S203. Literary Late Bloomers: The Joys and Challenges of Being a Later-in-Life Poet

Grand Salon D, Marriott Waterside, Second Floor
Saturday, March 10, 2018
1:30 pm to 2:45 pm


In many ways the poetry world favors younger poets, especially through age-limited contests and "under 30" lists. Poets who don’t discover their calling until later in life face challenges as they navigate career options and paths to publication. Literary late bloomers can be encouraged, though, by what a later-in-life career brings as far as richness of experience—our scars, triumphs, and intricately wrought stories. Five poets share the challenges and joys of being a later-in-life poet.


Lisa Dordal, author of Mosaic of the Dark, teaches in the English department at Vanderbilt University. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee and a recipient of an Academy of American Poets Prize. Her poetry has appeared in Best New Poets, Cave Wall, CALYX, The Greensboro Review, Nimrod, and Vinyl Poetry.

Pablo Miguel Martínez’s collection of poems, Brazos, Carry Me, received the 2013 PEN Southwest Book Award for Poetry. His recently published chapbook is titled Cuent@. Martínez is a cofounder of CantoMundo, a national retreat-workshop for Latina/o poets.

Celeste Gainey is the author of the poetry collection, The GAFFER, and the chapbook, In the Land of Speculation & Seismography. The first woman admitted to the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees as a gaffer, she has spent many years working with light in film and architecture.

Michelle Bitting’s third collection is The Couple Who Fell to Earth named to Kirkus Reviews' Best Books of 2016. She has poems in The American Poetry Review, Narrative, Nimrod, The New York Times, Vinyl, Plume, diode, The Paris-American, Raleigh Review, ALR, AJR, and Tupelo Quarterly.

Mary Moore Easter, Pushcart Prize–nominated poet and a Cave Canem Fellow, is widely published. She has a BA from Sarah Lawrence and an MA from Goddard. A Virginia transplant, she re-rooted at Minnesota’s Carleton College. Now emerita professor of dance, her chapbook is Walking From Origins.


March 7–10, 2018
Tampa, FL

Tampa Convention Center & Marriott Tampa Waterside