Stoneleigh-Burnham School is pleased to welcome western Massachusetts based poet and teacher Gail Thomas to its annual Poetry Festival on April 11, 2018.

April is National Poetry Month, a celebration of poetry established by the Academy of American Poets in 1996. To mark Poetry Month, SBS will hold its annual Poetry Festival and celebrate student poetry with a poetry contest. SBS students have been encouraged to submit original poetry to the contest, and the winners will be selected to read their work at the Poetry Festival. The festival will begin at 7 p.m. in the Capen Room, immediately following Community Dinner at 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Thomas has published four books: Odd Mercy (2016), Waving Back (2015), No Simple Wilderness: An Elegy for Swift River Valley (2001) and Finding the Bear (1997).

Odd Mercy was chosen by Ellen Bass for the Charlotte Mew Prize of Headmistress Press, and its “Little Mommy Sonnets” won Honorable Mention for the Tom Howard/Margaret Prize for Traditional Verse. Also, Waving Back was named a Must Read for 2016 by the Massachusetts Center for the Book and Honorable Mention in the New England Book Festival.

Thomas’s work has appeared in many journals and anthologies including The Beloit Poetry JournalCalyxThe North American ReviewHanging Loose, and Valparaiso PoetryReview. Individual poems have won the Naugatuck Review’s Narrative Poetry Prize, the Edward Hearst Prize, and the Pat Schneider Prize. She was awarded residencies at The McDowell Colony in New Hampshire and Ucross in Wyoming.

Her book, No Simple Wilderness, about the creation of the Quabbin Reservoir in the 1930’s has been taught in college courses. As one of the original teaching artists for the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s Elder Arts Initiative, Thomas led workshops and collaborated with dancers, musicians and storytellers in schools, nursing homes, hospitals and libraries across the state.