Grace Cavalieri, 2013 Garrett Award Recipient

The AWP Board of Directors selected Grace Cavalieri as the recipient of this year’s George Garrett Award for Outstanding Community Service in Literature. In a speech honoring Cavalieri at the AWP Boston Conference in early March, Steve Heller, outgoing President of the AWP Board of Directors, listed some of her many accomplishments: sixteen published books and chapbooks of poems, twenty-six produced plays, and two produced operas. She founded two publishing houses, and she hosted the acclaimed radio interview series, “The Poem and the Poet,” from the Library Congress. After speaking with her and reviewing her merits, Heller said, “I discovered one quality that I have found only in the writers I most respect: humility.”

In praise of her work as an interviewer, Leslie McGrath, a poet from Stonington, Connecticut, said, “Through Cavalieri I found my model for a deft and intelligent literary interview. Every one of the 2,500 poets she has interviewed over the last thirty-five years has had occasion to think anew about their own work and to place themselves within the larger historical context of American poetry.”

The award, named after George Garrett, honors his services to fellow writers throughout his lifetime as a teacher, mentor, editor, friend, board member, and overall good-spirited person. Garrett, for years, edited Intro, an annual anthology of work by emerging writers; he served as one of the founding members of the AWP Board of Directors; he taught creative writing and literature for over forty years; and he authored over thirty books.

“Garrett was an inspiration to thousands of writers, editors, and teachers,” said Heller. “The George Garrett Award is, quite properly, the highest honor this organization bestows.”

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Each year, AWP welcomes nominations for the George Garrett Award for Outstanding Community Service in Literature. Consult our award guidelines for more information. Award recipients are selected by AWP's board of directors.