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Daniel Mark Epstein on History and Poetry
CHESTERTOWN, MD—Acclaimed poet and biographer Daniel Mark Epstein, the new Patrick Henry Writing Fellow at Washington College, will speak Thursday, Sept. 12, about how his diverse literary work has evolved over three decades. The talk, “The Lightning and the Key: Thoughts on Poetry and History,” will take place at 5:30 p.m. in Hynson Lounge, Hodson Hall, on the College’s main campus, 300 Washington Avenue.
Epstein’s career has encompassed poetry, drama, and historical non-fiction. Beginning in the 1970s, he had poems published in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, and The New Republic. Plays soon followed—produced in regional theater and Off-Broadway.
He has produced some 16 books of poetry, essays, biography and history. His first biography, the 1993 Sister Aimee: The Life of Aimee Semple McPherson, was followed seven years later by Nat King Cole, a New York Times notable book for 1999, then What Lips My Lips Have Kissed: The Loves and Love Poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay in 2001. His most recent books are The Lincolns: Portrait of a Marriage, named one of the “Best Books of 2008” by The Wall Street Journal, the 2009 history Lincoln’s Men: The President and His Private Secretaries, and The Ballad of Bob Dylan: A Portrait (2011).
In his talk, Epstein will explain how a dramatic poem he wrote about Benjamin Franklin and his son William more than a decade ago has led him to his current work-in-progress, “Patriots and Renegades: The War in Ben Franklin’s House.”
A native of Washington, D.C. and a graduate of Kenyon College, Epstein has received numerous accolades, including a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, a Prix de Rome, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and an Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Launched by the College’s C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience in 2008, the Patrick Henry Writing Fellowship annually provides its recipient with a residence, the circa-1735 Patrick Henry House on Queen Street in historic downtown Chestertown, and an office nearby at the Starr Center’s headquarters in the Colonial-era Custom House. The fellowship is co-sponsored by the Rose O’Neill Literary House.
For more information, please visit www.washcoll.edu/centers/starr/