Marilyn Nelson and Frederick-Douglass Knowles II to Read at Keeler Tavern Gardens Tuesday Evening

On Tuesday, July 27, Ridgefield Poet Laureate Barb Jennes and Ridgefield Allies, a local social-justice organization, welcome poets Marilyn Nelson and Frederick-Douglass Knowles II in the historic walled garden of the Keeler Tavern Museum and History Center, located at 152 Main Street in Ridgefield. The reading will begin at 7:00 p.m.

Marilyn Nelson is the author or translator of 17 books of poetry. A three-time finalist for the National Book Award, she has been awarded the Frost Medal, the Lenore Marshall Prize, an NEA fellowship, a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship, and the Poetry Society of America’s award for “distinguished lifetime achievement in poetry.” A professor emerita of English at UConn, Marilyn currently serves as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. She was Poet Laureate of CT from 2001 to 2006, and was the founding director of Soul Mountain Retreat.

The inaugural Poet Laureate of Hartford, Frederick-Douglass Knowles II is an educator and activist. He is the inaugural Poet Laureate of Hartford, CT. A recipient of the Nutmeg Poetry Award, he served as a Connecticut Office of The Arts Fellow in 2020 and was named a finalist for the New England Association of Teachers of English (NEATE) Poet of the Year Award. His work has received a Pushcart Prize nomination. Knowles is a Professor of English at Three Rivers Community College in Norwich, CT. His book, BlackRoseCity, was published in 2011.

Ridgefield Allies is a community organization taking steps in the struggle for racial justice locally. The group’s goal is to educate, inspire, and motivate the community to take action against racism.

This and the other poetry readings in the "A Garden of Verse" series are a project of Barb Jennes, whose mission as poet laureate is to encourage Ridgefield residents to read, write, listen to, and enjoy more poetry.

Grounds will open at 6:30 for the event. Guests should bring a lawn chair or blanket and are invited to bring refreshments. Parking is available on-site and across Main Street at Jesse Lee Church. PLEASE NOTE: The gardens have a 60-person capacity, so early arrival is encouraged. The event’s rain venue is the Ridgefield Guild of Artists at 34 Halpin Lane.

Both poets will have books available at the event.