Discover ‘New England Stone Walls’ at Brookline Library

BROOKLINE – Kevin Gardner will present “Discovering New England Stone Walls” at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 14, at the Brookline Public Library.

Gardner’s informal talk will cover a few of the main topics of his book about New England stone walls, “The Granite Kiss” (Countryman Press), touching on history, technique, stylistic development and aesthetics. He will explain how and why New England came to acquire its thousands of miles of stone walls, the ways in which they and other dry stone structures were built, how their styles emerged and changed over time, and their significance to the New England landscape.

Other topics may include the differences in approach between historical and contemporary wall builders, a discussion of restoration tips and techniques, and information about design, acquisition of materials, preservation and analysis.

Along the way, Gardner will occupy build a miniature wall or walls on a tabletop, using tiny stones from a 5-gallon bucket. He often brings along his collection of books about stonework, and copies of “The Granite Kiss” will be available for sale.

Gardner has presented his program at dozens of historical societies, bookstores and libraries all over New England, including Canterbury Shaker Village, the New Hampshire Historical Society, Castle in the Clouds, Old Sturbridge Village and Boston’s Arnold Arboretum.

Gardner lives in Hopkinton. For nearly 40 years, he has been a stone wall builder in a family business.

In addition to “The Granite Kiss,” he has published poetry, songs and essays, including “Radical Resilience: American Families from 1850-2001” (with Brenda Foley), which appeared in the anthology “No Higher Calling” and “Land of Stone,” an examination of several historic sites in the Monadnock Region, in the 2006 anthology “Where The Mountain Stands Alone.”

From 1985-2010, Gardner was a performance critic, feature writer and producer for New Hampshire Public Radio. His pieces on arts, history and culture aired on National Public Radio and the Christian Science Monitor broadcast network, and he was a two-time winner of the New Hampshire Association of Broadcasters’ Golden Mic Award for feature writing.

In 2004, Gardner was a co-host (with Laura Knoy) of the nationally syndicated radio series “Storylines New England,” an interview and call-in program about regional literature. He has been a guest host of Knoy’s morning call-in show, “The Exchange.”

Gardner is a longtime professional actor, director and teacher of theater. He has taught at New Hampton School, the New Hampshire Institute of Art and at St. Paul’s School. Since 1999, he has been the master teacher of the course Shakespeare for Performance in the St. Paul’s School Advanced Studies Program.

He is also a regular guest director at Plymouth State University, a former performance evaluator for the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, and a frequent adjudicator of local, regional and national theater festivals. New Hampshire Magazine named him the state’s Best Theatre Critic in 2008.

The New Hampshire Humanities Council-sponsored presentation is free and open to the public. Registration is required. For more information, visit