Naomi Shihab Nye to headline Kent County Poetry Festival

CHESTERTOWN — Naomi Shihab Nye, a Guggenheim Fellow and Library of Congress Fellow, will read from her work and present workshops to area students to highlight the 15th Annual Kent County Poetry Festival on Friday through Sunday, April 5-7.

Created and produced by the Kent Cultural Alliance, The Bookplate, The Rose O’Neill Literary House at Washington College and Robert Ortiz Studios, this year’s festival promises a little something for poets of all ages.

Nye, the Poetry Foundation’s Young People’s Poet for 2019- 2021, is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the Ivan Sandrof Award for Lifetime Achievement from the National Book Critics Circle, the Lavan Award, the Paterson Poetry Prize, the Carity Randall Prize, the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award, the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award and the Robert Creeley Prize, as well as many Pushcart Prizes.

Her well-documented work for young readers has been recognized with the NSK Neustadt Award for Children’s Literature and the 2018 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Award from the American Library Association.

Working with Nye, event organizers are able to expand the reach of this year’s event by creating a young people’s poetry gathering with Chestertown RiverArts’ KidSPOT.

Nye also will present workshops at Kent County High School and at Washington College’s Lit House. 

Maureen Corrigan, book critic for NPR’s FreshAir and The Nicky and Jamie Grant Distinguished Professor of the Practice in Literary Criticism at Georgetown University, is returning.

The festival will maintain its original heartbeat with the poetry open mic on Sunday at Ortiz Studios in Chestertown.

Public events are free.

The main event with Nye and Corrigon on Saturday night, April 6 at the Garfield Center for the Arts, requires a reservation, as does the open mic for anyone who wants to read.

Printed here are the scheduled offerings.

  • Friday, April 5, student workshops at Kent County High School and the Rose O’Neill Literary House at Washington College.


  • Saturday, April 6 at 10 a.m. at the Kent Cultural Alliance’s Raimond Cultural Center (101 Spring Ave., Chestertown), young people’s poetry with KidSPOT.


  • Saturday April 6 at 7 p.m. at the Garfield Center for the Arts (210 High St., Chestertown), the main event with Naomi Shihab Nye reading followed by interview/conversation with Maureen Corrigan. To register, see


  • Sunday, April 7 from 2 to 4 p.m. at Robert Ortiz Studios (207 S. Cross St., Chestertown), open mic to read your work (two poem maximum). Register to read at

For additional information, contact the Kent Cultural Alliance at 410-778-3700

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