The Norwich Historical Society asked local poets to browse through our collections, find something that captured their imagination and compose a poem about it. The results are as varied and surprising as the lives and times that inspired them.

Every schoolchild knows that poetry is a wonderful way to bring history to life (“Listen my children and you shall hear….”).  NHS brings that concept to the local level.  Interaction with objects prompts reflection about the lives of those who used them, about what connects us to those lives and about how we are different.  We invite the public (and school classes, with advance notice) to join us in taking a deeper reading of our holdings.

The objects and the poems they evoked will be on exhibit at Lewis House, the Historical Society’s home at 277 Main Street, through April and May.  Lewis House is open Wednesdays and Thursdays, 10 – 4, and by appointment.

The Poets

Jane Benson Ackerman
Florence Fogelin
Lisa Furmanski
Phyllis Katz
Giavanna Munafo
Chin Woon Ping
Sarah Drew Reeves


“Orthophony, or The Cultivation of the Voice in Elocution” (1871)


Poem on display with photos that inspired it


Poet Phyllis Katz reads her poem about Edastina Bush, a Norwich woman who attended medical school in the mid-19th century


The Poets (left to right): Phyllis Katz, Florence Fogelin, Ivy Schweitzer, Lisa Furmanski, Jane Benson Ackerman, Chin Woon Ping. Not pictured: Sarah Drew Reeves.