collection of African-American poets.[2]

In addition, she was an Associate Director of Programming at the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) for five years and subsequently served as program officer of the National Endowment for the Humanities media program from 1982 to 1988.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Cavalieri lives in Annapolis, Maryland.[5] She has four adult daughters. Her husband, sculptor Kenneth Flynn, died on January 15, 2013.[6]



  • 1975 - Why I Cannot Take a Lover - (Washington Writers Publishing House)
  • 1976 - Body Fluids (Bunny and the Crocodile Press)
  • 1979 - Swan Research (Word Works)
  • 1986 - Bliss (Hillmunn Roberts Publishing)
  • 1990 - Trenton (Belle Mead Press)
  • 1995 - Migrations : Poems with Mary Ellen Long (Book Distribution, In Support)
  • 1998 - Pinecrest Rest Haven (Word Works)
  • 1998 - Heart on a Leash (Red Dragon Press)
  • 1999 - Sit Down, Says Love (Argonne Hotel Press)
  • 2001 - Cuffed Frays and Other Works (Argonne Press)
  • 2002 - Greatest Hits, 1975-2000 (Pudding House Press)
  • 2004 - What I Would Do For Love (Jacaranda Press)
  • 2006 - Water On The Sun: Acqua Sul Sole (translated by Maria Enrico) - (Bordighera, Inc.)
  • 2008 - Anna Nicole: Poems (Goss 183: Casa Menendez)
  • 2010 - Navy Wife (Goss 183: Casa Menendez)
  • 2010 - Sounds Like Something I Would Say (Goss 183: Casa Menendez)
  • 2011 - Millie's Sunshine Tiki Villas: A Novella in Verse (Goss 183: Casa Menendez)
  • 2012 - Gotta Go Now (Goss 183: Casa Medendez)
  • 2013 - Cosa farei per Amore: Poesie dalla voce di Mary Wollstonecraft
  • 2014 - The Man Who Got Away (New Academia/Scarith)
  • 2014 - The Mandate of Heaven (Bordighera Press)
  • 2015 - Life Upon The Wicked Stage(New Academia/Scarith)
  • 2016 - With (Somondoco Press)
  • 2017 - Other Voices, Other Lives (Alan Squire Publishing)
  • 2019 - Showboat (Goss Publication)
  • 2020 - What The Psychic Said (Goss Publication)
  • 2021 - The Secret Letters of Madame de Stael (Goss Publication)
  • 2021 - Grace Art: Poetry and Paintings (Poet's Choice Publishing)
  • 2022 - Why I Cannot Take A Lover, 2nd Edition (Washington Writer's Publishing House)

Edited volumes[edit]

  • 1992 – WPFW 89.5FM Poetry Anthology: The Poet and the Poem (Bunny and the Crocodile Press)
  • 1997 – Cycles of the Moon Vine by Jean Emerson (Forest Woods Media Productions)
  • 2009 – The Poet’s Cookbook: Recipes from Tuscany with poems from 28 American poets (translator, Sabine Pascarelli) (Bordighera Press)
  • 2010 – The Poet's Cookbook: Recipes from Germany with poems from 33 American Poets (Translator, Sabine Pascarelli) (Goethe-Institut & Forest Woods Media)
  • 2019 – Poet Trees, photographs by Dan Murano with ekphrastic poems by poets
  • 2021 – The Song In The Room (Forest Woods Media)
  • 2021 – The Road Beneath Our Feet by Dan Murano with ekphrastic poems by poets

Produced plays and staged play readings 1966–2019[edit]

  • Quilting The Sun, Dream-Up Festival, Theater for the New York City, NYC 2019
  • Calico and Lennie, Theater for the New York City, NYC 2017
  • Anna Nicole: Blonde Glory

Dream Up Festival NYC, August 2011
Reading, Muhlenberg Library, NYC March 2009
Reading, Bethesda MD Writers’ Center, May 2009
Reading full length NYC, March 2011
Scene4: International Magazine of the Arts 2010

  • Lena's Quilt

Harlem Renaissance NYC (museums and libraries) February and March 2010 & 2011

  • Quilting the Sun

Theater for the New York City, NYC 2019
Palmetto Theater, ARTWORKS, Beaufort SC 2011
World Premiere Centre Stage, Greenville SC 2007

  • Jennie & The JuJu Man

Typewriter Dreams Common Basis Theatre 2003
CUNY Grad Center, NYC Theater Festival 2004

  • Hyena in Petticoats

Reading, Takoma Park Theater, Maryland March 2010
Staged presentation, NYC Public Library March 2006
Staged Production, Ft. Lewis College CO June 2007
Publication Scene4:International Magazine of the Arts

  • Passage Grace's text: MAP

Art, Poetry, Dance Installation, Artposium, Durango CO September 2007 (note: the Corner Theater in Baltimore was started by Ellen Stewart of NYC's Café La Mama)

  • The Late and Blooming Early Branch

Polemic Theater, Washington DC 1968
Corner Theater, Baltimore MD 1969, 1970
Milford MA High School 1970
William and Mary College, Williamsburg VA 1970
One Act Publishing Company 1968

  • Birds That Call Before The Rain

Corner Theater, Baltimore MD 1968
Theater Lobby, Washington DC 1969
William and Mary College, VA 1970

