Loaves and Fishes benefit to feature poet Weaver

A special event featuring award-winning poet Afaa Micheal Weaver will be held Nov. 4 from 7 to 9 p.m. in New Milford to benefit the Loaves and Fishes Hospitality House.

“An Evening with Afaa M. Weaver and Friends” will be held at St. John’s Episcopal Church on Whittlesey Avenue.

Weaver, a former factory worker for 15 years, is the author of numerous poetry collections, including "The Plum Fower Dance: Poems 1985to 2005, "The Government of Nature,” winner of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and "City of Eternal Spring," winner of the Phyllis Wheatley Book Award. Presently a Guggenheim fellow, he is the recipient of an NEA fellowship, a PEW fellowship, four Pushcart prizes and a Fulbright appointment in Taiwan, among many honors.

His portrait is one of eight poets featured in the new African-American Smithsonian Museum, displayed between Langston Hughes and Lucille Clifton.

In 1998, he became the first elder of the Cave Canem Foundation.

He recently retired from 20 years of teaching creative writing at Simmons College in Boston. He teaches poetry and translation at the low-residency program at Drew University in New Jersey.

A certified teacher of T'ai chi, he is also fluent in Chinese.

He will read from his latest books, "Spirit Boxing" and "A Hard Summation," along with musicians and other poets from the No Name Writers group.

"This fundraiser couldn't be more timely," said Reverant Jack Gilpin, priest at St. John's and Chairman of the Board of Loaves and Fishes.

"We are building a new place to house the soup kitchen but we are barely halfway there and our current lease is running out,” he said.

“Loaves and Fishes serves the poor and disenfranchised in the greater New Milford area and it provides both spiritual and physical sustenance for its patrons,” he said.

“We are honored to have Afaa and his friends share their gift of poetry with us to help raise funds for this important project,” Gilpin said.

A donation of $20 is suggested.

For more information, call the church at 860-354-5583.