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Claudia Rankine – Opening Night of the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival

June 19, 2019, 5:00 pm

With Emily Skillings
Music by Jeff Barnhart Duo

purchase a SEason pass

Picnics are welcome and food and wine can also be purchased from festival vendors. Guests bring their own chairs, blankets and sun hats and claim a spot among the flower beds, surrounded by eight-foot stone walls and the sounds of nature.

For reserved seating with chairs and VIP parking, please join The Live Poets Society.

For additional poetry events, see our Calendar.


2 pm         Q & A Conversation on Craft with Claudia Rankine
5 pm         Prelude Interview
6 pm         Emily Skillings
6:30 pm    Jazz by Jeff Barnhart Duo
7 pm         Claudia Rankine
8 pm
         Book Signing


Season Pass  | $65
Online  | $15
At the gate|$20
Children under 18 | FREE

Parking is always free.

Accessibility at the SGPF

Hill-Stead is proud to make the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival accessible. Wheelchair ramps are available, and many volunteers are on hand to assist the mobility impaired. An accessible section is reserved close to the main stage, and a large-print edition of the program book is available on-site.

Hill-Stead makes every effort to ensure that deaf and hard-of-hearing people feel welcome. ASL interpreters are provided at the main Poetry stage (depending on interpreter availability) or by request in advance by calling 860-677-4787 x111.

Claudia Rankine is the author of five collections of poetry, including Citizen: An American Lyric and Don’t Let Me Be Lonely; two plays, including Provenance of Beauty: A South Bronx Travelogue; numerous video collaborations.  She is the editor of several anthologies including The Racial Imaginary: Writers on Race in the Life of the Mind. Rankine has won numerous awards for Citizen, including the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry—also nominated in the criticism category, making it the first book in the award’s history to be a double nominee. Citizen also holds the distinction of being the only poetry book to be a New York Times bestseller in the nonfiction category. Rankine is the recipient of the Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry, Poets & Writers’ Jackson Poetry Prize and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Lannan Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, United States Artists, and the National Endowment of the Arts. She is a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and teaches at Yale University as the Frederick Iseman Professor of Poetry.

Emily Skillings is the author of the poetry collection Fort Not (The Song Cave, 2017), which Publishers Weekly called a “fabulously eccentric, hypnotic, and hypervigilant debut,” as well as two chapbooks, Backchannel (Poor Claudia) and Linnaeus: The 26 Sexual Practices of Plants (No, Dear/ Small Anchor Press). Recent poems can be found/are forthcoming in Poetry, Harper’s, BostonReview, Brooklyn Rail, BOMB, Hyperallergic, LitHub and jubilat. Skillings is a member of the Belladonna* Collaborative, a feminist poetry collective, small press and event series. She received her MFA from Columbia University, where she was a Creative Writing Teaching Fellow in 2017. She splits her time between Brooklyn and Hudson, NY.


Thank you to our sponsors


Elizabeth M. Landon & Harriette M. Landon Charitable Foundation



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