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C.V. Starr Center for the


Study of the American Experience

The Lightning and the Key: Thoughts on Poetry and History, a talk by Daniel Mark Epstein


Date: September 12 5:30pm

An introductory talk from the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience’s 2013-14 Patrick Henry Writing Fellow. 


Join us in welcoming the Starr Center’s new Patrick Henry Writing Fellow Daniel Mark Epstein to the Washington College community. Mr. Epstein’s literary career has encompassed poetry, drama, and historical non-fiction. In his talk at Washington College, Epstein will share his thoughts on how his writing has evolved, since the 1970s to the new millenium; how his composition of a dramatic poem about Benjamin Franklin and his son William led, after more than a decade, to his current work-in-progress, PATRIOTS AND RENEGADES: THE WAR IN BEN FRANKLIN’S HOUSE; and how he imagines his year in Chestertown will influence his future writing.

Daniel Mark Epstein was born in Washington, D.C. and educated at Kenyon College. In the 1970s his poetry first appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, and The New Republic. His first volume of poems was published by Liveright in 1973. His plays appeared soon thereafter in regional theater and Off-Broadway, and in 1978 he received the Prix de Rome for his poetry and dramatic works.

In the 1980s Epstein wrote his first biography, Sister Aimee: The Life of Aimee Semple McPherson, now in its fourth printing. His biography Nat King Cole was a 1999 New York Times Notable Book, reviewed on the cover of the NYT Book Review, and his biography of Edna St. Vincent Millay was a New York Public Library Honoree, “Books to Remember” for 2001. The Lincolns: Portrait of a Marriage, was named one of the “Best Books of 2008” by both The Wall Street Journal and The Chicago Sun-Times.

His honors include a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in 1974, a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1984, and an Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2006.



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