One of my favorite things about summer in New England is the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival. This year marks the twentieth summer that poets have gathered in the garden at the Hillstead Museum to read to hundreds of people. Probably my favorite place to attend a reading anywhere. In the garden there are occasional distractions–birds, planes, squirrels, nearby sheep–but it is precisely that, poetry as a part of our lives, a part of the fabric of the world in a way that it all so rarely is, which makes it so exciting.
It's at the festival that I heard Donald Hall and Richard Wilbur, Stanley Kunitz and Mark Doty, Sharon Olds and Billy Collins, Dick Allen and Patricia Smith, Brendan Galvin and Carolyn Forche, Natasha Tretheway and Eamon Grennan, Joy Harjo and Philip Levine, Marie Howe and Yusef Komunyakaa, Margaret Gibson and Grace Paley, Tony Hoagland and of course Rennie McQuilkin.
I'm excited about the opening weekend of the festival which will feature Richard Wilbur and a number of other poets including Suji Kwock Kim, Bessy Reyna, Minton Sparks, B. Yung, Toi Derricotte, Rennie McQuilkin, Margaret Gibson, Sue Ellen Thompson, Gray Jacobik, Doug Anderson, Bob Cording, Marilyn Nelson, Vivien Shipley, Steve Straight and Pit Pinegar. There will music and dancing, workshops and readings. It should make for a great weekend, assuming that the rain holds off.
I'm sad I won't be able to attend the rest of the season which will include Christian Wiman, Natasha Tretheway, Tony Hoagland and Donald Hall.