MYSTIC — Noted American poet Marilyn Nelson — who on Tuesday was awarded a $100,000 lifetime achievement award from the Poetry Foundation — will be joined by Connecticut poet Sean Frederick Forbes and musician Nora Fox Friday night at the final program of the year at The Arts Café Mystic.
Nelson, who has published 17 books of poetry for adults and children, won the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize. She is a three-time National Book Award finalist whose works include “Carver: A Life in Poems” and “The Fields of Praise: New and Selected Poems.” Previous winners of the Lilly prize include Adrienne Rich and W.S. Merwin.
Nelson has also won the Poets’ Prize, the Frost Medal, the Neustadt Prize, the Newberry Honor book, Coretta Scot King Honor Book (twice), and is also the Emerita State Poet Laureate of Connecticut and Emerita Professor at the University of Connecticut.
Café Director Christie Max Williams said Nelson “has won or been a finalist for virtually every important honor our nation confers upon its poets.”
“Her books and poems cover a wide swath of human experience,” Williams said in a statement, “delving deeply into the changing history of love, family, race, and marriage.”
Nelson is nationally known for her warm and funny readings, Williams added.
“Twenty-five years ago the accomplished and much-honored poet Marilyn Nelson graciously inaugurated the first program of The Arts Café Mystic with a memorable reading that set the bar high for a fledgling, unknown series,” Williams, added. “We are excited and proud to present Ms. Nelson again for our silver anniversary show.”
Fox, a Stonington native now based in New York, is a vocal artist whose repertoire includes Broadway tunes, standards, folk, pop, jazz, and opera. She has performed on Broadway at the Goodspeed Opera, the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center, the NY Musical Festival, and Women’s Center Festival, and has toured South America, the Mediterranean, and Mali. Fox will be accompanied by Ju Young Lee, an accomplished cellist who studied at Julliard and Vanderbilt.
Forbes, who teaches creative writing and poetry, and serves as the interim director of the Creative Writing Program at the University of Connecticut, will open the program with a reading from his debut book, “Providencia.”
— Nancy Burns-Fusaro