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The Poet and the Poem 2022-23 Series

Eduardo C. Corral
Carmen Calatayud

Susana H. Case

Joan K. Selby

Abdul Ali

Kwame Alexander

Diane Wilbon Parks

fahima ife

Nancy Arbuthnot

Majda Gama

Cathy Hailey

Henry Mills

Joseph Fasano

Quique Aviles

Ryler Dustin

David Lehman

Wayne Karlin &
Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai


Jean Nordhaus

Patrick Bringley

Dr Nishi Chawla

The Poet and the Poem 2022-23 Series

Katherine J. Williams

Daniel Pravda

Sally Wen Mao

Evie Shockley

Jennifer Homans

James J. Patterson

The Song In the Room: Six Women Poets

Terence Winch

William Heath

Terry Edmonds

Deanna Nikaido

Hailey Leithauser

Danny Queen

Rachel Pastan

David Keplinger

Jane Clarke

Dr. Tonee Moll

Susan Okie

Truth Thomas

Greg McBride

Edgar Kunz

Andrew Wong &
Lai Fong Wong

Laura Shovan

The Poet and the Poem 2022-23 Series

Eva Brann

Kondwani Fidel

George Ella Lyon

Vailes Shepperd

Miho Kinnas

Maria Mazziotti Gillan

Annie Finch

Samuel Peralta

Melvin E. Brown

Stewart Moss

Barbara Quick

Kim B Miller

Barbara Goldberg

Laura Costas

Kira Thurman

Joel Dias Porter

Esperanza Hope Snyder

Pat Valdata

Taylor Johnson

Maria Lisella

John Berry

Minnie Bruce Pratt

Daniel Mark Epstein

Ada Limón

Marita Golden

Avideh Shashaani

Joyce Kornblatt

Mary Morris

Pamela Woolford

Heid E. Erdrich


W. Luther Jett

Tim Seibles

Shara McCallum

Frank X Walker

Patti (Spady) Ross

Sunu P. Chandy

Kristin Kowalski Ferragut

Merrill Leffler

Hiram Larew


The Poet and the Poem 2021-22 Series

Ocean Vuong

Terence Winch

Lenard D. Moore

John Doe

Jerry Ward

Henry Crawford

Didi Menendez

Francisco Aragón

Tom Kirlin

Jona Colson and
Caroline Bock

Jehanne Dubrow

Miles David Moore

Maggie Doherty

Cornelius Eady

Paul Bartlett

Y.S. Fing

Teri Ellen Cross Davis

Sandra Beasley

Fleda Brown

Jeanne Murray Franklin

Rion Amilcar Scott

Jiwon Choi

Lenny DellaRocca

David Keplinger

Sandra Yannone

Willie Perdomo

J.P. Dancing Bear

Anne Harding Woodworth

Richard Harteis
& Tom Veys

Thomas Sayers Ellis

The Poet and the Poem 2020-21 Series

Barbara DeCesare

The Write Blend
Poetry Collective

Pamela Murray Winters

Shirley J. Brewer

Garrett J. Brown

Temple Cone

Lauren K. Alleyne

Doritt Carroll

Yao Hoke Glover III

Meg Eden

George Bilgere

Robert Earl Price

Robert Earl Price

Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka

Andrew McConnell Stott

Jody Bolz

Dr. Monifa A. Love

Jericho Brown

Jose Padua

Ann Bracken

Jesse N. Alexander

Jeffrey Coleman

Carolyn Joyner

Barbara Quick

Linda Joy Burke

Kim Roberts

Mecca Verdell

John O'Dell

Ned Balbo

Carolyn Forché

The Poet and the Poem 2020 Series

Panna Naik

Joanna Howard

Lisa Vihos

Fatemeh Keshavarz

Steve Leyva

Seema Reza

Judith Farr

Susan Orlean

Nancy Mitchell

celeste doaks

Robert Ertman

Joy Harjo

Natwar Gandhi

Mervyn Taylor

Jane Clarke

Rob Richmond

The Poet and the Poem 2019 Series

Dr. Xuhua Liang

Chad Frame

Erica Wright

David Gewanter

Wendy Lesser

Marcus Jackson

Michael Lally

Nin Andrews

Linda Pastan

Kyle Dargan

Virginia Smith

Kim Roberts

Abhay K.

