Newburyport Literary Festival

A Celebration of Literature, Readers, and Writers
• In-Person & Virtual Events • April 26–28, 2024

Listed in alphabetical order

William BaerWilliam Baer

A Return to Form: The Poetry of Erica Dawson and William Baer — Saturday 3:00 PM William Baer, a recent Guggenheim fellow, is the author of eighteen books, including five collections of poetry, most recently “Bocage” and Other Sonnets (recipient of the X.J. Kennedy Poetry Prize). His other books include Luís de Camões: Selected Sonnets; The Ballad Rode into Town; and The Unfortunates (recipient of the T.S. Eliot Award). A former Fulbright (Portugal) and the recipient of a N.E.A. Creative Writing Fellowship, his next book, Love Sonnets, is forthcoming from Kelsay Press. He’s also the author of two collections of short fiction, Times Square and Other Stories and One-and-Twenty Tales, and his plays have been performed at more than twenty-five American theaters.

BruceBennettBruce Bennett

Learning from Experience: The Poetry of April Lindner and Bruce Bennett — Saturday 11:00 AM Bruce Bennett is the author of nine books of poems and more than twenty-five poetry chapbooks. His New and Selected Poems, Navigating The Distances (Orchises Press), was chosen by Booklist as “One Of The Top Ten Poetry Books Of 1999.” He co-founded and served as an editor of Field: Contemporary Poetry and Poetics and Ploughshares, and has reviewed contemporary poetry books in The New York Times Book Review, The Nation, Harvard Review, and elsewhere. In 2012 he was awarded a Pushcart Prize. He taught English and Creative Writing at Wells College in Aurora, New York, and directed the college’s Visiting Writers Series since 1973. In 2014 he retired from teaching at Wells and is now Professor Emeritus of English. In July 2015 he received the first Writing the Rockies Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Creative Writing.

Michael CantorMichael Cantor

A New York State of Mind: The Poetry of Michael Cantor and Rhina Espaillat — Saturday 1:00 PM Michael Cantor is the author of a full length poetry collection, Life in the Second Circle(Able Muse Press, 2012), which was a finalist for the Massachusetts Book Award in Poetry, and a 2007 chapbook, The Performer. His poems have appeared in The Dark Horse, Raintown Review, Measure, Alabama Literary Review, American Arts Quarterly, Kim, and many other journals and anthologies. Additional honors include the New England Poetry Club Gretchen Warren and Erika Mumford Awards and First Prize in the NAA Poetry Competition. He resides on nearby Plum Island, and is a long time Powow River Poets member.

Bill CoyleBill Coyle

Ancient Myth and Table Talk: The Poetry of Bill Coyle and Kirun Kapur — Saturday 2:00 PM Bill Coyle’s poems and translations have appeared in such journals as The Hudson Review, The New Republic, Poetry and Modern Poetry in Translation. His collection The God of This World to His Prophet (2006) won the New Criterion Poetry Prize, and he received a 2010 translation fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts to support his translation of the Swedish poet Håkan Sandell. His volume of translations of Sandell, Dog Star Notations: Selected Poems 1999-2016, will be published by Carcanet in March of 2016. He is currently a doctoral student at Boston University’s Editorial Institute, where he is writing a dissertation on the poet Tomas Tranströmer.

Erica DawsonErica Dawson

A Return to Form: The Poetry of Erica Dawson and William Baer — Saturday 3:00 PM Erica Dawson is the author of two collections of poetry: Big-Eyed Afraid, winner of the 2006 Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize, and The Small Blades Hurt, winner of the 2014 Florida Book Award Bronze Medal in Poetry. Her work has appeared in Birmingham Poetry Review, Harvard Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, three editions of Best American Poetry, and many other journals and anthologies. She is an Assistant Professor of English and Writing at The University of Tampa. She is also Director of UT’s Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing.

