Connecticut Poetry Circuit

The Connecticut Poetry Circuit was established in 1968 to continue the work of the New England Poetry Circuit, which was founded in 1964 by the Academy of American Poets and Holly Stevens, daughter of the acclaimed poet and Hartford insurance executive Wallace Stevens. The work of the Circuit is guided by a panel of poets: Randall Horton, Vivian Shipley, Clare Rossini, John Stanizzi and Kate Rushin. The Circuit is directed by James Gentile who is an English professor at Manchester Community College, the Circuit's permanent home.

Spring 2019 Poets: (back) Genie Johnson, Rachel Kaufman and Louisa Mahoney; (front) Christine Byrne and Maxim Schmidt

Each year the panel nominates an outstanding poet to give a series of readings at various Connecticut colleges. These readings occur over a two-week period in mid-fall. Poets who have toured the Circuit include: Theodore Deppe, Martin Espada, X.J. Kennedy, James Merrill, Robert Pinsky, Adrienne Rich and Charles Wright. For Fall 2018, Patricia Spears was selected to tour the Circuit.

The panel also judges a state-wide contest of college students poets. Five student poets are selected each year and tour in the spring to places like the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival in Farmington. For Spring 2019, the following students were selected to tour colleges throughout the state: Christine Byrne of the University of Connecticut, Genie Johnson of Quinebaug Valley Community College, Rachel Kaufman of Yale University, Louisa Mahoney of Trinity College, and Maxim Schmidt of Albertus Magnus College.

View the archive for the complete list of the professional poets and the Connecticut student poets who have toured the Circuit.

The Connecticut Poetry Circuit is not funded; the panel and director volunteer their time to encourage student poets and to bring poetry to Connecticut colleges and communities.


Panel and Director

Connecticut Poetry Circuit Director

James Gentile
Professor of English
860-512-2667

Connecticut Poetry Circuit Panel