PUTNEY -- Next Stage Arts will kick off its new literary series, Next Stage Speaks, on Thursday, May 15, at 7 p.m., with renowned author Jay Parini, hosted by poet Chard DeNiord. There is a suggested donation at the door of $10.

Parini is a poet, novelist, biographer and critic. He has written five books of poetry, eight novels, and biographies of John Steinbeck, Robert Frost and William Faulkner. His non-fiction works include "Jesus: The Human Face of God," and "Why Poetry Matters."

The Next Stage Speaks format will feature poet Chard DeNiord conducting an interview with Jay Parini about his career as a novelist, poet, critic, screenwriter and professor, and his recent works. The interview will be followed by a reading, then by a Q&A.

DeNiord is the author of four books of poems. A co-founder of the New England College MFA Program in Poetry, he works as a professor of English at Providence College and lives Westminster West.