2018 Sunken Garden Poetry Festival

Celebrate Summer at the 2018 Sunken Garden Poetry Festival

Hill-Stead Museum’s renowned Sunken Garden Poetry Festival is a unique outdoor arts event located on the grounds of this National Historic Landmark in the heart of Farmington. The community cherishes this series of readings and music concerts in the informal outdoor setting of the Hill-Stead estate. Visitors can come early to tour the museum’s world-class Impressionist art collection, walk the trails, or attend the prelude conversations with headlining poets. Picnics are welcome and food and wine can be purchased from festival vendors.  Guests bring their own chairs and blankets and relax among the flower beds in the historic Sunken Garden, surrounded by eight foot stone walls and the sounds of nature.

Hill-Stead is proud to make the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival accessible to all.  Learn More.

Individual tickets  $15 online, $20 at the gate; Children under 18 FREE, Parking  FREE

For additional poetry events, see our Calendar.


Featured Poets

Irish Poetry & Music: Eamon Grennan
with David McLoghlin

Music by Daymark and Irish dancing by Scoil Rince Luimni

Sunday, May 27 
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Eamon Grennan is the author of more than 10 collections of poetry, including There Now (2016), Out of Sight: New and Selected Poems (2010), Matter of Fact (2008), The Quick of It (2005), Still Life with Waterfall (2002), and Relations: New and Selected Poems (1998).  Grennan was the Dexter M. Ferry Jr. Professor of English at Vassar College until his retirement in 2004.

David McLoghlin is the author of Waiting for Saint Brendan and Other Poems (Salmon Poetry, 2012), part of which was awarded second prize in The Patrick Kavanagh Awards. David’s second collection, Santiago Sketches, was published by Salmon Poetry on 25th July 2017. Sign Tongue, his rendering of the work of Chilean poet Enrique Winter, won the 2014 Goodmorning Menagerie Chapbook-in-Translation prize.


Molly Brown & Margaret Gibson

Wednesday, June 20
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Molly McCully Brown is the author of The Virginia State Colony For Epileptics and Feebleminded (Persea Books, 2017), which won the 2016 Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize. Beginning in September 2017, she is the inaugural Jeff Baskin Writers Fellow at The Oxford American magazine. She is at work on a collection of essays about disability, poetry, religion, and the American South that explores the relationship between the body and that intangible other we sometimes call the soul.

Margaret Gibson’s Broken Cup, brings a breath-taking eloquence to what Gibson has called “traveling the Way of Alzheimer’s” with her poet-husband David McKain.  After his initial and tentative diagnosis she wrote no poems for two years, but then poetry returned, and writing became a lightning rod that grounded her and allowed for moving ahead and for transformation.


Tracy K Smith Sunken Garden Poetry FestivalUnited States Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith
with the winner of the Tupelo Poetry Prize

Music by Tang Sauce & DJ Stealth

Wednesday, July 11
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Tracy K. Smith was appointed the 22nd United States Poet Laureate in 2017. She is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Ordinary Light (Knopf, 2015) and three books of poetry. Her collection Life on Mars won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize and was selected as a New York Times Notable Book.


Poetry of Our World: Solmaz Sharif & Javier Zamora

Music by Mikata Salsa & Latin Jazz Orchestra

Wednesday, July 25
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Solmaz Sharif was born in Istanbul to Iranian parents.  Her debut collection LOOK (Graywolf Press) was a finalist for the 2016 National Book Award and 2017 PEN Open Book Award. In 2017, Sharif was the recipient of the 27th annual PEN Center USA Literary award in Poetry for LOOK.

Javier Zamora was born in La Herradura, El Salvador, in 1990. His book Unaccompanied tells of the 4000 miles he traveled across multiple borders—at age 9—from El Salvador to the United States to be reunited with his parents.  He is a member of the Our Parents’ Bones Campaign, whose goal is to bring justice to the families of the ten thousand disappeared during El Salvador’s civil war.


Young Poets Day: Andrea Gibson
with the winners of the Fresh Voices Poetry Competition

Sunday, August 5
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Andrea Gibson is an award-winning poet and activist who lives in Boulder, Colorado. Their poetry focuses on gender norms, politics, social reform and the struggles LGBTQ people face in today’s society.