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Middle School

Poet In Residence

Poet in Residence | Mary Anker | April 10-14

In 1999, when Mary Anker came to Berwick Academy, a door opened.  Across that threshold waited a full career of teaching, coaching, learning, creating, and poetry.  And a wide and welcoming community.  In 2021, three former students and Mary collaborated on an unlikely conversation.  Will Grant 2015 co-wrote it. Emma Sattler and Elsa Grant both 2017, contributed original artwork.  Mary’s writing has been published in several anthologies including Except for Love and Piscataqua Poems.  She recently had an essay published in Angry Women by Kindred Press.  She loves performing and has participated in readings from Concord, NH to Cambridge, MA and as far away as Todos Santos in Baja California, Mexico.  Along with Kimberly Green, she founded Berwick Academy’s Poet-in-Residence Program in 2011.

While growing up in New Mexico and California, Mary started telling stories to her younger brothers to help them get to sleep.  She’s been awed by the power of words ever since.  Observations began to turn into written words: from long days of body surfing at Seal Beach, riding her horse in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, a first summer job reporting for the Madera Tribune, sailing at Lake Millerton, to studying and working along the Willamette River.  

Then: college editorials, advertising copywriter, layout designer, English teacher, writer, poet.  Living and working in Oregon, USSR, New York, Netherlands, Maine, and New Hampshire. Haystack and Breadloaf, and teachers Naomi Shihab Nye, Kim Stafford, Ellen Waterston, and Kimberly Green have all inspired and influenced her. She is most grateful for the love of family and friends, and for all her students who continue to guide her.

Join us in the Jackson Library

Thursday, April 13 at 6:30 p.m.

At the conclusion of the Poet in Residence week, Berwick invites all who are interested to attend a community poetry reading in the Jackson Library Hub. The event is open to the public and admission is free.


Established in 2011, by beloved Berwick Middle School English teacher, Mary Anker (now retired), the Poet in Residence program continues to thrive in our Middle School. Each visiting poet chooses to teach a specific aspect of the writing process and workshops with students on the art of crafting poetry. At the end of the week, the poet presents an evening reading in the Jackson Library that is open and free to the public. Berwick students and faculty share poetry of their own at this event. The poets who come to Berwick Academy bring their own cultural perspective, their expertise, and their desire to immerse themselves in teaching. Berwick Academy is a community of learners that values the diversity and complexity of our society and that is eager to widen our cultural understanding through the literary genre of poetry. The Middle School prides itself on its relationship with poetry. This program began locally with Kimberly Green, Poet Laureate of Portsmouth, and broadened its reach with Thomas Moore, Sophia Snow, Naomi Shihab Nye, Richard Blanco, Ellen Waterston, Willie Perdomo, Marjorie Thomsen, Brian Evans-Jones, and now, in 2023, we have come full circle with Mary Anker, the founder of our Poet in Residence program as this year's poet. All of our poets have added to the rich and varied cultures of both our school and the Seacoast.

Previous Poets in Residence

For more information on the Poet in Residence at Berwick Academy, or to inquire about future Poet in Residence opportunities, please contact Melissa Williams at mwilliams@berwickacademy.org or call 207.384.2164 ext. 2706.

Berwick Academy

Berwick Academy, situated on an 80-acre campus just over one hour north of Boston, serves 550 students, Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 12 and Post-Graduates. Berwick students are from Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and several countries. Deeply committed to its mission of promoting virtue and useful knowledge, Berwick Academy empowers students to be creative and bold. Berwick strives to graduate alumni who shape their own learning, take risks, ask thoughtful questions, and come to understand and celebrate their authentic selves.