  • The Death Of A Child By Beating Or Not

Corner Theater, Baltimore MD 1968 & 1970

  • What Shall We Do Yesterday

Corner Theater, Baltimore MD 1968, 1970
Polemic Theater, Washington DC 1969
Towson State College 1970
Trinity University, San Antonio TX 1971
Notre Dame College, Baltimore MD 1970
La Pensee, Seattle WA, 1975-76
Produced for radio, Pacifica network 1977

  • Heads

Notre Dame College, Baltimore MD 1970
The Corner Theater, 1970
Theater Prospect, San Francisco CA 1973

  • The Planned Escape Of Bonita And Bright

William and Mary College, VA 1970

  • Old Favorites

The Corner Theater 1971
Washington DC's Contemporary Arts Theater 1999

  • Eleventh Hour Song

The Corner Theater 1971

  • Smarts

Antioch College, Baltimore MD 1971

  • Backyard Fun

Upstairs Theater, Columbia MD
Antioch College, Columbia MD (there are 3 Antioch College Centers)

  • Cuffed Frays

Produced for radio: The Pacifica Network, 1962
For Stage: The Charleston Stage Company, Charleston WV 20001
Published in verse form, Argonne House Press, c. 2001

  • Best Of Friends (several other places, cities and theaters)

College of Notre Dame 1975
Theater Project 1976
Corner Theater 1975
La Pensee Theater, Seattle WA 1975- 76
Moming Theater (Reading) Chicago IL 1977
(Renamed) The Sticker Tree
Quaigh Theater NYC 1986
Scene4:International Magazine of the Arts

  • Stripping

Reading, The John Houseman Theater NYC 1993
Children's play: In The Land Of Elbows
Webster Grove Children's Theater, MO 1970

  • Hush, No One Is Listening

Festival, Religion and Art, Sacramento CA, 1970
Dramatics Magazine c. 1972
Kauri, 1968

  • We Regret to Inform You

Theater Lobby, Washington DC, 1970
Univ of Missouri 1969
Radio Production: Pacifica Network, 1977
Per/Se, The Smith Magazine 1970

  • Keeper of the Station

University of Washington, Seattle WA, 1966
Contemporary Drama Service 1970
Kauri 1968

  • Pinecrest Rest Haven

The Common Basis Theatre, NYC 2001
Staged Readings:
Clemente del Sole, NYC 1998
The Ice House, Berkeley Springs, WV 1998
The Writer's Center of Washington DC, Bethesda MD 1998
Audio Production: Tape
Scene4: International Magazine of the Arts
PEMBROKE Magazine, Univ of NC at Pembroke

  • Harvest Kitchen

Produced for Radio Pacifica Network 1976

  • Getting Ready

The WPA Theater, NYC 1972

MONO OPERA, lyrics and text
The Walters Museum and Gallery, Baltimore MD 1986
Text and Libretto for Opera

  • Migrations (music by Vivian Adelberg Rudow)

Franz Bader Gallery, Washington DC 1988
(Partial reading) Loyola College, Baltimore MD 2000
Radio production via NPR satellite 1988, 1989
Pacifica Network, 1988 & 1990
Vision Library Publications, c1995

  • Song Cycle

Lyrics for Purple Ice with composer Vivian Adelberg Rudow
Several stages in Baltimore MD

  • Journey of Waters song, lyrics

Annapolis Chorale and Chamber Music Orchestra w. Composer Rudow
St. Anne's Church, Annapolis MD 2006
Har Sinai Synagogue, Baltimore MD 2006
CDs of Cavalieri/Rudow collaboration (2005-2011)


  • True Stories : Fiction by Uncommon Women (Red Dragon Press, 1997).

Literary awards[edit]

  • 2013 George Garrett Award for Community Service to Literature "for her dedication to helping the next generation of writers find their way as artists and literary professionals".
  • 2013 Co-winner, 2013 Allen Ginsberg Award for Poetry
  • 2015 The Inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award from Washington Independent Review of Books
  • 2015 THE MANDATE OF HEAVEN Bordighera Press Paterson Award for Literary Excellence
  • 2018 Selected to serve as the next Poet Laureate for the State of Maryland
  • 2019 The Annie Award
  • The Paterson Literary Review Lifetime Achievement Award for Service to Poetry
  • The Columbia Award
  • The Pen-Syndicated Fiction Award
  • The Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award
  • Paterson Poetry Prize for What I Would Do for Love: Poems in the Voice of Mary Wollstonecraft
  • The National Endowment for the Arts
  • The Corporation for Public Broadcasting Silver Medal
  • The American Association of University Women
  • The Paterson Award for Literary Excellence for Anna Nicole: Poems
  • The Dragonfly Press Award for Outstanding Literary Achievement
  • The DC Poet Laureate Special Award in Poetry
  • The DC Public Humanities Award
  • The West Virginia Women in Arts Award

She has received several state arts and humanities council awards and fellowships. She received the inaugural Columbia Award from the Folger Shakespeare Library Poetry Committee for "significant contribution to poetry."


  1. ^ Grace Cavalieri - Poetry in Motion
  2. ^ a b c d e Guide to the Grace Cavalieri Papers, 1945-2014, Special Collections Research Center, Estelle and Melvin Gelman Library, The George Washington University.
  3. ^ The Poet and the Poem Poet and the Poem page on Library of Congress website.
  4. ^ Library of Congress press release, 2007 July
  5. ^ "Grace Cavalieri". Poetry Foundation. 12 May 2020.
  6. ^ Kenneth Flynn Obituary, Capital Gazette, Jan. 19, 2013.

External links[edit]