Grace was born and raised in Trenton New Jersey, child of Angelo and Nettie Cavalieri and sister to Judith. She attended Trenton High and Trenton College of New Jersey: then — many years and 4 children later — attended Rollins Univ. graduate school (Florida,) finally getting an MA from Goddard Univ. in Creative writing (Vermont,) and ALSO did post grad English work at U of Md. College Park, (Maryland.) Having married as an undergraduate at TNJ, she was a lifelong “Navy Wife” while pursuing a writing career on page and stage for the next 20 years.
Her professional work started as Playwright in residence at Antioch College, then teaching poetry in Baltimore, Columbia, MD and Washington DC campuses (1969-75.) In 1976 she was part of core staff founding WPFW-FM, Washington DC’s jazz radio station where poetry was put on air on a regular basis, plus live poetry and jazz festivals. Cavalieri sometimes produced poetry and jazz 12 hours straight all day long on-air, winning her the CPB Silver Medal for this “Ribbon of Song.” Her program “The Poet and the Poem” started on WPFW and she hosted and produced it live for 20 years (1977-1997,) although she left WPFW‘s daily staff to work at PBS in 1979.
The series (The Poet and the Poem) is now recorded at the Library of Congress for distribution via NPR Content Depot, free to public radio. It celebrates 34 years on air in 2011.More than 2,500 poets have been presented on microphone. Every Poet Laureate of the U.S. has been featured on “The Poet and the Poem” since 1989. Many of these interviews have been published in magazines. The American Poetry Review has featured Richard Wilbur, Rita Dove, Joseph Brodsky, Mark Strand, Kay Ryan among others; Donald Hall and Ted Kosher have been published in Pembroke; Charles Simic in Paterson Literary Review, etc.
She left WPFW‘s daily staff to work at PBS in 1979 as Assoc Dir for Education and Children’s Programming, in charge of the national daytime schedule. Poetry was finally seeing its way onto the national scene. At PBS she was able to assist the idea for “VOICES AND VISIONS “which would see its
way as the first prime time poetry series on PBS. In 1982, Grace became a Media Program Officer at the National Endowment for the Humanities, where she shepherded “Voices and Visions” further as it was supported for production… Poetry for prime time broadcast.
Grace Cavalieri has 21 produced plays to her credit since 1968, and has won playwriting production awards. Cavalieri’s play “Quilting the Sun” was recently presented at the Smithsonian Institution.(Xoregos Performance Company.) It received its world premiere in Greenville, S.C., 2007, gaining her the key to the city of Greenville. It will see production again, 2011, Beaufort, S.C. Her 20th produced play “Jennie & the JuJu Man” premiered in NYC, 2004. She wrote a play about Mary Wollstonecraft (“Hyena in Petticoats”) which received acclaim in its first staged presentation at the NYC Public Library, and subsequent production in Durango Colorado’s outdoor amphitheater. Her new work for theater is on Anna Nicole Smith and the play has had readings in NYC and Washington DC, during 2009. “Anna Nicole: Blonde Glory” premieres in NYC August, 2011.This will be the 4th Cavalieri full length play to receive full production in NYC. A new children’s play “Lena’s Quilt premiered in NYC “Harlem Renaissance” to honor Black History Month, 2010&2011.
She has written texts and lyrics for Baltimore Vivian Adelberg Rudow’s music, produced for theater and operatic presentation (beginning in 1974). Two operas have been produced written by Cavalieri and Rudow. Their collaboration spans 35 years. One of their pieces was most recently performed by the Annapolis Chamber Orchestra and Annapolis Chorale in 2007. Their operas have been heard nationally via public radio.
Another longtime collaborator is American artist Mary Ellen Long with whom Cavalieri has written poetry for silk-screens and art works in galleries throughout the country. They collaborated on two books, incorporating Mary Ellen’s art: Little Line, for children; and Migrations, poetry.
Cavalieri teaches poetry workshops throughout the country. She has read and taught in more than 20 colleges. In 1993 she was visiting poet at Oxford Univ. Students Abroad Program. She was a visiting poet to St. Mary’s College of Maryland for 28 consecutive years, as Assoc Dir. St M. poetry festivals. Also in Maryland, she lectured at Goucher, and was in residence at the College of Notre Dame. During 2007 Grace was invited to visit and read in five universities. She was the resident poet for Word Work’s annual Writer’s Retreat in Tuscany, for eight consecutive years (1996-2003). She was invited to a poetry residency at Goethe-Institut-Berlin’s “Literary Colloquium” along with Rita Dove and Henry Taylor in 2003.
