The Age Of Influence: A Poetry Celebration

As part of our Independent Bookstore Day Celebration, join us for a special poetry reading The Age Of Influence: A Poetry Celebration, featuring poets reading their own work as well as poems that have influenced them, with readers including Ruth Behar, Marc Frazier, Ann Hudson, Beth McDermott, John O’Connor, and Jessica Walsh

Ruth Behar ( is an acclaimed author of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. She received the 2018 Pura Belpré Author Award for Lucky Broken Girl, her first book for young readers. She was born in Havana, Cuba, grew up in New York City, and has also lived in Spain and Mexico. An anthropology professor at the University of Michigan, she is the author of The Vulnerable Observer: Anthropology That Breaks Your HeartAn Island Called Home: Returning to Jewish Cuba, and Traveling Heavy: A Memoir in between Journeys, and other books about her travels, as well as a bilingual book of poetry,Everything I Kept/Todo lo que guardé. Her honors include a MacArthur Fellows "Genius" Award, a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Distinguished Alumna Award from Wesleyan University. She lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and travels frequently to Miami and Havana.

Marc Frazier has published poetry in journals including The Spoon River Poetry Review, ACM, Good Men Project, f(r)iction, The Gay and Lesbian ReviewSlant, Permafrost, Plainsongs, English Journal, Ascent, BlazeVox, and Poet Lore among many others. Marc, the recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Award for poetry, has been featured on Verse Daily and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a “best of the net.” The leader of numerous writing workshops in the Chicago area and participant in numerous poetry readings, Marc has had writing residencies at Vermont Studio Center and the Ragdale Foundation in addition to publishing poetry book reviews and editing literary publications. Marc serves on the board of NewTown Writers, possibly the longest continual LGBTQ+ writing workshop and publishing venue in the nation. Marc is active on social media, particularly Facebook. His website is

Ann Hudson grew up in Charlottesville, Virginia, and received her BA from the University of Virginia.  She earned an MFA at the University of Utah, and returned east to teach Middle School at Counterpane Montessori School just south of Atlanta.  Five years later she and her husband, Allen Rein, moved -- fairly impulsively -- to Chicago, where they are now raising their two children. For ten summers she returned to Charlottesville to teach at the The Young Writers Workshop, a residential writing program for high schoolers.  Her poems have appeared in many literary journals including Crab Orchard Review, Iris, North American Review, Orion, Prairie Schooner, and The Seattle Review. Ann's first book, The Armillary Sphere, was selected by Mary Kinzie as the winner of the Hollis Summers Poetry Prize, and was published by Ohio University Press.  

Beth McDermott is the author of a chapbook titled How to Leave a Farmhouse (Porkbelly Press, 2015). Recent poetry, reviews and criticism appear in DIAGRAM, Southern Humanities Review, American Book Review, Kenyon Review Online, Tupelo Quarterly, and The Trumpeter. A graduate of the Program for Writers at UIC, she is currently an Assistant Professor of English at the University of St. Francis in Joliet, IL.

John S. O'Connor's poems have appeared in places such as Poetry East and RHINO. He has written two books on teaching: This Time It's Personal: Teaching Academic Writing through Creative Nonfiction (2011) and Wordplaygrounds: Reading, Writing, and Performing Poetry in the English Classroom (2004). He earned his BA and MAT from the University of Chicago and his PhD from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He has taught for 25 years in a wide variety of settings, including the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, Pennsylvania State University, urban public and parochial schools, an adult literacy center, and a maximum security prison. In 2007, he was named a Golden Apple Teacher of Distinction. John currently teaches at New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois.

Jessica L. Walsh is the author of The List of Last Tries (Sable Books, 2019) and How to Break My Neck as well as two chapbooks, The Division of Standards and Knocked Around. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in RHINO, Tinderbox, Sundog Literature, Midwestern Gothic, Ninth Letter online, Whale Road Review, Crab Creek Review, Yellow Chair Review, and many others.She is an English professor at Harper College in Palatine and the blog manager for Agape Editions, a small press.


Event date: 

Saturday, April 27, 2019 - 2:30pm to 3:00pm

Event address: 

The Book Stall
811 Elm Street
Winnetka, IL 60093