Our Mission

The Palm Beach Poetry Festival is a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering the writing, reading, performance, and appreciation of poetry by presenting an annual festival and other poetry events in Palm Beach County featuring America's finest poets. It is our goal to provide a nationally recognized learning opportunity for writers of poetry and a world-class, life-enriching series of cultural events for our listening audiences. As a Florida nonprofit corporation, part of our mission is to organize educational outreach programs that bring the pleasures of poetry to our community. We are a proud member of the Palm Beach County Cultural Council.

Board of Directors
Miles A. Coon, Chairman & President
Dr. Jennifer Coon, Director
Miriam L. Coon, Director & Secretary
Alan A. Benjamin, Director
Carol J. Benjamin, Director
Evan McGarvey, Director
Roderick C. Moe, CPA, Director & Treasurer

Board of Advisors
Thomas Lux, Chairman
Billy Collins
Stephen Dobyns
Mary Karr
Vijay Seshadri
Ellen Bryant Voigt

Staff

Miles A. Coon, President and Chairman of the Board
Miles Coon, President, and Chairman of the Board resides in Palm Beach, Florida with Mimi, his wife of fifty years. He received an M.F.A. in Poetry from Sarah Lawrence College in 2002 after having spent thirty years in a manufacturing business. He is a graduate of Harvard Law School, class of 1962 and the University of Virginia, class of 1959, where he studied Philosophy and Economics. His poems have been published or are forthcoming in many journals and anthologies. He serves on the Board of the Foundation for Growth and Endocrinology, New York, NY and is a supporter of many non-profit poetry organizations and independent presses. Miles is a self-described "workshop junkie" having participated in well over fifty of them. Mr. Coon founded the festival in 2005.

Susan R. Williamson, Director
Susan is a native of Richmond, Virginia and makes her home in both Charlottesville, Virginia and Boca Raton, Florida. She has worked in arts management, literary event planning and author and book promotion most recently, and previously in public relations and promotion in New York. In Charlottesville, she was staff administrator at the University of Virginia Office of State Governmental Relations. She served as editor in chief of Streetlight, a journal of art and literature, as an editor and associate publisher at Tupelo Press, on the board of the Charlottesville Writing Center, and the Publisher’s Day Committee of the Virginia Festival of the Book. Her work has appeared in Beltway Quarterly, Connotations Press's Hoppenthaler Congeries, Crab Orchard Review, Forge, Paterson Literary Review, Poetry East, Sanskrit, Smartish Pace, StorySouth, Virginia Quarterly Review, and Poetry Daily, among others. She holds an MFA from the New England College MFA Program in Poetry and a B.A in French Language & Literature from the University of Virginia. Williamson is devoted to poets and writers in her community, and has planned successful reading and literary events nationwide.

Lorraine Stanchich-Brown, Assistant Director
Lorraine 
teaches in the Humanities at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale. Her first book of poetry, Witness, was released in 2003 from Epic Press. Her work has appeared in The American Journal of Poetry, The Paterson Literary Review, Gulf Stream Magazine, and others. She holds an MA from Fairleigh Dickinson University and a BA from William Paterson University and has broad experience teaching English writing and poetry in colleges and universities. She has recently completed her second book of poetry, and is beginning a memoir. Stanchich-Brown has been a volunteer with the festival and has especially helped to manage the visits of special guest poets in addition to supporting faculty and participants in workshops. A native of New Jersey, she now lives with her husband and two children in Cooper City, Florida.

Blaise Allen, Ph.D., Director of Community Outreach
Blaise is an award winning poet and photojournalist.Her poems have been widely published in anthologies and magazines including: Wingbeats: Exercises & Practice in Poetry, Dos Gatos Press, The Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, Blue Fifth Review, Walt Whitman Review, Long Island Quarterly, and University of Missouri Kansas City School of Medicine’s Journal, Touch. Blaise is committed to the preservation of voice, culture, and language arts education and is particularly interested in community outreach to underserved youth and elder populations. She founded and hosts the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project, The High School Performance Poetry Project, Bards of a Feather at Green Cay Wetland Preserves, Year-round community outreach workshops at Old School Square, and The Annual 100K Poets for Change event, and the Annual Haiku Seminar at the Morikami Museum and Gardens.

Yaddyra Peralta, Social Media Consultant
Yaddyra is a poet and writer. Her work has appeared in Abe's Penny, Tigertail, Hinchas de Poesia, the Miami Poetry Collective's Cent journal series, and Lies and Truth, the poetry supplement to the Tabloid series accompanying Miami Art Museum's New Work Miami exhibition. Born in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and currently living in Miami, FL, she has an MFA from Florida International University's Creative Writing Program.


 


Miles and Mimi Coon, founders of the festival.

 

"This was a lovely and thoughtfully worked-out event, absolutely exhilarating to be part of. I didn't want to delay any longer in thanking you for putting on such an outstanding festival/workshop and for including me in it. To you, Miles and Mimi, and all who made it such a great success, my gratitude and my warmest congratulations."

—Jane Hirshfield