Popular poetry expert returns for another four-part literary series

Wilton Library has offered four-part literature seminar series for more than 10 years, the focus of which is often poetry, said Wilton Library Community Engagement Manager Michael Bellacosa.

“One component of the library’s vision is to be the cultural and intellectual center of the town, and this program illustrates that perfectly,” said Bellacosa, who has organized, scheduled and coordinated the programs for a little more than a year.

The literature programs draw about 25 to 30 people per session, said Bellacosa. Although a “significant number” of them are repeat-attendees, he said, there is “always a handful of new people, and some of them become regulars.”

Bellacosa said the library tries to offer at least six four-week programs each year, which are led by different presenters. One presenter is Judson Scruton, whose programs focus on poetry and “has a bit of a following,” said Bellacosa.

Scruton, a Redding resident, is an English adjunct professor at Fairfield University who has taught creative writing and literature at prep schools and universities. He has also directed publications, communications, public relations and development at a variety of educational institutions in the United States and United Kingdom.

Scruton’s next Wilton Library poetry series, Powers of the Imagination, kicks off Thursday, July 7. The four-part series will explore the work of Wallace Stevens and compare his poems to those of his contemporaries — T.S. Eliot, Robert Frost, Marianne Moore and James Merrill.

After attending poetry and short story seminars at the library years ago, Scruton said, he began to lead some of his own.

“I started out doing maybe one a year or so,” he said, “and that has evolved over the last few years to doing them four times a year.”

Scruton said “an amazing group” of people — most of whom are 55 and older and “very, very interested in poetry”— attend his poetry programs.

“A lot of them are published poets, former English teachers or professors, and most of them are professionals who have traveled a lot — many to literary sites that we talk about,” he said, “so the classes are highly energizing and interactive and it’s just been a great group to study poetry with.”

Scruton said the objective of his programs is to “facilitate an interesting discussion” about various poetic topics. “That’s what most of the classes have been,” he said, “and it’s been very enjoyable.”

Powers of the Imagination will take place in the library’s Rimer Room on Thursdays, 10:30 to noon, through July 28. Poetry packets will be available at front desk one week before the seminar begins.

The program is free, but advanced registration is required. Registration covers all four sessions.

To register, call 203-762-6334 or visit www.wiltonlibrary.org.