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Emily Dickinson Literature Course with Literary Scholar Mark Scarbrough

Mondays @ 10 am- 12 pm 

September 24, October 1, October 15, October 22, October 29

Participants will read as a class a small selection of the poems from perhaps the most inscrutable, dazzling, and confounding poet the United States has ever produced. Tucked away in her room, safe in her own alabaster chamber, Dickinson crafted lyrics that still defy interpretation, that cue the soul toward its deeper sources, and that explore the full range of human emotions: rage to love, neediness to freedom. There will be no set readings, no “homework readings” each week. Instead, come prepared as a class to encounter a curated set of poems that will both define and hide the poet who crafted them. Please sign up now to reserve a spot.

The required book is The Poems of Emily Dickinson: A Reading Edition edited by R. W. Franklin and published by the Belknap imprint of Harvard University Press. You’ll find this edition for sale at The Hickory Stick Bookshop.

Mark Scarbrough started his professional life as an academic and did his doctoral work at the University of Wisconsin Madison before accepting a job at Saint Edward’s University in Austin, Texas. He has given papers on Chaucer at the International Medieval Conference and on American literature at the MLA and regional MLA conferences. After several years teaching, he resigned and moved to New York to write. In New York, he met and married Bruce Weinstein. Together, they have written more than two dozen cookbooks, and have appeared on The Today Show, CBS This Morning and The View and selected as The Most Influential People of Litchfield County. Mark is enmeshed in literature and has been a popular book group and literary discussion leader across Southern New England.

For more information on Mark visit

Beethoven Unvarnished

Thursday, September 27 @ 6:30 pm 

Dr. Vincent P. de Luise, Cultural Ambassador for the Waterbury Symphony Orchestra, and frequent lecturer on the humanities, will present a musically enhanced visual presentation. Ludwig van Beethoven is considered by many to be the most important composer in western civilization. A genius of indefatigable strength, defiant courage, and artistic vision, it was he who changed the course of western music, introducing romanticism and ushering in the modern orchestra and modern piano. He gave the world so many incomparable masterpieces – the Missa Solemnis, the last string quartets and piano sonatas, the Diabelli Variations, and the magisterial Ninth Symphony that culminates in a paean to humanity, the “Ode to Joy” and so much more. Join Dr. Vincent de Luise for a fascinating tour of Beethoven’s life and his music and his eternal legacy.

Dr. de Luise is an assistant clinical professor of ophthalmology at Yale University School of Medicine, and on the adjunct faculty of the Weill Cornell Medical College, where he serves on the Humanities and Medicine Committee and the Music and Medicine Initiative. ​He is president of the Connecticut Summer Opera Foundation and lectures frequently about music and the arts.

Shaping Shepaug: The Inclusion of AgriScience 

Thursday, October 4 @ 6:30 pm 

Many Region 12 families and community members have expressed interest in the new Agriscience Center that will open next year on the Shepaug campus.  The new Region 12 Superintendent, Megan Bennet will host an hour-long community conversation.  Superintendent Bennett will discuss the history, status, and future of Shepaug Valley School, focusing on how Agriscience will be integrated into the school’s educational program and culture to enhance learning. Community members are encouraged to ask questions and share ideas that will help school leaders, faculty, and families shape the new Agriscience Center and form a comprehensive profile of the Shepaug graduate.

Megan Bennett has spent her adult life seeking opportunities to improve student learning experiences and student achievement levels.  She has supported students as a classroom teacher, curriculum coordinator, principal and, now, superintendent. Her work has allowed her to serve communities in urban, suburban and rural areas, and her math curriculum work has afforded her the opportunity to work with both the Connecticut and Massachusetts State Departments of Education.  An important career focus 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.

Bennett has presented at national and state level conferences, including National Teachers of Mathematics (NTCM), ATOMIC, and Common Core Implementation at the Connecticut State Department of Education. Additionally, Megan has 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. Her personalized approach to working with students and families has been highlighted in articles, blogs and interviews, and she is committed to continuing this work for Region 12 students.



A Look Back Through Geologic Time

Thursday, October 11 @ 6:30 pm 

Geologist Ray Underwood, a Washington CT resident and native of New Preston/Marbledale will deliver a talk & visual  presentation on Connecticut’s geological timeline.

At different times in Connecticut’s geologic history there were mountains that rivaled the Himalayas, it was connected to Western Europe, Ireland, and Africa, the region was buried under
a mile of ice and the Atlantic Ocean tried to split it in two. All of this and more has been deciphered from the “evidence in our rocks”. Connecticut’s geologic history, currently cloaked mostly by our forests and farm lands, has at different times been much more “active”. As we take a closer look with geoscience providing the answers, a varied and interesting story emerges. This talk will explore the reasons our hills came to be and the complexity of our local, state, and regional environment. Geology is “the forensic science” with subjects such as plate tectonics, mountain building, earthquakes and faulting, paleo magnetism, etc. The evidence and implications of these will be discussed with an emphasis on Connecticut geologic points of interest. Perhaps as you’ve traveled you’ve noticed the difference between the Hartford valley,  Northwestern hills, western New York State, etc? The principal objective of this talk is to assist the listener in understanding “the clues in our rocks” and the implications for environmental issues today and for our future.

Ray Underwood received his Bachelor and Master’s degree in Geosciences from University of Connecticut. He is a Kleinfelder field geologist, Geodesign field geologist and specializes in structural geology and quantitative analysis utilizing 3D imaging. Ray is also a NEIGC Field trip leader and charter member of Connecticut State Geological Association. He co-authored “Orogenic Curvature in the Northern Taconic Allochthon and its Relation to Footwall and serves as an Adjunct Professor at UConn Waterbury & Torrington.

Monday Matinees



Monday, September 24 @ 1 pm 

At the age of 84, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has developed a breathtaking legal legacy while becoming an unexpected pop culture icon. But without a definitive Ginsburg biography, the unique personal journey of this diminutive, quiet warrior’s rise to the nation’s highest court has been largely unknown, even to some of her biggest fans.

PG / 1hr 36min




All programs are free and open to the public, but registration is requested.
Please call 860-868-7586 for further information or visit
The Gunn Memorial Library is located at
5 Wykeham Road at Route 47 on the Green, in Washington, CT.