Sunken Garden Poetry

Come picnic with us, I will be there at 5:00, anyone is welcome to arrive and help me save some space at that time. Read through all the details below....

Sunken Garden Poetry

Frank  Bidart

Admission: $15 per person, ages 18 and under free. Parking is free.
Advance tickets for purchase ONLINE ONLY: $10 per person. Please print out scannable ticket at home and bring to festival. Advance ticket purchases are non-refundable and are for sale up to the day before each poetry event.

advanced ticket online at:

On June 25,  Hill-Stead welcomes Pulitzer Prize nominee Frank  Bidart.  Bidart’s most recent poetry collection, Metaphysical Dog won  the 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award and was a finalist for the National  Book Award. His other collections of poetry include Watching the  Spring Festival (FSG, 2008), Star Dust (FSG,  2005), Desire (FSG, 1997), andIn the Western Night:  Collected Poems 1965–90 (FSG, 1990). His many other prizes include the  Wallace Stevens Award and the 2007 Bollingen Prize for American Poetry. He  teaches at Wellesley College and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

  Opening poet will be West  Hartford, CT-based poet Benjamin S. Grossberg. Music will be by Alien Folk  Music. Prelude discussion on Frank Bidart led by poet and professor Clare Rossini.

Alien Folk Music:

About the music:

Alien Folk is driven by Jen Taylor’s whimsical & dark odes to the goddess.  Justin Good's gypsy jazz guitar makes it swing.

With genius phrasing, Taylor examines the dualistic nature of human thought, ruminates on the prioritization of certain opposites over their partners in a bid to understand how we are where we are, and delivers a veritable theogony of Goddesses and ancient bad girls from the Egyptian Hathor to modern day Xena Warrior Princess.
In Tomatoes Cry Ripe, Taylor pushes a metaphor of cracked tomatoes to an analysis of sex work.  You just never know what’s going to come out of her mouth.  From the enigmatic Thinking in Pictures to the call to arms that Lock Your Daughters Down is, the album takes us on a journey from coyote trickster energy to Penthesilea’s last stand at Troy.
Inspired by Riane Eisler, Tom Waits and Django Reinhardt among other influences, Alien Folk offers stories rich in symbolism and philosophy accompanied by harmonically and rhythmically shifting backdrops.

The band features Taylor on ukulele, vocals, guitar & keyboard, Justin Vood Good on gypsy jazz guitar, Hans Lohse on percussion, accordion and flute, Chris Brown on acoustic bass.


The 2014 Sunken Garden Poetry  Festival is presented with generous support from Connecticut Humanities.  Additional support comes from The Beekley  Center for Breast Health & Wellness at Bristol Hospital, Duncaster  Retirement Community, and SKY Investment Group.

Schedule: Gates open at 4:30 pm; opening poet begins at 6:00 pm; music begins at 6:30; headlining  poet begins at 7:25 pm. 
Preludes – pre-performance talk on  featured poet - 5:00-5:30 pm (all evenings except August 6)

Seating: Bring a lawn  chair or blanket for seating in and around the garden.
Food: Al fresco dining is allowed on the grounds.  Participants are welcome to bring their own  picnic suppers or purchase food/beverages on site.

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  • Eleanor D.

    I always enjoy hearing poets read their own works.

    June 26, 2014

  • Pamela

    The most beautiful setting with the superb landscaping, trees blowing in the breezes, lush green June shrubbery, and swift-moving clouds overhead in the sky...a sight I will not forget soon!

    1 · June 26, 2014

  • Cathy M

    Lovely evening, not one of my favorite sets of poets, but still thought provoking.

    June 26, 2014

  • Joyce

    love sinking into the garden… Poetry was a bit off for me in places… melancholia for poets losses…and perhaps deprivations…. I do enjoy hearing poet's read their own works…and grateful for their sharing…

    Was hoping for rain so I could sell some of David's umbrella's!

    2 · June 25, 2014

  • Jeanne M.

    So much better to listen to poetry versus reading it. Could identify with the poetry this evening.

    June 25, 2014

  • Dave C.

    Always a Great time

    June 25, 2014

  • Shaina B.

    Sorry that I couldn't make it, I strained a back muscle. Hope you enjoyed it. See you next time

    June 25, 2014

  • Cynthia

    I am cancelling as I just hurt my knee practicing my golf swing. Hope to catch one in the future.

    June 25, 2014

  • Lucia

    I'm bowing out for tonight. Hope to see you guys on Saturday.

    June 25, 2014

  • Andy A.

    Due to predicted thunderstorms I will not be able to go tonight. I will see you next time.

    June 25, 2014

  • Alyce

    Sorry for the late cancellation. I will be in New Haven for a late afternoon meeting and don't think I'll make it back in time.

    June 24, 2014

  • Dave C.

    coming from Shelton if anyone wants to catch a ride

    June 24, 2014

  • Joyce

    Hi Cathy….I would love to help save a picnic spot.
    Can I ride up with you? It's been a while...

    1 · June 24, 2014

  • Lyn

    I'm afraid I have a conflict and can't go this time.

    June 24, 2014

  • Jeanne M.

    Bought my ticket. Thanks for the heads up to pre-purchase.

    1 · June 23, 2014

  • Cathy M

    I will be getting there at 5:00 if anyone wants to help me save a spot. Also, check out information above on buying an advanced ticket to save $5.00.

    June 23, 2014

  • Evelyn M.

    Would love to join this event such a great venue however I work late that evening :(

    May 23, 2014

  • Rosemary

    Bummed to miss it - but I have a conference 'till Sunday!

    May 23, 2014

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