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Sunken Garden Poetry Festival – John Murillo

August 28, 2022, 3:30 PM - 7:00 PM

This event features headline poet John Murillo, along with Matt Donovan and Emily Carlson, winner of the Sunken Garden Chapbook Poetry Prize.

Seating is limited and advance purchase of admission is strongly encouraged. 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.

Please bring a blanket, chairs, and a picnic if you like.


3:30 pm   Gates open
4 pm        Emily Carlson reading
5:15 pm   Matt Donovan reading
6 pm        John Murillo reading

For additional poetry events, see 2022 Sunken Garden Poetry Festival or our Calendar.


In-person Ticket
Advance tickets: $20 adults; $10 student & children under 18; $10 museum members;
After August 14 & at the gate: $25
Purchase in-person tickets here
For reserved seating, please join The Live Poets Society.

Livestream Ticket
$15 per household
Enjoy the world-class Sunken Garden Poetry Festival from the comforts of your own backyard or couch!
Purchase livestream tickets here

John Murillo is the author of the poetry collections Up Jump the Boogie (Cypher 2010, Four Way Books 2020), finalist for both the Kate Tufts Discovery Award and the Pen Open Book Award, and Kontemporary Amerikan Poetry (Four Way 2020), winner of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and the Poetry Society of Virginia’s North American Book Award, and finalist for the PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry, Believer Poetry Award, Maya Angelou Book Award, Hurston/Wright Foundation Legacy Award, and the NAACP Image Award. His other honors include the Four Quartets Prize from the T.S. Eliot Foundation and the Poetry Society of America, two Larry Neal Writers Awards, a pair of Pushcart Prizes, the J Howard and Barbara MJ Wood Prize from the Poetry Foundation, an NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Cave Canem Foundation, and the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing. Murillo’s poems have appeared in such publications as American Poetry Review, Poetry, and Best American Poetry 2017, 2019, and 2020. Currently, he is an associate professor of English and director of the creative writing program at Wesleyan University.

Emily Carlson (she/they) was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Emily is the author of three poetry chapbooks, Why Misread a Cloud (winner of the 2022 Sunken Garden Chapbook Poetry Award, selected by Kimiko Hahn), I Have a Teacher (winner of The 2016 Center for Book Arts, selected by Mary Ruefle), and Symphony No. 2 (Argos Books, 2015). Their writing has appeared in Aufgabe, Bloom, Denver Quarterly, Fence, Harp & Altar, jubilat, Slope, Whiskey & Fox, and other places. Emily earned a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MFA in Poetry from the University of Pittsburgh.

Emily is the director of Art in the Garden, an anti-racist, LGBTQ+-led, joy-centered program that addresses the impacts of childhood adversity and trauma. Emily also teaches reading and writing-centered courses for students in grades K-5 at an independent school in Pittsburgh. As a teacher, Emily brings a trauma-informed approach that engages restorative practices and focuses on developing student self-expression, confidence, and relationship skills. At the heart of Emily’s practice is the belief that we can and must nurture our students’ abilities to hold the self and others in compassion.

Emily has lived in Ghana, leading the School for International Training’s (SIT) program for high school students, in Italy and Brooklyn, NY teaching horseback riding, and in Beirut, writing with the support of a grant from the University of Pittsburgh’s Syria-Lebanon Nationality Room. Emily is on the board of directors for Olmo Ling Bon Center and Institute. Emily lives with their partner, the writer Sten Carlson, and their three children in an intentional community centered around an urban garden.

Matt Donovan is the author most recently of The Dug-Up Gun Museum (forthcoming from BOA Editions in November 2022) and the collection of lyric essays, A Cloud of Unusual Size and Shape: Meditations on Ruin and Redemption (Trinity University Press 2016). He is the recipient of a Whiting Award, a Rome Prize in Literature, a Creative Capital Grant, and an NEA Fellowship Donovan lives in Massachusetts and serves as the Director of The Boutelle-Day Poetry Center at Smith College.


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 x140.

Thank you to our Sponsors

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35 Mountain Road Farmington CT 860.677.4787

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