Grace Cavalieri papers
Collection Scope and Content
The audio and audio-visual materials in this collection date from 1974 to 2011, and include multiple formats such as magnetic audiotape reels, audiotape cassettes, Digital Audiotape Cassettes, Compact Discs, CD-ROMs, videotape cassettes, DVDs, and an LP album. The videotapes and DVDs consist primarily of recordings of "On the Go with AAUW," a public access television program produced by the Alexandria, Virginia branch of the American Association of University Women. Recordings of poetry readings and award ceremonies are also present. The audiotapes, CDs, and CD-ROMs in this collection consist mainly of recordings of collaborative work by Cavalieri and musician Vivian Adelberg Rudow, as well as arts and literature-oriented radio programs which were produced by Grace Cavalieri for WPFW-FM from the late 1976 to 1997, and for the Library of Congress from 1997 to 2008. These programs include "Poetry from the City," a program which aired live poetry readings given at various bookstores and libraries in the city, including some readings from E. Ethelbert Miller's well-known "Ascension Poetry Reading Series" which focuses on black and third world writers living in the United States; "Expressions," a program that featured literary critics discussing the works of selected poets; and "Writer's Workshop on the Air," a program for which writers could earn college credit by sending in their manuscripts and listening to the program while professional writers responded to their work on the air; and "The Poet and the Poem."
Recordings of, and supporting material for, Cavalieri's radio program "The Poet and the Poem" - the title of which she took from Judson Jerome's book of the same name on American poetry - comprise the largest part of this collection. Typically, the radio programs feature poets who are native to the Washington, D.C. area or have become a part of the Washington D.C. literary community. Included here are Poets Laureate of the United States Richard Wilbur, Howard Nemerov, Mark Strand, and Ted Kooser. Numerous important African-American writers are to be found in this collection, including Gwendolyn Brooks, Alice Walker, Rita Dove, May Miller, Billy Collins, June Jordan, Lucille Clifton, E. Ethelbert Miller, Audre Lorde and Kweli Smith. Additionally, several internationally known authors appear here, including Allen Ginsberg and Margaret Atwood. The recordings were on different AV carriers and thus are part of numerous series. In addition since 2016, Special Collections has been using Archive-It to capture the Poet and the Poem from the Library of Congress website and Grace's personal website. The links to this content is in Series 16 and available through the GW website.
The collaborative work in this collection includes original prints, illustrations, photographs, and slides by visual artist Mary Ellen Long, and music scores and music recordings by composer Vivian Adelberg Rudow.
- Cavalieri, Grace (Person)
Restrictions on Access
Restrictions on Use
For The Poet and the Poem programs broadcast by WPFW the copyright holder is Pacifica Radio. That is the organization that can provide permission to use there recordings for more than research use. The Director at Pacific is Mark Torres Mark@pacificaradioarchives.org
Historical or Biographical Note
Cavalieri was one of the founders of the Washington Writers' Publishing House, and served on its editorial board from 1976 to 1986. She also runs her own small press and media production company, The Bunny and the Crocodile Press/Forest Woods Media Productions, Inc. She was an Associate Director of Programming at the Public Broadcasting System [PBS] for five years and then served as program officer of the media program at the National Endowment for the Humanities [NEH] from 1982 to 1988. She has lectured and taught throughout the country 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.
Many of the sound recordings in this collection are related to the work Cavalieri has done with the radio station WPFW-FM. Cavalieri and a core staff opened this non-commercial radio station after being awarded a 3-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."
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." 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, and KPFT-FM Houston, Texas. Cavalieri stopped airing "The Poet and the Poem" through WPFW-FM in 1997, and she 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' website.
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.
She has received many awards including the Pen-Syndicated Fiction Award, the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award, Bordighera Poetry Award, Paterson Poetry Prize, 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, and The American Association of University Women. She has enjoyed 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."
In 2019 Grace was named the Poet Laureate for the State of Maryland.
Books with testimonial by Grace Cavalieri
Final Deployment by Ann Quinn
Starlight & Error by Remica Bingham-Risher
Carousel new & selected poetry & fiction by Judith R. Robinson
The Bloomsberries and other curiosities poems by Lauri Byro
Trump Sonnets Volume 2 by Ken Waldman
Horse and Iron selected poems by Gred Kuzma
Crossing places by Ernestine Cowalton
The Book of Donuts edited by Jason Lee Brown and Shanie Latham
89 Linear Feet
- Atwood, Margaret
- Brooks, Gwendolyn
- Clifton, Lucille
- Color slides
- Digital audio tapes
- Ginsberg, Allen
- Jordan, June
- Lorde, Audre
- Miller, E. Ethelbert
- Miller, May
- Nemerov, Howard
- Plays (document genre)
- Strand, Mark
- Walker, Alice
- Washington (D.C.)
- Wilbur, Richard
- Guide to the Grace Cavalieri papers, 1945-2019
- Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English