Daniel Mark EpsteinDaniel Mark Epstein

Opening Night Ceremony — Friday 6:00 PM The Poetry of Daniel Mark Epstein and Jay Parini — Saturday 10:00 AM Daniel Mark Epstein is a biographer, poet, and dramatist whose work has been widely published and performed. Born in Washington, D.C. in 1948, he was educated at Kenyon College. In the 1970s his poetry first appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, and The New Republic. His first volume of poems was published by Liveright in 1973. His plays appeared soon thereafter in regional theater and Off-Broadway, and in 1978 he received the Prix de Rome for his poetry and dramatic works. In the 1980s he wrote his first biography, Sister Aimee: The Life of Aimee Semple McPherson, now in its fourth printing. His biography Nat King Cole was a 1999 New York Times Notable Book, reviewed on the cover of the NYT Book Review, and his biography of Edna St. Vincent Millay was a New York Public Library Honoree, “Books to Remember” for 2001. The Lincolns: Portrait of a Marriage, was named one of the Best Books of 2008 by both The Wall Street Journal and The Chicago Sun-Times. His honors include a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in 1974, a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1984, and an Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2006.

Rhina EspaillatRhina P. Espaillat

A New York State of Mind: The Poetry of Michael Cantor and Rhina Espaillat — Saturday 1:00 PM Rhina P. Espaillat has published nine full-length books and three chapbooks, comprising poems, essays and short stories in both English and her native Spanish. She has also published translations in both directions, including work by St. John of the Cross, Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz and Robert Frost, and has won various national awards, in the U.S.A and the Dominican Republic, for work in both languages, including the Richard Wilbur Award, the Nemerov Prize, The Robert Frost “Tree at My Window” Translation Prize, the May Sarton Award, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from Salem State College.

Midge GoldbergMidge Goldberg

Breakfast with the Poets — Saturday 8:30 AM Midge Goldberg’s book, Snowman’s Code, was the recipient of the 2015 Richard Wilbur Poetry Award. Her other books include Flume Ride (2006) and the children’s book My Best Ever Grandpa (2015), which was illustrated by local artist Valori Herzlich. Her poems have appeared in Measure, Light, Raintown Review, Appalachia, and on Garrison Keillor’s A Writer’s Almanac. Her poems are included in several anthologies, including Poetry Speaks: Who I Am, Hot Sonnets, the Powow River Anthology, and the Poets’ Guide to New Hampshire. She is a longtime member of the Powow River Poets and has an M.F.A. from the University of New Hampshire. She lives in Chester, New Hampshire, with her family, two cats, and an ever-changing number of chickens.

A.M. JusterA.M. Juster

Breakfast with the Poets — Saturday 8:30 AM A.M. Juster’s work has appeared in Poetry, Hudson Review, Paris Review, Southwest Review and many other journals. He won the Richard Wilbur Award for his first book of original poetry and the Barnstone Translation Prize; he is also a three-time winner of the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award. His most recent books are: Tibullus’ Elegies (Oxford University Press 2012), Saint Aldhelm’s Riddles (University of Toronto Press 2015) and Sleaze & Slander (Measure Press 2015). In 2016 White Violet Press will publish The Billy Collins Experience and the University of Pennsylvania Press will publish The Elegies of Maximianus. He is a graduate of Yale and Harvard with two honorary degrees.

Kirun KapurKirun Kapur

Ancient Myth and Table Talk: The Poetry of Bill Coyle and Kirun Kapur — Saturday 2:00 PM Kirun Kapur is the winner of the Arts & Letters Rumi Prize in Poetry and the Antivenom Poetry Award for her first book, Visiting Indira Gandhi’s Palmist (Elixir Press, 2015). Her work has appeared in AGNI, Poetry International, FIELD, The Christian Science Monitor and many other journals. She has taught creative writing at Boston University and has been awarded fellowships from The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Vermont Studio Center and MacDowell Colony. She is the founder and director of the North Shore arts program The Tannery Series and serves as Poetry Editor at The Drum Literary Magazine. She was recently named an “Asian-American poet to watch” by NBC news. Kapur grew up in Honolulu and now lives north of Boston.

Don KimballDon Kimball

Breakfast with the Poets — Saturday 8:30 AM Don Kimball is the author of three chapbooks, Tumbling (Finishing Line Press 2016), Journal of a Flatlander (Finishing Line Press 2009) and Skipping Stones (Pudding House 2008). His poems have appeared in The Formalist, The Lyric, Rattle, and various other journals and anthologies. Don is currently president of the Poetry Society of New Hampshire, and hosts the monthly poetry reading series at Gibson’s Bookstore in Concord, NH.

