Aug 27, 2014
03:15 PM
Arts & Entertainment

Dead Poets Society? No. It’s a (Successful) Connecticut Poets Society

 Dead Poets Society? No. It’s a (Successful) Connecticut Poets Society

When poets read their work at readings there is a magic that often happens, says Neil Silberblatt (left).

“A poem, like a song, which shares much in common with poetry, takes on a new life once it is read aloud,” he says. “Imagine and read the lyrics to your favorite song, be it folk, rock or opera. Now listen to that song being sung by someone who knows how. Look at the ingredients to your favorite dish as they sit on the store shelf. Now taste the dish prepared by a seasoned chef. When poetry is read [well], it is that dish prepared and served.”

Silberblatt is a poet who has published two poetry collections, So Far, So Good (2012), and Present Tense (2013). In addition to writing, he is a patron of poetry who spreads the gospel of the spoken word through “Voices of Poetry,” a Litchfield County poetry series he started in 2012.

This year's series will kick off on Sunday, Sept. 7, with the “Back on the Vine” poetry event from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Hopkins Vineyard in New Preston. The event will feature poets Charles Fort, Steven Ostrowski, Laurel Peterson and Dimitri Rimsky, as well as music by singer Carol Leven (below) and jazz guitarist Nick Moran. In addition there will be wine provided by the Hopkins Vineyard.

The series will continue with regular readings through November at various locations within Litchfield County (see the full schedule below).

Silberblatt started the series in order to provide an outlet where poets could present their work.

“I realized that although there was an abundance of talented poets and writers, there was a dearth of poetry readings in and around Litchfield County,” he says. “Basically, I wanted to bring good contemporary poetry to people and vice versa and to debunk the notion of poetry being only for academics or teenagers. I also wanted to present poets who were and are deeply devoted to their craft, and give them an opportunity to hone that craft.”

The success of the series has met Silberblatt’s wildest expectations.

“We have now presented more than 50 events, which have featured more than 80 poets and more than 60 musicians,” he says. “Although I have not kept careful count, by rough estimate more than 2,000 people have attended our events since 2012.”

Poets are selected by Silberblatt, who employs a simple criteria for inviting them to read at the series: “whether I wish to hear them read or perform, and whether I think others will enjoy hearing them read or perform.” He adds he always welcomes suggestions of poets who he should consider inviting to participate.

Beyond the poetry, the inaugural event of the series this year will take place at a winery, which is fitting, says Silberblatt. “Since medieval days, there has been a happy marriage between verse and the vine. This event is in that fine tradition.” 

For more information see the schedule below provided by Voices of Poetry: 
Voices of Poetry - Back on the Vine
Sunday, September 7 - from 2 to 4 pm
Hopkins Vineyard
New Preston, CT
- featuring poetry by Charles Fort, Steven Ostrowski, Laurel Peterson & Dimitri Rimsky; music by songstress Carol Leven & jazz guitarist Nick Moran; wine by Hopkins Vineyard & mother nature.
Admission: $10 @ person.
 
Voices of Poetry - Malice Toward None
Saturday, September 27 - from 3 to 5 pm
The Silo / Hunt Hill Farm Trust
Upland Road (off Route 202)
New Milford, CT
A special event in honor of the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War.
- featuring contemporary/traditional poetry written/read by David K. Leff, Arthur Pfister & Matthew J. Spireng; music by fiddler Thomas Hooker Hanford & singer/songwriter Don Lowe.
Admission: $10 @ person.
 
Voices of Poetry - At the Booth
Saturday, October 18 - from 2 to 4 pm
Cyrenius H. Booth Library
Newtown, CT
- featuring poetry by Kristen DeVoe, Patrick Donnelly, Michael Klein & Amy Nawrocki; music by acoustic guitarist Buzz Turner.
Free.
 
Voices of Poetry - Back at HoBo
Saturday, November 1 - from 5 to 7 pm
House of Books
Main Street, Kent, CT
- featuring poetry readings (& book signings) by Charlie Bondhus, Howie Faerstein, Van Hartmann & Tony Howarth; music by singer/songwriter Robert C Fullerton.
Free.
 
Voices of Poetry - Thanks for the Giving III
November 15 - from 5 to 8 pm
St. John's Episcopal Church (Parish Hall)
New Milford, CT
A special benefit for Loaves & Fishes Hospitality House, the food pantry / soup kitchen in New Milford, CT.
- featuring poetry by Richard Close, Kristen DeVoe, Tony Howarth, Juleyka Lantigua-Williams, David K. Leff, Reggie Marra, Robert Roth, Susan Tuz & Faith Vicinanza; music by Duane Andrews, John Bolster, Christopher Ellis, Eric Gatten, Lynn Henderson, Donald P Hicks, Mike Latini & Don Lowe. 
Suggested donation: $20 per person (every cent of which will go to Loaves & Fishes).  Contributions of any amount (greater or lesser) - which should be made payable to "Loaves & Fishes" - are welcome & greatly appreciated (and fully tax deductible).
 

Contact me by email eofgang@connecticutmag.com and follow me on Twitter, and connect with Connecticut Magazine on Twitter, on Facebook and Google +

 

Dead Poets Society? No. It’s a (Successful) Connecticut Poets Society

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