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Joy Harjo – Sunken Garden Poetry Festival

September 13, 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm

with Dujie Tahat, the winner of the Tupelo Press Sunken Garden Poetry Award
Music TBA


This night of the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival features the United States poet laureate, Joy Harjo, and Dujie Tahat, the winner of the Tupelo Press Sunken Garden Poetry Award.

This year’s event will take place on the West Lawn and attendees will be properly socially distanced in clearly-marked pods. Bring a blanket, chairs, and a picnic. Inspired by the surroundings, many attendees take the opportunity to write their own poetry and prose, lingering after dusk to finish their poems and conversations.

Don’t fret if you cannot be there in person. You can tune in from the comfort of your home with a Livestream presentation as it happens.

For additional poetry events, see our Calendar.


In-person ticket  |  $20 per person
Tickets must be purchased in advance. No tickets will be sold at the gate. Purchase in-person tickets here.

Livestream ticket  |  $10 per household
Enjoy the world-class Sunken Garden Poetry Festival from the comforts of your own backyard or couch! Purchase live stream tickets here.

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

Signed Poetry Volumes Available

Please check out these must-read picks from the celebrated poets of Hill-Stead’s 2020 Sunken Garden Poetry Festival. Click on a title to be taken to RJ Julia Booksellers to purchase. You will receive a signed bookplate by either Joy Harjo and Mahogany L. Browne, depending on the title purchased.

Mahogany L. Browne

Woke: A Young Poet’s Guide to Justice 
Black Girl Magic  
Woke Baby 

Joy Harjo

An American Sunrise
When The Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through
Crazy Brave

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.

Help us keep each other safe and stop the spread of COVID 19

Joy Harjo was appointed the new United States Poet Laureate in June 2019 and is the first Native American Poet Laureate in the history of the position. Joy is an internationally renowned performer and writer of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and the author of nine books of poetry, several plays and children’s books, and a memoir, Crazy Brave. Her many honors include the Ruth Lily Prize for Lifetime Achievement from the Poetry Foundation, the Academy of American Poets Wallace Stevens Award, a PEN USA Literary Award, Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund Writers’ Award, a Rasmuson US Artist Fellowship, two NEA fellowships, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Harjo is a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and is a founding board member of the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation. She lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she is a Tulsa Artist Fellow.

Dujie Tahat, winner of the Tupelo Press Sunken Garden Poetry Award, is a Filipino-Jordanian immigrant living in Washington State. The author of Here I Am O My God, selected by Fady Joudah for a Poetry Society of America Chapbook Fellowship, their poems have been published or are forthcoming in POETRY, Sugar House Review, The Journal, ZYZZVA, The Southeast Review, Southern Indiana Review, Asian American Literary Review, and elsewhere. Dujie Tahat has earned fellowships from Hugo House, Jack Straw, and the Poetry Foundation, and a scholarship from Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. They serve as a poetry editor for Moss and Homology Lit and co-host The Poet Salon podcast. He got his start as a Seattle Poetry Slam Finalist, a collegiate grand slam champion, and Seattle Youth Speaks Grand Slam Champion, representing Seattle at HBO’s Brave New Voices. Dujie Tahat is an MFA candidate in the Warren Wilson Program for Writers.

Tupelo Press Sunken Garden Poetry Award is a prestigious national poetry prize for adult writers. Established in 2002, the Prize has drawn submissions from around the country that are judged by renowned poets such as Martha Collins, Patricia Smith and Tony Hoagland. The prize includes a cash award of $1,000 in addition to publication by Tupelo Press, 25 copies of the winning title, a book launch and national distribution with energetic publicity and promotion.

Thank you to our sponsors

Ellen Jeanne Goldfarb Memorial Charitable Trust

The Goldfarb Family

Elizabeth M. Landon & Harriette M. Landon Charitable Foundation

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