The Poetry Programs of Hill-Stead Museum

Welcome to Sunken Garden Poetry


Museum’s New Website Unveiled!

Hill-Stead Museum is rolling out the red carpet for a brand new streamlined website,

Start spreading the news!

Use on Facebook and Twitter TODAY!

The new site features a completely new layout, redesigned for greater usability.  The expanded content includes the story of the museum’s founders, the Pope and Riddle families, and the architectural history of the 1901 Country Place Estate.  It also includes access to more than 100 works of art in the museum’s collection—from our spectacular Impressionist paintings, to exquisite Japanese woodblock prints, and the home’s original furnishings.

An extensive Programs and Education section links to our calendar and enables visitors to learn about upcoming events at Hill-Stead.   Educators can purchase tickets online and are afforded the opportunity to see what Hill-Stead has to offer.

The site also includes an expanded Sunken Garden Poetry Festival section, with up-to-date news on the award-winning poets who perform in the museum’s historic garden. It also includes links to videos of past music and poetry performances.

 Fresh Voices Poetry Competition Deadline for Submissions Has Been Extended!

The deadline for submissions to the Fresh Voices Poetry Competition is now Friday, April 3, 2015.

As many of you know, Fresh Voices is an outstanding program that offers you and your students a chance to work together writing, revising, and preparing poems suitable for publication. The Fresh Voices Poetry Competition provides Connecticut high school poets the experience of a lifetime; the winners will be invited to participate in a performance workshop with professional poets from the region.  They will also have their work published in a chapbook, and they will share the podium with a great American poet, reading their own work before a large, receptive audience in the breathtaking Sunken Garden at Hill-Stead Museum!

Please call Kate Ebner at 860.677.4787 x142 for entry requirements and more information.

A World of Poets

The Sunken Garden Poetry Chapbook Award competition has received 648 submissions, from every State in the Union but for the Dakotas, Oklahoma and Alaska, and every continent on earth but for Antarctica.

Announcing Poets for 2015 Sunken Garden Poetry Festival

Hill-Stead Museum is thrilled to announce the 2015 line up for its renowned and highly-anticipated Sunken Garden Poetry Festival:

Wednesday, June 24 – Ted Kooser

Sunday, July 12 – Marie Howe

Wednesday, July 22 – Vijay Seshadri

Sunday, August 9 – Li-Young Lee & Tina Chang

Wednesday, August 19 – CT Young Poet’s Day – Natalie Diaz & Aja Monet

Read more on our calendar page.

Great News

The Sunken Garden Poetry Festival has just been awarded a generous grant from Connecticut Humanities to present its 2015 season!  This grant was awarded due to the humanities-rich content of the proposed 2015 program, which will include workshops, enhanced Preludes, and opportunities to better-involve the community in the Festival.  Especially of interest to CT Humanities was a shift in dates to allow for increased Festival attendance: a later start-date and two weekend performances.  Please mark your calendars for: Opening Night, Wednesday, June 24; Sunday, July 12; Wednesday, July 22; Sunday, August 9; and Wednesday, August 19 (Connecticut Young Poets’ Day).

Meet Our New Festival Manager

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHill-Stead is very pleased to announce that Lisa Lappe has accepted the dual position of Marketing and Public Relations Manager/Sunken Garden Poetry Festival (SGPF)  Program Manager, effective February 2.  Lisa has an extensive background in public relations, advertising and event management.  She has served as a public relations coordinator at Mintz & Hike in Avon and Rensselaer in Hartford and  has worked in the college relations office at the University of Saint Joseph.  Lisa holds a BA in Economics and Art History from Mount Holyoke College.

A New Book from Brad Davis

Brad Davis, founding editor of Hill-Stead’s online poetry journal, Theodate, and editor of the festival’s 20th anniversary anthology, SUNKEN GARDEN POETRY 1992-2011, has had a new book of his own poems, STILL WORKING IT OUT, published in the Poiema Poetry Series. It is available online from Cascade Books or your favorite online bookstore.

Highlights from 2012 and 2013: Video on Demand

If you missed some events or would like to relive the great moments, have a look at our highlights shows done for local public access television. Nutmeg TV airs our shows in the spring, in anticipation of the new festival season, but you can watch them at your convenience online; click here to see the shows available.  Simsbury Community Television airs the same series of shows and makes them available on its YouTube channel.


Sunken Garden Poetry: 1992-2011 – Have you purchased your copy of the 20th anniversary anthology yet?

Have you heard about the Live Poets Society?  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 –Help keep the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival alive for years to come!



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