Poetry & Climate Change: Margaret Gibson & Davyne Verstandig

Like the first signs of spring after a long winter, poetry can be a welcome salve to the soul: a reminder that we are not alone in our anguish. This April, we celebrate not only the arrival of spring but also Poetry Month. Join us as we welcome Connecticut State Poet Laureate, Margaret Gibson and local Poet Laureate Emerita, Davyne Verstandig. The two will discuss a recently-published anthology, Waking Up to the Earth: Connecticut Poets in a Time of Global Climate Crisis, just in time for Earth Day! This poetry anthology includes work by Connecticut poets who write of their relationships with the earth in a time of climate crisis. The scope of the poems goes far beyond Connecticut to the whole ecosystem we humans share.  Both poets will offer readings from their recent publication and will discuss how poetry and climate change tie together themes of grief, loss, hope, and connection to the natural world surrounding us.

Margaret Gibson, current State of Connecticut Poet Laureate, is the author of 12 books of poems, all from LSU Press, most recently Not Hearing the Wood Thrush, 2018. A new book, The Glass Globe, is forthcoming in 2021. Awards include the Lamont Selection for Long Walks in the Afternoon, her second book, 1982; the Melville Kane Award (co-winner) for Memories of the Future, (1986), and the Connecticut Book Award for One Body, 2008. The Vigil was a Finalist for the National Book Award in Poetry in 1993. Broken Cup was a Finalist for 2016 Poets’ Prize, and the title poem from the book won a Pushcart Prize for that year. “Passage,” from Not Hearing the Wood Thrush, was included in The Best American Poetry, 2017. She has written a memoir, The Prodigal Daughter, University of Missouri Press, 2008. Gibson is Professor Emerita, University of Connecticut. She lives in Preston, CT. For more information, visit her website: www.margaretgibsonpoetry.com

Davyne Verstandig was a lecturer in English and Creative Writing at the University of Connecticut. (retired June 2020 after 25 years.) Her books include two books of poetry, Pieces of the Whole and Provisions and her work appears in Sex and Sexuality in a Feminist World, Songs of the Marrow Bone, Where Beach Meets Ocean, This One Has No Name, The Monday Poets, and the forth coming anthology with an introduction by Margaret Gibson, CT Poet Laureate, Waking Up to the Earth, Connecticut Poets in a Time of Global Climate Crisis. She has also performed improvisational work “composing on the tongue” painting and poetry at The Knitting Factory and Housing Works Café in New York City and given readings throughout New England. She gives writing workshops at Wisdom House Retreat Center in Litchfield and at Camp Washington Episcopal Retreat Center in Morris. She is Poet Laureate Emerita of Washington and is a Justice of the Peace .