Sunken Garden Poetry Festival: Rennie McQuilkin

This evening features headline poet and Sunken Garden Poetry Festival Founder Rennie McQuilkin, a memorial to David K. Leff, and a musical performance by the Sophia Griswold Band.

Connecticut’s poetry community has lost a beloved member this year, Mr. David K. Leff. His colleagues and friends will come together at Hill-Stead to present a memorial in his honor.

These individuals will select and read poems by Leff, including those to be published posthumously in his Blue Marble Gazetteer (expected in late October).

Poets include Jon Andersen, Ginny Connors, Pegi Deitz Shea, Daniel Donaghy, Margaret Gibson, Ben Grossberg, Frederick-Douglass Knowles, Marilyn Nelson, Clare Rossini, and John Stanizzi.


3:30 pm    Gates open
4 pm         David K. Leff Memorial
5 pm         Musical Performance by Sophia Griswold Band
6 pm        Rennie McQuilkin reading

For additional poetry events, see 2022 Sunken Garden Poetry Festival or our Calendar.


In-person Ticket
Advance tickets: $20 adults; $10 students & children under 18
After September 24: $25
Purchase in-person tickets here
For reserved seating, please join The Live Poets Society.

Livestream Ticket
$15 per household
Enjoy the world-class Sunken Garden Poetry Festival from the comforts of your own backyard or couch!
Purchase livestream tickets here

Rennie McQuilkin is the former Poet Laureate of Connecticut. He has taught English and Creative Writing at secondary schools including Phillips Academy (Andover), The Loomis-Chaffee School, and Miss Porter’s School. In 1992 he co-founded the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival, which he directed for nine years at Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington, CT. His poetry has appeared in The AtlanticPoetryThe American ScholarThe Southern ReviewThe Yale Review, and many other publications. The author of thirteen poetry collections, he has received several poetry awards, including a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Connecticut Commission on the Arts, the Connecticut Center for the Book’s Lifetime Achievement Award as well as its 2010 poetry award for The Weathering: New and Selected Poems. McQuilkin is currently the publisher of Antrim House Books.

Trombonist/vocalist Sophia Griswold most recently spent six months performing in the official band of the World Expo in Dubai: Expo 2020 Dubai. There, she opened for various artists such as Christina Aguilera, Norah Jones, and Jason Derulo. Sophia is a current student at Berklee College of Music (Boston) and a former member of groups including the Jazz at Lincoln Center Youth Orchestra (NYC) and the 2019 All-National Jazz Band. She has performed at internationally recognized venues such as The Newport Jazz Festival (RI) and Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola (NYC). National television appearances include Emirates TV and Abu Dhabi TV. Sophia loves joking around and having fun on stage.