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New Canaan Celebrates National Poetry Month With State's Poet Laureate

Richard Allen
Richard Allen Photo Credit: New Canaan Library

NEW CANAAN, Conn. -- The New Canaan Library is honoring the importance of poetry in our lives with a special appearance by Connecticut's Poet Laureate, Dick Allen.

The event will be Thursday, April 9, at 7 p.m. in the Adrian Lamb Room. Allen was appointed as the State Poet Laureate of Connecticut in 2010 and will hold the position through 2015.

Joining Allen in celebrating National Poetry Month will be New Canaan resident and poet Gwen North Reiss, along with members of the St. Mark's Poetry Group, which Reiss leads. Reiss and her members will be reading their own poetry and the library welcomes six New Canaan High School poets reading their work as well.

Immerse yourself in the pleasure of poetry as Allen reads from his latest book of poetry, "This Shadowy Place." Allen is regarded as one of the best poetry presenters of his own and others’ poetry in America.

"This Shadowy Place" is the winner of the 2013 New Criterion Poetry Competition for collections of poems with a strong formal element.  Recently, Allen had the honor of reading at Gov. Dannel Malloy’s second Inauguration, and had done so at his first.  New poems recently out or soon forthcoming  will appear in Ploughshares,Tricycle, Negative Capability, and American Scholar.

Allen has previously published seven books of poetry, including "Present Vanishing: Poems," "The Day Before: New Poems," and "Ode to the Cold War: Poems New and Selected." The former book received the 2009 Connecticut Book Award for Poetry.

He has received a Pushcart Prize, six inclusions in The Best American Poetry volumes, and been a National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist as well as a William Carlos Williams Poetry Prize Runner-Up (First Finalist) for the Best American Poetry Book of the Year.

Among other honors, he has received poetry writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Ingram Merrill Foundation. Over 900 of his poems have appeared in such magazines as The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, The Hudson Review, and The New Republic, among many others.

Gwen North Reiss is a graduate of Yale College with a degree in Literature. She began her career in book publishing at Houghton Mifflin. A poet and the author of a children’s book, "The Winter Lodge," she works part-time for the Silvermine Arts Center and the Glass House. Her poems have been published in the Connecticut Review, the Atlanta Review, Fairfield University’s Dogwood, and Rhino, a literary annual based in Evanston, Ill.

Reiss attended Middlebury’s Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference in 2009 and has taken poetry workshop classes at the 92nd Street Y’s Unterberg Poetry Center. Her poem “Illuminated” won the 92nd Street Y’s Rachel Wetzsteon Prize in 2012.  Reiss directs the Poetry Group at St. Mark’s Church in New Canaan.

For additional information, visit newcanaanlibrary.org or call 203-594-5003. Registration is required here . The New Canaan Library is located at 151 Main St.

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