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Originally published in Compass, April 10, 2014
Haystack director to celebrate national Poetry Month

Poet Stuart Kestenbaum will give a reading from his new book, Only Now, forthcoming from Deerbrook Editions this month, at the Stonington Opera House on Thursday, April 24, at 7 p.m. The event is in conjunction with National Poetry Month, according to a news release from the Opera House.

“Stuart Kestenbaum’s Only Now is a rare accomplishment: a collection of poems that takes on the fragility of the world and our own mortality, and does so with unflinching directness and, most impressively, with wit and a sincere prayerfulness,” Stephen Dunn, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for poetry, wrote in advance praise for Kestenbaum’s new book.

Kestenbaum is the author of three collections of poems, Pilgrimage, House of Thanksgiving, and Prayers and Run-on Sentences, and a collection of essays The View From Here. He has written and spoken widely on craft making and creativity, and his poems and writing have appeared in numerous small press publications and magazines including Tikkun, the Sun, the Beloit Poetry Journal, Northeast Corridor and others and on Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac.

Former U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser wrote, “Stuart Kestenbaum writes the kind of poems I love to read, heartfelt responses to the privilege of having been given a life. No hidden agendas here, no theories to espouse, nothing but life, pure life, set down with craft and love.”

Kestenbaum has been the director of the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Deer Isle since 1988. He is an honorary fellow of the American Craft Council and a recipient of the Distinguished Educator’s Award from the James Renwick Alliance.

Admission is by free will donation the evening of the reading. For more information, go to or call the Stonington Opera House at 367-2788.