The Poetry Programs of Hill-Stead Museum
After a joyous celebration last year in honor of our 20th anniversary, this season the garden will be graced by Pulitzer Prize-winners Tracy K. Smith and Philip Schultz, award-winning poet Carolyn Forché, the ever-popular Billy Collins, and President Obama’s inaugural poet Richard Blanco. On opening night, June 12, come hear the next generation read their work at our 2nd annual Connecticut Young Poets Day! Check the full schedule for details.
We look forward to welcoming back friends old and new to share the one-of-a-kind experience of poetry and music in Hill-Stead’s historic garden. And if you’re brand new to the festival, take a minute to watch our short video and get a taste of what it’s all about. Many thanks to all of you for your enthusiasm and ongoing support of what Billy Collins has called a “cultural phenomenon!” – Mimi Madden, Artistic Director
We had a packed schedule last summer for our 20th anniversary season. If you missed some events or would like to relive some of the great moments, have a look at our highlights shows on public access television. Nutmeg TV—serving eight towns including Farmington, Avon, Canton, and Burlington—is airing a series of five half-hour shows on Saturdays at 6:30PM. If you don’t receive Nutmeg or would like to watch at a time of your choosing, click here to see the shows listed; for streaming video, click on the word “View” next to the name of the show. Poetry fans in Simsbury can watch the same series of thirty-minute shows on Fridays at 6:30PM on SCTV; click here to find us among the other shows currently available as streaming video. West Hartford Community Television (WHCTV) will air a one-hour program of highlights from 2012 at 10 PM on Monday, May 20 (as part of a series called “Visiting Video”). No word yet about other dates or about video on demand.
On April 21, Governor and Mrs. Malloy opened their home to Sunken Garden Poetry fans to celebrate 20 years of poetry programs in Connecticut. Former CT Poet Laureate Marilyn Nelson and best-selling author and BBC host Frank Delaney gave an inspiring reading from the festival’s anniversary anthology, and young 2012 Fresh Voices winner Shameil Dias wowed the guests with her performance of her poem “Stories of the Night.” Over eighty guests were in attendance.
Cuban American poet Richard Blanco, who will appear at the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival on July 24 this summer, was selected by Mr. Obama to read his poetry at the January 20th inauguration “because the poet’s deeply personal poems are rooted in the idea of what it means to be an American,” according to Addie Whisenant, Inaugural committee spokeswoman. Read more on our Festival Calendar page.
Click here to watch, or watch again, Richard Blanco’s reading at President Obama’s second inauguration.
Click here to hear Colin McEnroe’s interview with Richard Blanco on National Public Radio.
In our 20th year of poetry at Hill-Stead Museum, the abundance of outstanding poets and enthusiastic poetry lovers was topped only by the profusion of blooms in the garden! Over the summer of 2012, we heard the words of the venerable Richard Wilbur and Donald Hall, our brand new U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey, and so many other exceptional poets—Toi Derricotte, Christian Wiman, Mark Doty, Dana Gioia, Suji Kwock Kim, B. Yung, Minton Sparks and Tony Hoagland.
A true reflection of its garden theater, the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival most definitely has a vital life of its own and no signs of weakening with age. Its endurance and popularity are a testimony to the power of poetry in our lives and our need for its sustaining presence. Many thanks to all of you for your enthusiasm and ongoing support, financial and otherwise. This festival and its year-round programs thrive through the generosity of our exceptional community!
Sunken Garden Poetry: 1992-2011 – Have you purchased your copy of the 20th anniversary anthology yet?
To join Hill-Stead’s poetry mailing list, contact Cynthia Cagenello at 860.677.4787 ext 111 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have you heard about the Live Poets Society? (Download Benefits PDF). Join this growing circle of poetry lovers and we’ll arrange for priority seating and special opportunities to meet the poets. Or contribute to the Phyllis Joffe Memorial Poetry Fund, an endowment established by Sara Niego in 2010 in honor of her mother, the late Phyllis Joffe, who for many years was co-producer of festival radio broadcasts.
DONATE HERE or contact Mimi Madden, Artistic Director of the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival, at 860.677.4787 ext 133 or email@example.com. Help keep the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival alive for years to come!