Sunken Garden Poetry Festival

I had a nice time last night at Hill-Stead Museum’s Sunken Garden Poetry Festival.  How could you not? It was a perfect summer evening.  Latin flavored jazz filled the air while picnics were shared, wine poured, blankets fluffed out over the lush grass.  The Sunken Garden itself was in all its June glory, the Summer House providing the backdrop for the music and for the reading of poems.  Now and then a little cry of happy recognition flared up as friends found one another in the gloaming.

Our Beatrix Farrand-designed sunken garden played host to two fine poets, Gabrielle Calvocoressi and Bessie Reyna.  What a treat it was.  And as the sunset turned into night, birds flew to roost and night time things began to take over.  I was happy to see several chimney swifts, as I did last year.  And the wager still stands that they have nests in church steeples here in Farmington.  Other than raising young, the swifts live the entirety of their lives on the wing, and it may be that they dip their wings at us bi-weekly while we admire our nationally-known poets.  One lone bat skittered across the sky, looking uncoordinated, but being actually anything but.

The full list of the attendees were as follows:

Red-Tailed Hawk
European Starling
American Robin
American Goldfinch
Chipping Sparrow
Chimney Swift
Song Sparrow
American Crow
Downy Woodpecker
Tufted Titmouse
Eastern Bluebird
Wood Thrush
Brown-Headed Cowbird
Tree Swallow
Blue Jay
Eastern Phoebe
White-Breasted Nuthatch
Coopers Hawk
Hermit Thrush
Red-Eyed Vireo
Great Blue Heron

Shetland Sheep
1 Dragonfly
1 bat
Field Crickets
Tree Toads

Other than the hundreds of people, there were 24 species of bird, 3 species of insect, 1 amphibian, 1 bat, a small flock of literary critic Shetland Sheep, a slightly more than three-quarter moon and Saturn glowing in the early summer sky. And poetry. There was lots of that. Define it how you like.

See you on the trails,

Diane Tucker
Estate Naturalist


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12 Responses to “Sunken Garden Poetry Festival”

  1. Marilyn Says:

    Diane, you words made feel as if I was there last night! Maybe someday!!

  2. Can you start a garden on top of a preexisting garden? | Building Chicken Coops Says:

    […] Sunken Garden Poetry Festival « Hill-Stead's Nature Blog […]

  3. Diane Tucker Says:

    oh, Marilyn, I hope you do come. It is just wonderful, a good writer like you would just love it. Diane

  4. bessy Says:

    You captured it nicely but misspelled my name..
    will forgive you
    Bessy Reyna

    • Diane Tucker Says:

      Oh, goodness! A thousand apologies. Making it worse is the fact that I really should have known better since I am married to John Tucker from the Court of Appeals long ago, and good friends with Jamie Porter who I think you also know. Mea maxima culpa, and thank you for pointing out the error. I really am sorry. Diane

  5. Bridget Willard Says:


  6. wildlifewatcher Says:

    A wonderful setting deserves wonderful poetry and wonderful wildlife! It’s really a great list of birds who were present, isn’t it! I can almost hear these birds as they settle down.

  7. Diane Tucker Says:

    It would be terrific to have you visit in real life! We welcome blog readers and anyone else who enjoys art, nature, poetry and hospitality! Seriously, visit sometime-you’ll be captivated. Diane

  8. Leta Marks Says:

    Happy I saw you at Sunken Garden as I would not have read your blog which I enjoyed so much. You have a gift of observation and poetic prose. Makes me want to visit the woods and meadows with you! Thanks, Leta

    • Diane Tucker Says:

      Leta, I always love seeing you. I think we should make a plan to have a walk together. Do you think Flo and Vick would come with us? I’d love it!

  9. Hilongos Says:

    What makes poetry so wonderful is the fact that it involves all of life, every concern, every desire, and every feeling. If something has some great significance to a person’s existence, then it has a great significance in poetry as well.

    • Diane Tucker Says:

      I agree that poetry embodies all that is real within us, and reveals the humanity in each of us. It allows us to connect in a unique way. Holding readings in a setting like Hill-Stead’s Sunken Garden adds a special element to the experience. Diane

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