Thoreau and The Miracle of Poetry 


Wednesday, February 24, 2021    
7:00 pm - 8:15 pm

Event Type

Wednesday, February 24, 7:00-8:15 PM EST via zoom.

“A poem is one undivided, unimpeded expression fallen ripe into literature,” Thoreau wrote in A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers. “Much verse,” he also said, “fails of being poetry because it was not written exactly at the right crisis, though it may have been inconceivably near to it. It is only by a miracle that poetry is written at all.”  Join The WWP and four contemporary poets who will read from their work that echoes Thoreau’s, often about nature, social reform, and living deliberately. A discussion with the featured poets about how Thoreau, among others, have inspired their writing will follow the readings. 

Featured poets:

Quintin Collins: Quintin Collins (he/him) is a writer, editor, and Solstice MFA Program assistant director. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Sidereal MagazineSuperstition ReviewGlass Poetry, and elsewhere. A two-time Pushcart Prize nominee, Quintin’s other accolades include Best of the Net nominations as well as semifinalist and finalist positions for writing prizes. His first full-length collection of poems, The Dandelion Speaks of Survival, is forthcoming from Cherry Castle Publishing in 2021. Recently, he won the Charles B. Wheeler Poetry Prize. The winning manuscript—Claim Tickets for Stolen People—was chosen by judge Marcus Jackson and will be published with The Ohio State University Press. See more of his work on 

Ernesto Estrella: Ernesto Estrella is a New York-based poet and educator. He is the author of Boca de Prosas and Achronos, and is currently finishing his first poetry collection in English, The American Heart. Ernesto has translated the works of Henry David Thoreau and John Muir into Spanish and has written a number of books and articles on Poetic Theory and Performance Studies. He is a former Yale University professor of Contemporary Poetry and has been showcased in seminars at leading institutions such as the Great Books Foundation, New York Historical Society, Bowery Poetry Club, The Walden Woods Project, and The Thoreau Society. During 2021, he launched The Voice of Recovery podcast which uses poetry and storytelling as tool for wellness and mental health.

David Leff: David Leff is an award-winning poet and essayist, poet laureate of Canton, Connecticut, and the author of six nonfiction books, three volumes of poetry, and two novels in verse.  He is a former deputy commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection.  By appointment of the National Park Service, David served as poet-in-residence for the New England National Scenic Trail (NET) during 2016-17.  He is deputy town historian and town meeting moderator in his hometown, and also served 26 years as a volunteer firefighter.  David recently coedited New England Nature, an anthology of early nature and environmental writing, and is in the process of editing A Gathering of Poets on Henry David Thoreau: Verse Inspired by His Life and Work, scheduled for publication early in 2022. View his work at

Catherine Staples: Catherine Staples is the author of The Rattling Window (Ashland Poetry Press, 2013), nominated by Eamon Grennan, winner of the McGovern Prize, and Never a Note Forfeit, (Seven Kitchens Press, 2011), winner of the Keystone Chapbook Prize, selected by Betsy Sholl. Her poetry has appeared in Gettysburg Review, Kenyon Review, Poetry, The Southern Review, Yale Review, and the Academy of American Poets. Honors include a Dakin Fellowship from the Sewanee Writer’s Conference and Southern Poetry Review’s Guy Owen Prize.  She teaches in the Honors and English programs at Villanova University. See her work at

If you are able to do so, we ask you to make a donation to help us continue our critical work in offering free virtual events. For this event, all donations will be split among our fabulous featured poets. Donate here.