Special Activities

Poets Laureate naturally hold readings, conferences, and workshops. You can read a long list of the kinds and venues on our Common Questions Page. But here are some special activities, some of which take advantage of new media, feature different arts collaborators, reach new audiences, and create new landscapes! Fellow laureates and Town Planners can learn how to organize similar activities in their own towns.

PODCASTS: Woodbury PL Sandy Carlson hosts the podcast People and their Poems, conversations about poems that people care about and that inspire them to write. Her web address is sandycarlson.net. Want to learn how to host and air a podcast? Contact: imsandycarlson@gmail.com

SNEAKING IN POETRY EVERYWHERE: Bethel PL Emerita Cortney Davis found ways to put poetry-for-free in the most surprising places! She worked with the widow of Dick Allen (Late CT State Poet) to distribute his hundreds of poetry volumes around town in doctors' waiting rooms, with her program "Poetry While You Wait." She worked with Byrd's Books who slipped in poetry books into people's shopping bags as gifts. In "Finders, Keepers," Cortney hid free books of poetry on supermarket shelves, in the post office, condo complexes, municipal centers, etc. Get a start by putting poetry in the "little libraries" around your town, and ask your own doctors if you can provide poetry for their waiting rooms!

POETRY QR CODES IN THE PARK: Andrea Barton, Glastonbury PL teamed up with the town's Parks department to place QR codes on stands to link park-goers with poems. To learn more about how to do it in your town, go to https://www.glastonburyct.gov/our-community/local-attractions/poetry-in-the-parks. Many other poets have placed stands with poems along trails or in parks.

VIDEOS: B. Fulton Jennes, Ridgefield PL, produced a series of videos capturing prominent Ridgefielders reading their favorite poem and offering words of encouragement during the pandemic lockdown. Email barbjennes@gmail.com to learn how she did it!

FACEBOOK SERIES: In response to racial reckoning in the days after the death of George Floyd, Vernon PL Pegi Deitz Shea began a year of
weekly postings on Facebook called "Poetry Rocks Black Voices." After writing a profile of a Black poet, Rockville Public Library posted it on their page and website, and Pegi posted it on her personal page as well. PLs can work with their library directors to create Poetry Pages on their sites, and fill the pages with results from workshops as well. To see all the Poetry Rocks Black Voices posts, please go to

TRI-TOWN COMING OUT OF COVID: South Windsor PL Emeritus Charles Margolis worked with Manchester PL Ryan Parker & Vernon Inaugural PL Pegi Deitz Shea to organize Covid-safe gatherings in each town where writers could read work about their Covid experiences and non-writers could jot down their thoughts on "postcards." The works were compiled into a beautiful book of photographs of the events, the postcards, and artwork. The South Windsor Community Foundation was the chief sponsor, Vernon Parks hosted an outdoors reading, and Manchester's Work_Space added music and art. Email cjmargolis@snet.net to see how he pulled it off.

CT SLAVE HISTORY COMES ALIVE: CT State Poets Laureate Marilyn Nelson and Antoinette Brim-Bell joined with Kate Rushin and New London PL Emerita Rhonda Ward to write the Witness Stone Series, published in Poetry Magazine. These poems bring alive the nearly-forgotten slaves of CT. Readings were held around the state. Contact Antoinette.Brim@gmail.com. The Witness Stone Project is now a national movement to bring dignity to and honor the contributions of enslaved individuals. If you want your town to participate, go to witnessstonesproject.org.

CT POETS ON CLIMATE CRISIS: CT State Poet Laureate Emerita Margaret Gibson organized "Green Poetry Cafes" during Covid. Laureates staged readings around the state in person and via Zoom, produced videos, and wrote poetry addressing the environment. Gibson edited a beautiful anthology, Waking Up to the Earth, published by Grayson Books, owned by Ginny Lowe Connors, West Hartford PL Emerita. Gibson won a grant from the American Academy of Poets to fulfill her vision.

POETIC SYMPHONY: Waterbury Symphony Orchestra Masterworks Series presents a Cantata, Fortune’s Bones, based on Marilyn Nelson's award-winning book about a slave's skeleton kept by Mattatuck Museum.

POETIC BALLET: New England Ballet Theatre presents Poetry In Motion, a full length show featuring three original ballets choreographed in collaboration with Connecticut poets Antoinette Brim-Bell, Sean Sharkey Diaz, and Frederick-Douglass Knowles (Hartford PL). https://poets.org/event/new-england-ballet-theatre-presents-poetry-motion
If poets wish to have their work choreographed for future performances, or if they wish to collaborate with their local dance group, contact Antoinette.Brim@gmail.com.

PLANT A POET TREE: To commemorate the late Canton PL David K. Leff who died suddenly in 2022, Emerita PL Joan Hofmann worked with Town Parks & Public Works to plant a tree and memorial along the Farmington River. Contact jhofmann@usj.edu to learn how.

COMING SOON! A POETRY GARDEN AT YALE HOSPITAL: contact Clinton PL Cathy_Weiss @mac.com. Cathy, a gerontologist, has also conducted workshops with patients with dementia.