35 Mountain Rd
Farmington, CT 06032
Sunken Garden Poetry Festival
Experience remarkable performances of live music and poetry in the midst of the exquisite natural setting of the historic Sunken Garden.
- For information about the festival, see 2016 Sunken Garden Poetry Festival.
- For additional Sunken Garden Poetry evenings and other poetry events at Hill-Stead, see our Calendar.
- 4:30 pm Gates open
- 5:00 pm Prelude conversation with Kwame Dawes
- 6:00 pm Fresh Voices poets
- 6:30 pm Music by the Mystic Jammers
- 7:15 pm Kwame Dawes
Kwame Dawes is the author of sixteen collections of poetry, including, most recently, Duppy Conqueror, Wheels,Back of Mount Peace, and Hope’s Hospice. He has also published two novels, Bivouac and She’s Gone, winner of the 2008 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Best First Novel. An accomplished actor, playwright, and producer, fifteen of his plays have been produced, and he has acted in, directed, or produced several of these productions himself; most recently One Love at the Lyric Hammersmith in London. His essays have appeared in numerous journals including Bomb Magazine, The London Review of Books, Granta, Essence, World Literature Today, and Double TakeMagazine. Until July 2011, Dawes was Distinguished Poet in Residence, Louis Frye Scudder Professor of Liberal Arts, and founder and executive director of the South Carolina Poetry Initiative.
The Mystic Jammers started as an opener for Toots and the Maytals at the Original Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel on Westminster Street where the Jammers became a featured band. The Mystic Jammers first release City Dub and Plant Yo Seeds were reggae hits that began the Jammers regular tour of the East oast, headlining in numerous cities and venues. They have since released 12, Breathing Tax and Struggle, Step Out, Live at NE Reggae Festival and Niya. They have been billed with many great reggae artists, including The Wailers, Burning Spear, Ziggy and Stephen Marley as well as R&B and pop greats The Temptation, Meatloaf, and the Village People. This has gone on for more than 25 years now, and the Mystic Jammers still play for the joy of the jam.
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. For all poetry events, see our calendar.
$12 advance on-line purchase, $15 at the gate, ages 18 and under free. Parking is free.
Bring a lawn chair or blanket for seating in and around the garden, or join Hill-Stead’s Live Poets Society to receive premier reserved seating. To join Live Poets Society, contact Kirsten Fuchs, [email protected] or 860-677-4787, x181. For more information, see Live Poets Society Benefits or visit Make a Gift to Hill-Stead.
Al fresco dining is allowed on the grounds. Festival attendees are welcome to bring their own picnic suppers or purchase food, wine and other beverages on site from gourmet food vendors.