Literary Arts


Poetry Rocks! is a quarterly poetry reading series organized by ACE Artist Member and Vernon Poet Laureate, Pegi Deitz Shea. It is co-sponsored by Arts Center East and the Vernon Arts Commission. In 2017, the then ACE Director, Joan Sonnanburg, approached Pegi about beginning a poetry reading series that would feature Rockville High Schoo’s award-winning poets, early career poets, and established Connecticut poets. Now in its fourth year, Poetry Rocks! has featured numerous poets, including current CT State Poet Laureate, Margaret Gibson, and past CT State Poet Laureate, Rennie McQuilkin. Readings are held on Sunday afternoons at Arts Center East.

Green Poetry Café


Date: Sunday, April 18, 2021
Time: 3:00-5:00 pm
Location: Henry Park Pavilion, 120 South Street, Vernon.

Due to Covid restrictions, attendees are asked to bring lawn chairs and their own refreshments.

An open mike will follow featured readers. There will be a limit of 10 poets (1 poem apiece). To sign up, email Pegi Deitz Shea:

Authors’ books will be for sale!

Poetry Rocks is holding a special reading at Vernon’s Henry Park Pavilion on Sunday April 18, 3:00-5:00 p.m. featuring CT State Poet Laureate Margaret Gibson, Canton Poet Laureate David K. Leff, and Vernon Poet Laureate Pegi Deitz Shea. The free event is billed as a “Green Poetry Café,” where poets will perform their works about nature. The reading commemorates both National Poetry Month and Earth Day (April 22). An open microphone session will follow the featured readers.

Green Poetry Cafés is a state-wide initiative begun by Margaret Gibson, who has made environmental issues the theme of her tenure. Vernon’s event will be the local launch of the poetry book she edited, Waking Up to the Earth: Connecticut Poets in a Time of Global Climate Crisis.

Poetry Rocks events are sponsored by Rockville Public Library, Arts Center East, Vernon Arts Commission. The Green Poetry Café is sponsored by a grant from the American Academy of Poets.

Margaret Gibson won an Academy of American Poets Grant for Poet Laureates to fund these and other projects, including videos of Connecticut poets reading works about the environment. Gibson is the author of twelve collections of poems, most recently, Not Hearing the Wood Thrush and Broken Cup, both published by Louisiana State University Press. She has received numerous honors including the She is a native of Virginia and current resident of Preston, CT. For more information, please visit

David K. Leff is an award-winning author of eleven books: six nonfiction, three poetry, and two novels in verse. The Breach, David’s recent novel in verse about a small Connecticut mill town, won a silver medal for Best Northeast Regional Fiction from the Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY), and Honorable Mention for poetry from the Eric Hoffer Book Award. It was also a finalist for the Spirit of Connecticut Award from the Connecticut Book Awards. His volume, Depth of Field: Poems and Photographs, shows off his photography skills.

David is not only Canton’s Poet Laureate; he is also Deputy Town Historian and Town Meeting Moderator, and a retired volunteer firefighter having served 26 years. For more information about him and his work, please visit

Vernon Poet Laureate Pegi Deitz Shea is a two-time winner of the CT Book Award, and author of hundreds of articles, essays, fiction and poems for both adults and children. She has received awards from organizations including The International Reading Association, the American Library Association, and Junior Library Guild. A creative writing teacher, she founded and directs Vernon’s Poetry Rocks reading series, now in its fifth year.



The ACE Book club is meeting virtually!

Date: Wednesday, April 21
Time: 3:00pm, via Zoom
Title:Operation Mincemeat: The True Spy Story That Changed the Course of World War II by Ben MacIntyre

If you are new to the ACE Book Club and would like to join the April meeting, email prior to the meeting date.

One April morning in 1943, a sardine fisherman spotted the corpse of a British soldier floating in the sea off the coast of Spain and set in train a course of events that would change the course of the Second World War. Operation Mincemeat was the most successful wartime deception ever attempted, and certainly the strangest. It hoodwinked the Nazi espionage chiefs, sent German troops hurtling in the wrong direction, and saved thousands of lives by deploying a secret agent who was different, in one crucial respect, from any spy before or since: he was dead. His mission: to convince the Germans that instead of attacking Sicily, the Allied armies planned to invade Greece. The brainchild of an eccentric RAF officer and a brilliant Jewish barrister, the great hoax involved an extraordinary cast of characters including a famous forensic pathologist, a gold-prospector, an inventor, a beautiful secret service secretary, a submarine captain, three novelists, a transvestite English spymaster, an irascible admiral who loved fly-fishing, and a dead Welsh tramp. Using fraud, imagination and seduction, Churchill’s team of spies spun a web of deceit so elaborate and so convincing that they began to believe it themselves. The deception started in a windowless basement beneath Whitehall. It travelled from London to Scotland to Spain to Germany. And it ended up on Hitler’s desk. Ben Macintyre, bestselling author of “Agent Zigzag”, weaves together private documents, photographs, memories, letters and diaries, as well as newly released material from the intelligence files of MI5 and Naval Intelligence, to tell for the first time the full story of Operation Mincemeat.