Geraldine Connolly

Bob Hicok

George Bilgere

Jeannine M. Pitas

Jorie Graham

Lesley Nneka Arimah

Poets Commemorate China's Nanking Massacre

Arielle Saiber

The Poet and the Poem 2018 Series

Zeina Hashem Beck

Sherwin Bitsui

Linda Rodriguez
George Wallace
Bojan Louis
Margo Jefferson
Anna Lawton
Lauren Camp
Diane Wilbon Parks
Rachel Corbett
Patrick Washington
Mike Maggio
Holly Bass
Terry Blackhawk
Frank X Walker
Shauna Morgan
Tracy K Smith
Matthew Hittinger
Platos Symposium
Fleda Brown
Eli Gottlieb
Reuben Jackson
Kevin Gordon
Emily Fragos
Sandra Evans Falconer
The Poet & the Poem 2017 Featured Poets for the 40th Anneversary
The Literary Review
Fairleigh Dickinson University
Harteis' Appreciation of Cavalieri's "Other Voices, Other Lives."
Jim Reese
Mark McMorris
E. Ethelbert Miller
Collective Voices
Elizabeth Hazen
Judith McCombs
Joseph Ross
Hayes Davis
Indran Amirthanayagam
Evie Shockley
Dai Sil Kim-Gibson
Barbara Goldberg
Nancy Carlson
Hope Snyder
Laura Shovan
I Gave You My Work, Gilbert
Don't Undersell Yourself
You Can't Start The Spiritual Journey
The Protest
Going South
Two by Two
This Is
Washington Independant Review
Podcast from WPFW-FM
"The Man Who Got Away"
Geoffrey Himes
The December
A Review by
Sonja James
Review of Wicked Stage
by Daniela Gioseff
Fund for the Future of Children "Emerging Voices in Poetry"
Interviews with
U.S. Poets Laureate
Interviews with Significant Poets
Currency of the Heart
An Interview with Grace Cavalieri
Scene4 Magazine
Grace Cavalieri's book and theater reviews at The Montserrat Review
Tapes and Books
Pinecrest Rest Haven Audio Tape
WPFW 89.3FM Poetry Anthology

© 2024 Grace Cavalieri


an interview with grace cavalieri

Image of Grace

Photo by Dan Murano

december advisory editor Grace Cavalieri is the author of 18 poetry collections, 26 produced plays, and the texts of two operas, and is the co-author of The Italian Poet's Cookbook. The recipient of countless awards (including the 2013 AWP George Garrett Award, the Pen Fiction Award, and the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award), Grace writes a monthly poetry feature for the Washington Independent Review of Books. For more than 30 years, she has been the producer and host of public radio's The Poet and The Poem, broadcast weekly from the Library of Congress. Graces's poems have appeared in december Vols. 15, 24, and 26.2.
DECEMBER: What's on your nightstand right now?

CAVALIERI: Just out! You Come Too: My Journey with Robert Frost by (his granddaughter) Lesley Lee Francis.

DECEMBER: Describe your writing routine, if you have one. Do you write at set times and places or can you write wherever you are? Do you have a favorite place to write?

CAVALIERI: I write longhand and like to write plays in bed, preferably in Key West. For some reason I can only write plays in Key West.
As for book reviews, radio, and poetry business I am at my computer many hours a day in my home office.
Poetry-making is a matter of seizing scraps of paper, collecting imagery and ideas, wherever I am, and when the moment occurs I go to my sunroom, with a spiral notebook, once again to write longhand before revising to the computer. I can't start a poem without ingredients, so my process is to collect; thoughts and feelings – then my observations, flashes, pangs, tell me what the poem wants to be.

DECEMBER: How do your personal experiences manifest in your work? When, if ever, do you feel the need to adjust things in your work (settings, characters, etc.) to protect people in your life?

CAVALIERI: Great question as it hinges on the moral life of the writer. I do not believe a work of art is worth one single person. I could never exploit my family or friends as subjects for poems if it betrayed intimacy or personal details that don't belong to me and the reader has not earned. However, I plunder my own life all day long. I think each of my characters has a piece of my emotional life. I always say, It's all fiction but the feelings.

DECEMBER: How does a poem begin for you, with an idea, a form, or an image?

CAVALIERI: Sometimes I engage in a method of starting with 10 words to see where they lead me. In fact, I've established a poetry group where we provide each other 10 words, monthly, and take it from there. Fascinating outcomes. It's fun to let language do the talking sometimes.
Many times I write from dreams because the potency wants to be heard; more often, I recall an incident and tell its story as narrative.

DECEMBER: Which four writers (dead or alive) would you invite to a dinner party?

CAVALIERI: Louise Gluck (but I'd be too nervous to cook)
Edna St. Vincent Millay
Lucille Clifton
Juan Felipe Hererra

DECEMBER: What can the literary community – meaning writers like you and publications like us – do to expand the audience for good literature?

CAVALIERI: I think every writer should put his/her shoulder to the wheel to make it happen. Readers were not put on earth to make writers happy. We have to be accessible, create public venues, subscribe to magazines, further other writers – bring poetry into unlikely places. The worst picture I can think of is a writer who does his/her writing, then lies down to wait for the world to spoon-feed its reactions. There is work to be done after the manuscript is finished. What if every time a writer is published, s/he were obligated to write a review of another writer?! Wouldn't we expand the universe!

DECEMBER: Best snack food during a marathon writing stretch?

CAVALIERI: I think prose people are better to answer that. But I will say I drink tea all day long. And I could live on tea and toast happily forever. I must have been a nun in my past life. Tea keeps me rewarded all day.

DECEMBER: Lastly, what was it like to be an original contributor to December and see it reemerge?

CAVALIERI: I love this question. When my poems were accepted (1973-74,) I then believed I was entitled to keep writing. Before this time, my poems were in magazines with such small runs, they may not have hit the next neighborhood. december and The Agni Review were the first adrenalin boosts that were given to me from serious editors. The fact that december has been restored to the world makes me feel that I have been too.

Senior Editor Ron A. Austin interviewed Grace Cavalieri for the this installment of december's monthly contributor interview.