Worcester County Poetry Association
Established 1971
Worcester County Poetry Association / PO Box 804, Worcester, MA 01613 / 508-797-4770 / wcpaboard@yahoo.com

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4 Woodford Street
Photo by Alan Carey
The pear tree.......

.....and the pears.
Stanley's highchair, found in a basement storage room and identified by him on a visit in the 1980s.
The front porch of 4 Woodford Street. The door leads to the second floor apartment, restored by the Stockmals and now as a gallery space.
The front parlor,  restored to reflect a home of the early part of the 20th century, when the Kunitz family lived there. The piano is very much like the one played by his sisters and occupies the same place of pride in the front parlor.
The first floor rooms display Kunitz poetry, photographs, and correspondence.
Below, the room that was Stanley's childhood bedroom.
Sunday, October 11
Monday, October 12

4 Woodford Street, Worcester

Open House 10:00am to 4:00pm

Docent Tours 10:30, 11:30, 12:30, 1:30, 2:30

Art Exhibits
"Layers: Revealing and Renewing a Home's Past"
Photographs by Christina P. O'Neill

"Worcester's Last Gas Lights: History Hidden in Plain View"
Paintings by Christina P. O'Neill

"Stanley Kunitz Visits Worcester"
Photographs by John Gaumond

"The Wild Braid: A Poet Reflects on a Century in the Garden"
Photographs by Marnie Crawford Samuelson

Poetry Open Mic 2:00pm, daily in the Second Floor Gallery
Read your own poetry or the work of your favorite poet.
All are welcome to listen or participate in the reading.
Stanley Kunitz: A Brief Biography

Stanley Kunitz (1905-2006) was born on Green Street in Worcester on July 29, the son of Solomon and Yetta Jasspon Kunitz. His early years are the subject of several poems. “The Magic Curtain” recalls memories of movies he had seen in his childhood. “The Portrait” is an extremely powerful piece which recalls his father’s untimely death and his mother’s refusal to discuss it. “The Testing Tree” tells about Kunitz’s boyhood ritual which involved throwing rocks at an oak tree on the edge of the city. This ritual carried implications which “challenged his destiny.” A later poem, “My Mother’s Pears,” describes the pear tree which he and his mother planted in 1919 in the backyard of his home on 4 Woodford Street. Kunitz dedicated the poem to Greg and Carol Stockmal.

Kunitz graduated from Worcester’s Classical High School and then earned an AB and an MA from Harvard. He edited the Wilson Library Bulletin and numerous important reference works on British and American authors. Kunitz established himself as an extremely influential writer in this country. He won the Pulitzer for Selected Poems 1928-1958; other awards include the Guggenheim Fellowship and the Fellowship Award of the Academy of American Poets, the Bollingen Prize and the Lenoire Marshall Prize, the Brandeis Medal of Achievement, the Walt Whitman Citation of Merit, the National Book Award, and in 1993 President Clinton awarded him the National Medal of Art. He was a Professor of Poetry at Columbia, a translator of the works of several Russian writers, including Voznesensky, Akhmatova, and Mandelstam, an editor of the Yale Series of Younger Poets, and was named the first official New York State Poet. From 1974 to 1976, he served as poetry consultant to the Library of Congress and again named U.S. Poet Laureate (as the position is now designated) in July 2000, a few days after his 95th birthday.

At the age of 100, he published his last book, The Wild Braid: A Poet Reflects on a Century in the Garden. Written in collaboration with his literary assistant Genine Lentine and accompanied by photographs by Marnie Crawford Samulelson of the writer in his beloved Provincetown garden, the book includes essays, favorite poems, and reminiscences. Stanley Kunitz died in his Greenwich Village apartment on May 14, 2006.
Photo by Cheryl Richards,
courtesy of Carol Stockmal
1922 - Stanley's graduation portrait.
2001 - Woodford Street
The second floor parlor and dining- room currently house an exhibit of Marnie Crawford Samuelson's photos from Kunitz's last book, The Wild Braid: A Poet Reflects on a Century in the Garden
First Annual Gregory Stockmal Reading

featuring poet
Cleopatra Mathis

Thursday, October 8 - 7:30pm
College of the Holy Cross
Rehm Library

Free & Open to the Public

Sponsored by
Worcester County Poetry Association
The Gregory Stockmal Memorial Fund
College of the Holy Cross

Click here for additional information
and photos

The members of the Worcester County Poetry Association, its officers and board members mourn the  December 21, 2008, death of Gregory Stockmal.

