Virtual Programs


Missed the Sharing Our Shelves program on 4/8/21?

Here’s a list of the titles we discussed!


Poetry & Climate Change: A Conversation with Connecticut Poets

Thursday, April 22 @ 6:30 pm

Like the first signs of spring after a long winter, poetry can be a welcome salve to the soul: a reminder that we are not alone in our anguish. This April, we celebrate not only the arrival of spring but also Poetry Month. Join us as we welcome Connecticut State Poet Laureate, Margaret Gibson and local Poet Laureate Emerita, Davyne Verstandig. The two will discuss a recently-published anthology, Waking Up to the Earth: Connecticut Poets in a Time of Global Climate Crisis, just in time for Earth Day! This poetry anthology includes work by Connecticut poets who write of their relationships with the earth in a time of climate crisis. The scope of the poems goes far beyond Connecticut to the whole ecosystem we humans share.  Both poets will offer readings from their recent publication and will discuss how poetry and climate change tie together themes of grief, loss, hope, and connection to the natural world surrounding us.

Also joining us will be Karen Silk, Washington, CT’s Poet Laureate to discuss her poetry and do a reading!

Margaret Gibson, current State of Connecticut Poet Laureate, is the author of 12 books of poems, all from LSU Press, most recently Not Hearing the Wood Thrush, 2018. A new book, The Glass Globe, is forthcoming in 2021. AWARDS include the Lamont Selection for Long Walks in the Afternoon, her second book, 1982; the Melville Kane Award (co-winner) for Memories of the Future, (1986), and the Connecticut Book Award for One Body, 2008. The Vigil was a Finalist for the National Book Award in Poetry in 1993. Broken Cup was a Finalist for 2016 Poets’ Prize, and the title poem from the book won a Pushcart Prize for that year. “Passage,” from Not Hearing the Wood Thrush, was included in The Best American Poetry, 2017. She has written a memoir, The Prodigal Daughter, University of Missouri Press, 2008. Gibson is Professor Emerita, University of Connecticut. She lives in Preston, CT. For more information, visit her website:

Davyne Verstandig was a lecturer in English and Creative Writing at the University of Connecticut. (retired June 2020 after 25 years.) Her books include two books of poetry, Pieces of the Whole and Provisions and her work appears in Sex and Sexuality in a Feminist World, Songs of the Marrow Bone, Where Beach Meets Ocean, This One Has No Name, The Monday Poets, and the forth coming anthology with an introduction by Margaret Gibson, CT Poet Laureate, Waking Up to the Earth, Connecticut Poets in a Time of Global Climate Crisis. She has also performed improvisational work “composing on the tongue” painting and poetry at The Knitting Factory and Housing Works Café in New York City and given readings throughout New England. She gives writing workshops at Wisdom House Retreat Center in Litchfield and at Camp Washington Episcopal Retreat Center in Morris. She is Poet Laureate Emerita of Washington and is a Justice of the Peace .

Register here. 


Region 12 Schools: A Comprehensive Approach to Education (A Virtual Program)

Sunday, April 25 @ 2 pm 

Region 12 Schools has been rapidly growing and changing. We are proud of the development of the Agriscience Academy at Shepaug, but that is not only change occurring in our schools. The hour-long conversation with the Superintendent of Region 12 Schools, Megan Bennett, will showcase the changes, successes, and evolution of the Region 12 School system. The community conversation will allow audience members to hear the vision of the Region 12 Schools, share their concerns, and express the community’s vision for our students and our schools.

Megan Bennett has supported students as a classroom teacher, curriculum coordinator, principal and now superintendent. Her work has allowed her the opportunities to serve communities in urban, suburban and rural areas. Her personalized approach to working with students and families has been highlighted in articles, blogs and interviews.

Megan’s math curriculum experience included work in both the Connecticut and Massachusetts State Departments of Education. Her focus during her career has been to close the achievement gap in education; successfully meeting Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for Taunton Schools during her time in the math department. Megan presented at national and state level conferences including National Teachers of Mathematics (NTCM), ATOMIC, Common Core Implementation at Connecticut State Department of Education.  Additionally, Megan served on the Individual Education Plan (IEP) Advisory Council for the General Assembly. She now brings her efforts and love for teaching and learning to the staff and students in Region 12.

This virtual event is a John Millington Community Conversation Series sponsored by the Washington Democratic Town Committee.

Register here to receive your Zoom Link


Book Discussion on Martha Hall Kelly’s Sunflower Sisters

Thursday, May 13 @ 6:30 pm

Gunn Memorial Library and The Hickory Stick Bookshop will host Martha Hall Kelly in a virtual  conversation with Joseph Montebello to discuss Kelly’s latest novel, Sunflower Sisters.

New York Times bestselling author Martha Hall Kelly tells the stunning story of Georgeanna Woolsey, a union nurse during the Civil War and ancestor to Lilac Girl’s Caroline Ferriday, in her final novel about the remarkable Ferriday and Woolsey women and how her calling leads her to cross paths with Jemma, a young enslaved girl who is sold off and conscripted into the army. Inspired by true accounts, Sunflower Sisters provides a vivid, detailed look at the Civil War experience, from the barbaric and inhumane plantations, to a war-torn New York City, to the horrors of the battlefield. It’s a sweeping story of women caught in a country on the brink of collapse, in a society grappling with nationalism and unthinkable racial cruelty, a story still so relevant today.

A native New Englander, Martha Hall Kelly is the NYT Bestselling author of Lilac Girls and Lost Roses. Her historical fiction stories of loss and love are remarkably relevant to today’s world of turmoil. 

Joseph Montebello is a freelance writer. He is a longtime contributor to Litchfield Magazine and has written for The Litchfield County Times, Berkshire Style, Bedford Magazine, Rural Intelligence, Main Street, and AARP Magazine.. He has also written many profiles on people in the arts, including Dani Shapiro, Frank Delaney, Roxanna Robinson, Agnes Gund, Ann Leary, and Christine Baranski. He is the former Vice-President & Creative Director at HarperCollins Publishers, where he also had an imprint called HarperStyle. 

Signed copies of Sunflower Sisters are available from The Hickory Stick Bookshop or call 860-868-0525

Register for this virtual event here.