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Campbell McGrath, Ruth Behar, Jacob Saenz

  • The Betsy Hotel 1440 Ocean Drive Miami Beach, FL, 33139 United States (map)


The Betsy’s annual Under the Influence event with O, Miami features host Campbell McGrath, alongside poets Ruth Behar and Jacob Saenz.

The reading, which asks participating poets to pair new work with the work that has influenced them, is followed by a literary drink tasting.



Campbell McGrath was born in Chicago in 1962 and grew up in Washington, D.C. He received his BA in English language and literature from the University of Chicago and his MFA in creative writing from Columbia University in New York City. He is the author of ten collections of poetry, including XX: Poems for the Twentieth Century (Ecco Press, 2016), In The Kingdom of the Sea Monkeys (Ecco Press, 2012), Shannon (Ecco Press, 2009), and Seven Notebooks (Ecco Press, 2007). His third book, Spring Comes to Chicago (Ecco Press, 1996), won the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. McGrath’s honors include a MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Grant, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Witter Bynner Fellowship from the Library of Congress. McGrath lives in Miami and teaches creative writing at Florida International University.

Ruth Behar was born in Havana, Cuba and grew up in New York City. She now resides in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where she is the Victor Haim Perera Collegiate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Michigan. Behar was the first Latina to receive a MacArthur Fellows “Genius” Award and is the author of An Island Called Home: Returning to Jewish Cuba and Traveling Heavy: A Memoir in between Journeys. She is the editor of the pioneering anthology, Bridges to Cuba and co-editor of The Portable Island: Cubans at Home in the World. Her documentary, Adio Kerida/Goodbye Dear Love: A Cuban Sephardic Journey, distributed by Women Make Movies, has been shown in festivals around the world. Ruth’s novel for middle grade readers, Lucky Broken Girl, published by Nancy Paulsen Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House, received the 2018 Pura Belpré Author Award from the American Library Association, presented annually to a Latino/Latina writer whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth. At O, Miami, Behar is reading from her debut bilingual book of poetry, Everything I Kept/Todo lo que guardé, with illustrations by Cuban book artist Rolando Estévez, just published by Swan Isle Press. For more, visit

Poet and editor Jacob Saenz was born in Chicago and raised in Cicero, Illinois. He earned a BA in creative writing from Columbia College in Chicago. Saenz has been an editor at Columbia Poetry Review and an associate editor at RHINO. A CantoMundo fellow, he has also been the recipient of a Letras Latinas Residency Fellowship and a Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship. His debut collection, Throwing the Crown, won the 2018 APR/Honickman Prize (judged by Gregory Pardlo) and comes out this fall from Copper Canyon.

Earlier Event: April 15
Miami Zine Fair
Later Event: April 16
Check Out a Poet (South Dade)