She founded two poetry presses: Washington Writers Publishing House (1976) and the Bunny and the Crocodile Press (1977) (aka Forest Woods Media), both still thriving. Until 2011 she was Book Review Editor for http://www.themontserratreview.com where her column “America’s Stage” is featured. Her poetry commentaries are on MiPoradio; http://www.miporadio.net/GRACE_CAVALIERI/index.html.
When her daughters were grown, in 1988 Grace and her husband, metal-sculptor, Kenneth Flynn moved to West Virginia so he could have larger studio space for his art. At that time, in West Virginia she was active with the WV State Literacy Board, and in 2002 moved to Annapolis, MD. She now lives and writes in Annapolis. They now have 4 grandchildren. They have been married 58 years.
. The Grace Cavalieri Papers are at GWU’s Gelman Library Dept. of Special Collections. 1000 programs of her “The Poet and the Poem” series are archived at GWU’s Melvin Gelman Library. 100 programs are at the Harvard Woodberry Library “Listening Post.” Others are archived at the Pacifica Program Archives and the Library of Congress. The series is cited in the Encyclopedia of Broadcasting for its longevity.
- NAVY WIFE (2008 GOSS183)
- Sounds Like Something I would Say (2008 GOSS183)
- The Poet’s Cookbook (ed) Bordighera Press (2009)
- Anna Nicole: Poems (2008 GOSS183)
- Editor, The Poet’s Cookbook: Recipes from Germany+ Poems in German and English (Forest woods Media and Goethe-Institut, 2010)
- Editor, The Poet’s Cookbook: RECIPES FROM TUSCANY + Poems in Italian and English (Bordighera Press ,2009)
- What I Would Do For Love: Poems in the Voice of Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797) (Jacaranda Press, 2004)
- Little Line, Children’s Picture Book, (2003)
- Greatest Hits (Pudding House Publications, 2002)
- Cuffed Frays (Argonne House Press,2001)
- Sit Down, Says Love (Argonne House Press, 1999)
- Heart on a Leash (Red Dragon Press, 1998)
- Pinecrest Rest Haven, Winner, Capital Collection, 1998 Word Words, Inc.
- Migrations (Vision Library Publications, 1995)
- Poems: New & Selected (Vision Library Publications, 1993, 2nd Printing 1994)
- Trenton (Belle Mead Press, 1990, 2nd printing 1992)
- WPFW 89.3FM Anthology (Antology Editor) (Bunny and Crocodile Press, 1990, 2nd printing 1992)
- Creature Comforts (Word Works, 1982)
- Bliss (Hillmunn Roberts Publishing Company, 1986)
- Swan Research (Word Works, 1979)
- Why I Cannot Take A Lover (Washington Writer’s Publishing House,1975)
- Body Fluids, Bunny and Crocodile Press,1976
- The Pen-Syndicated Fiction Award
- The Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award
- Bordighera Poetry Award,
- The Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry
- The National Endowment for the Arts
- The Corporation for Public Broadcasting Silver Medal
- The National Commission on Working Women
- The American Association of University Women
- The Paterson Award for Literary Excellence
- The Dragonfly Press Award for Outstanding Literary Achievement
- The DC Poet Laureate Special Award in Poetry
- The DC Public Humanities Award, Humanist of the year
- Inaugural Columbia Merit Award for Service to Poetry (Folger Library)
- Best Books List, Pen American Center
- Finalist Paterson Prize
- Playwriting Fellowship Maryland State Arts Council
- Playwriting Fellowships W.V. Humanities Council
- Poetry Award WV Commission on the Arts
- Poetry Award DC Commission on Arts and Humanities
- The Grace Cavalieri Papers” George Washington University’s Melvin Gelman Library
- Grace Cavalieri – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- Currency of the Heart
- An Interview with Grace Cavalieri
- Scene4 Magazine
- Interviews with U.S. Poets Laureate
- Interviews with Significant Poets