2023 Kent County Poetry Festival

Saturday April 1 at 1 pm at the Raimond Center,
Local Celebrity Poets, with James Allen Hall.  
Join Rose O’Neill Literary House Director, James Allen Hall for readings and conversation with: Lindsay Lusby, Erin Murphy, Amanda Newell, and Jeff Coomer

Main Event
Saturday, April 1 at 7 pm at Norman James Theater, WAC


Open Mic Poetry
Sunday, April 2 from 2-5 pm at Robert Ortiz Studio


Presenters are KCA, WAC Rose O’Neil Literary House The Bookplate, and Ortiz Studios

Guest Poet: Patricia Spears Jones
winner of the Jackson Poetry Prize

Arkansas born and raised; resident of New York City for more than four decades, Patricia Spears Jones is the recipient of The Jackson Poetry Prize, one the most prestigious awards for American Poets via Poets & Writers, Inc.  The $50,000 prize is among the most substantial given to an American poet and is designed to provide what all poets need: time and encouragement to write.  She is the eleventh winner. In language that is simultaneously sensuous, wise-cracking, explicit, and rollicking, Spears Jones describes a world rich in beauty and longing, with pain tempered always by joy.

Spears Jones was named by Essence as one of its “40 Poets They Love” in 2010. She  is author of the poetry collections: Painkiller and Femme du Monde from Tia Chucha Press and The Weather That Kills from Coffee House Press and five chapbooks including Living in the Love Economy. Her fourth collection, A Lucent Fire: New and Selected Poems is out from White Pine Press (White Pine Press Distinguished Poets series) which features her 2016 Pushcart Prize winning poem, “Etta James at the Audubon Ballroom.”  She was a finalist for the William Carlos Williams Prize from the Poetry Society of America and the Paterson Prize from the Passaic County Community College. Her work is widely anthologized. In 2015 she received a Barbara Deming Memorial Fund award for her memoir in progress.

2023 Poetry Festival Headliner Patricia Spears Jones

We welcome back Literary Critic Maureen Corrigan who will interview Patricia Spears Jones for the main event.

HOST:  James Allen Hall (he/they) is the author of two books of poetry: Romantic Comedy (Four Way Books, 2023), winner of the Levis Prize selected by Diane Seuss, and Now You’re the Enemy (U of Arkansas Press, 2008), which won awards from the Lambda Literary Foundation, the Fellowship of Southern Writers, and the Texas Institute of Letters. They are also the author of a book of personal lyric essays, I Liked You Better Before I Knew You So Well (Cleveland State University Press, 2017). They have received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Maryland State Arts Council, and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. 

Jeff Coomer is a Washington College graduate who retired to Chestertown after a career as the senior technology executive for a Fortune 500 company.  He is currently Vice Chair of the Washington College Academy of Lifelong Learning, and has taught courses in that program on poetry, Buddhism, Stoicism, and (very soon) tree identification.  Several poems from his two poetry collections, A Potentially Quite Remarkable Thursday and A Buzzard in the Proper State of Deadness, were featured on a popular National Public Radio program.

Erin Murphy is the author or editor of thirteen books, most recently Human Resources (forthcoming from Salmon Poetry); Taxonomies (2022); and the chapbook Fields of Ache: Centos (2022), available for free PDF download from Ghost City Press. She is Professor of English and creative writing at Penn State Altoona and serves as Poetry Editor of The Summerset Review. In April 2022 she was named Poet Laureate of Blair County, Pennsylvania, where she is an inductee in the Blair County Arts Hall of Fame. Website: www.erin-murphy.com 

Lindsay Lusby’s debut poetry collection Catechesis: a postpastoral (2019) won the 2018 Agha Shahid Ali Poetry Prize from The University of Utah Press. She is also the author of two chapbooks, Blackbird Whitetail Redhand (Porkbelly Press, 2018) and Imago (dancing girl press, 2014), and the winner of the 2015 Fairy Tale Review Poetry Contest. Her poems have appeared most recently in Copper Nickel, Puerto del Sol, New South, Gulf Coast, and The Cincinnati Review. She is a Senior Poetry Reader for Cherry Tree and she edits poems at Tell Tell Poetry. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram at @lindsaylusby.

Amanda Newell is the author of I Will Pass Even to Acheron, one of the winners of Rattle’s 2021 chapbook prize. Her first full-length collection, Postmortem Say, is forthcoming from Červená Barva Press in 2023. Her poetry has appeared in Bellevue Literary Review, Cimarron Review, Gargoyle, SWWIM, Scoundrel Time, and elsewhere. A graduate of Warren Wilson’s MFA Program, she has received scholarships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and The Frost Place and a fellowship from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She is Associate Editor for Special Features and Social Media for Plume.