Grace Cavalieri has sixteen books and chapbooks of poetry and 26 produced plays. Her newest publication is "Millie’s Sunshine Tiki Villas." Grace founded and still produces “The Poet and the Poem” on public radio, celebrating 37 years on-air in 2014. It is recorded at the Library of Congress and transmitted via Pacifica Network. She holds two Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards (1993 & 2013), A Paterson Poetry Prize, a Pen Fiction Award, the Bordighera Award for Poetry, The CPB Silver Metal and received the Associated Writers’ Program George Garrett Award for 2013.
This month's Featured Poet presentation begins with a poem by Grace Cavalieri:
WHAT I WON
The sack dress was in style then
with a single strand of pearls.
The sack dress was designed to see
the body move lightly beneath.
That's why I wore it to my first poetry
contest in Philly,
leaving my four-month old at home.
Of course my husband had to
drive, as nervous as I was
so he waited in the car all
day while I sat in the big room, first time out
since I found my mother
dead and then had a baby two weeks later.
My husband stayed all day in that
car in the snow. I won first prize about
wanting my mother but
It was said much better than this,
as you can imagine, to win first.
It even began with notes upon a phantom
lute, although The Poet
said what do we know of lutes now?
But what did he know of
walking into her bedroom and finding
her a pale shade of lilac.
That just goes to prove I guess I was talking
about the wrong thing in the poem,
and The Poet was surely on to something.
I have to say I looked wonderful,
gaunt with grief and colitis, 1956,
hurrying across the street
where my husband was waiting to take me home,
the first wrong victory in my hand.
Sounds Like Something I Would Say