Connecticut Poet Laureate

Connecticut Poet Laureate

Rennie McQuilkin

Rennie McQuilkin, has an extensive background participating in poetry readings and workshops in Connecticut, and beyond, has had a distinguished literary career with several published full-length collections of poetry. His work has appeared in The Atlantic, Poetry, The Yale Review, Yankee, The Hudson Review, The Southern Review, Crazyhorse, The Gettysburg Review, The Christian Science Monitor, The North American Review, The American Scholar, and many other publications.

He was recently awarded a lifetime achievement award from the Connecticut Center for the Book, which also awarded him its Book Award for Poetry. In addition, he was a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship along with several fellowships from the Connecticut Commission on the Arts, and has received many other honors and awards.

“My passion to serve as the Connecticut Poet Laureate is rooted in my experience as the poet laureate for Simsbury,” said McQuilkin. “I plan to support the Coalition of Local Poets Laureate in its efforts to encourage more towns and cities throughout the state to establish poet laureate positions and to further support the work of local poets. I also plan to encourage local access television stations to emulate Simsbury’s SCTV in creating poetry series as part of their regular programming.”

Connecticut is home to one of the nation’s premier poetry events, the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival, five summer events featuring poetry, music, and writing workshops in and around the Hill-Stead Museum’s circa-1920 Beatrix Farrand-designed garden. McQuilkin co-founded the festival and served as the director from 1992-2000.

Currently, McQuilkin is the publisher and editor of Antrim House Books that publishes the work of Connecticut poets and provides greater exposure and access to the work of local poets.  

Reproduced from the Connecticut State Register & Manual with permission of the Secretary of the State.