We all learned from Greg’s knowledge of the life of Stanley Kunitz. Greg’s energy, charm, and presence will be sadly missed by us all. 

We were very happy to have Greg and Carol Stockmal serve as honorary board members of our association, and we look forward to Carol continuing as an honorary board member. They always welcomed us to "Stanley's House,"  which Greg and Carol so lovingly restored and shared with the community.

Greg's Woodford Street tours were legendary - a mix of humor, history and affection for Stanley Kunitz.  It is in Greg's honor, as well as Stanley's,  that Carol Stockmal and Judith Ferrara have developed the Kunitz/Stockmal House Docent Program to train individuals to conduct Woodford Street tours and continue Greg's work. 

We honor Greg, as well, with the First Annual Gregory Stockmal Reading, featuring poet Cleopatra Mathis, College of the Holy Cross Rehm Library,
Thursday, October 8, 7:30pm.

Carol has generously allowed us to establish the  Gregory Stockmal Memorial Fund to support  Kunitz programming.

Contributions to the fund in Greg's memory should be payable to the Worcester County Poetry Association. Please indicate Gregory Stockmal Memorial Fund on the memo line.

Link to the obituary

If you would like to volunteer for the 2010 docent training sessions, please contact WCPA.

Gregory  P. Stockmal

Leading a tour at Woodford Street.
Greeting friends to Footsteps in History.
The second floor gallery at Woodford Street.
Hosting Bloomsday 2007 ramblers.
Celebrating Elizabeth Bishop's birthday.
With wife Carol and poet Cleopatra Mathis.
Visit the
Footsteps in History
The pear tree planted at Tower Hill Botanic Garden commemorating Stanley Kunitz's 100th birthday.
Photo by Dan Lewis
Cleopatra Mathis was born and raised in Ruston, Louisiana, of Greek and Cherokee descent. Her first five books of poems were published by Sheep Meadow Press. A sixth collection, White Sea, finalist for the Texas Institute of Letters Award, was published by Sarabande Books in 2005.

Cleopatra Mathis’ work has appeared widely in anthologies, textbooks, magazines and journals, including The Best American Poetry, 2009, The New Yorker, Poetry, American Poetry Review, Tri-Quarterly, The Southern Review, The Georgia Review, The Made Thing: An Anthology of Contemporary Southern Poetry, The Extraordinary Tide: Poetry by American Women, and The Practice of Poetry. Various prizes for her work include two National Endowment for the Arts grants, in 1984 and 2003; the Jane Kenyon Award for Outstanding Book of Poems in 2001; the Peter Lavin Award for Younger Poets from the Academy of American Poets; two Pushcart Prizes: 1980 and 2006; The Robert Frost Resident Poet Award; a 1981-82 Fellowship in Poetry at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts; The May Sarton Award; and Individual Artist Fellowships in Poetry from both the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts and the New Jersey State Arts Council.

Cleopatra Mathis is the Frederick Sessions Beebe ’35 Professor of the Art of Writing at Dartmouth College, where she has taught since 1982.
Stanley Kunitz at the Worcester Senior Center, 2001.
Photo by John Gaumond
Renovations at Woodford Street
Photograph by Christinga O'Neill
Worcester Gas Lights: History Hidden in Plain View
Watercolor by Crhistina O'Neill
Drawing of 4 Woodford Street by Doris Carter.
The Rehm Library, October 8
Carol Stockmal and Cleopatra Mathis
Carle Johnson, Brian Bogosian, Judith Ferrara
Christina Pappas O'Neill, Cleopatra Mathis, Dan Lewis
Association of LibraryTrustees,
Advocates, Friends and Foundations

Link to Stanley Kunitz
Literary Landmark Page
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