April LindnerApril Lindner

Learning from Experience: The Poetry of April Lindner and Bruce Bennett — Saturday 11:00 AM What a Girl Wants — Saturday 2:30 PM April Lindner is the author of two poetry collections, This Bed Our Bodies Shaped (Able Muse) and Skin, winner of the Walt MacDonald First Book Prize from Texas Tech University Press. With R. S. Gwynn, she co-edited Contemporary American Poetry, an anthology in the Longman Penguin Academics series. She also is the author of three young adult novels, all published by Poppy/Little Brown, Young Reader: Jane, Catherine, and Love, Lucy. A professor of English at Saint Joseph’s University, April lives in Havertown, Pennsylvania. Her website may be found at

Alfred NicolAlfred Nicol

Breakfast with the Poets — Saturday 8:30 AM Alfred Nicol’s new collection of poetry, Animal Psalms, will be published by Able Muse Press in March of this year. His previous collection, Elegy for Everyone, was chosen for the first Anita Dorn Memorial Prize in 2009.” Nicol received the 2004 Richard Wilbur Award for an earlier volume, Winter Light. Nicol has written lyrics in French and English for nine original compositions by classical/flamenco guitarist John Tavano. Their CD, The Subtle Thread, released in January, 2015, has received airplay on WMBR’s program French Toast. Nicol’s poems have appeared in Poetry, The Hopkins Review, Dark Horse, First Things, The New England Review, Commonweal, The Formalist, and other literary journals, as well as in Contemporary Poetry of New England and other anthologies.

Jay PariniJay Parini

The Poetry of Daniel Mark Epstein and Jay Parini — Saturday 10:00 AM Jay Parini is a poet, novelist, biographer, and critic. His six books of poetry include New and Collected Poems, 1975-2015 and The Art of Subtraction. He has written eight novels, including Benjamin’s Crossing, The Apprentice Lover, The Passages of H.M., and The Last Station – the latter was made into an Academy Award-nominated film starring Helen Mirren and Christopher Plummer and translated into over thirty languages. He has written biographies of John Steinbeck, Robert Frost, William Faulkner, Jesus, and Gore Vidal. His nonfiction works include The Art of Teaching, Why Poetry Matters and Promised Land: Thirteen Books that Changed America. He writes for various publications, including The New York Times, The Guardian, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. He often contributes op-ed pieces to CNN, The Daily Beast, and other websites. Film adaptations of Benjamin’s Crossing and his Gore Vidal biography are currently underway.

Deborah SzaboDeborah Szabo

Honoring Debbie Szabo — Saturday 7:00 PM 2016 Literary Festival honoree, Deborah Szabo was born and raised in New York City, attended the High School of Music and Art, Boston University (B.A. English), and Teachers College, Columbia University (M.A. Education). Early in her career and during the first seven years of court-ordered desegregation, she taught in the Boston Public Schools. She began teaching at Newburyport High School in 1982. During her tenure there, she founded the Creative Writing club, which evolved into a Creative Writing class; joined with students and local poets to start “Poetry Soup,” a forum for student poets; and following an intensive summer workshop with Robert Pinsky, began the Newburyport version of the Favorite Poem Project. She coaches the prize-winning Newburyport High School poetry slam team for Boston’s “Louder Than A Bomb”—the largest youth poetry slam in the country. After forty two years of teaching, Deborah still gets a thrill watching students discover the beauty of poetry.

Anton YakovlevAnton Yakovlev

Breakfast with the Poets — Saturday 8:30 AM Originally from Moscow, Russia, Anton Yakovlev lives in Ridgewood, New Jersey and works as a college textbook editor. He studied filmmaking and poetry at Harvard University. He is the author of chapbooks Neptune Court (The Operating System, 2015) and The Ghost of Grant Wood (Finishing Line Press, 2015). His poems are published or forthcoming in The New Yorker, Fulcrum, American Arts Quarterly, Measure, The Raintown Review, The Rotary Dial and elsewhere. He co-hosts the Carmine Street Metrics reading series in New York City and is a member of the Powow River Poets in Newburyport, Massachusetts. He has also directed several short films.