Announcing the 2017 Sunken Garden Poetry Roster

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The 25th Anniversary Season of the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival features new talent, like Jamaal May and Ocean Vuong, as well as the return of Festival favorites Billy Collins and Mark Doty. The summer begins here.

For more information and to purchase tickets, see 2017 Sunken Garden Poetry Festival, or our Calendar.

— 2017 ROSTER —


Billy 2croppedBilly Collins
Wednesday, June 21

The author of ten collections of poetry, Billy Collins was Poet Laureate of the United States from 2001-03, and Poet Laureate of New York from 2004-06. The evening will feature a special reading by Connecticut State Poet Laureate Rennie McQuilkin and music by Plywood Cowboy.


 Jamaal May & Tarfia Faizullah
Sunday, July 9

tarfiaAward-winning poets, Jamaal May and Tarfia Faizullah, co-direct Organic Weapon Arts. The evening will feature a Poetry Jam/Urban Poetry Conversation and musical spoken word performance by Tang Sauce and DJ Stealth.


Cornelius Eady
Wednesday, July 19

CorneliusCornelius Eady’s work as been nominated for a NAACP Image Award and the 1992 Pulitzer Prize. Eady will be joined by his band Rough Magic for music and poetry to delight and inspire. Also performing: Sunken Garden Poetry Prize winner (TBA this spring), sponsored by Tupelo Press.


 Mark Doty & Eileen Myles
Sunday, August 6

Mark DottyHill-Stead welcomes back beloved poet Mark Doty, New York Times bestseller and National Book Award winner. Doty will be joined by acclaimed poet Eileen Myles, with musical guests The Girls from Ruby Falls.


 Ocean Vuong & Young Poets Day
Wednesday, August 16

A Ocean VuongRuth Lilly fellow from the Poetry Foundation, 28-year-old Ocean Vuong is the recipient of several awards including the 2016 Whiting Award. Hill-Stead’s own Fresh Voices Poetry Competition winners will also perform their work in the Garden.

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