Celebrating ten years in existence, Confluencia provides students, alumni, and community members, the opportunity to hear from dozens notable and diverse voices in contemporary poetry and prose. The twice-a-semester event also invites performances in an open-mic format. The March 26 installment was no exception of this dynamic event with four local writers reading from a range of work covering everything from essays to narrative poetry. The topics covered in their work covered themes as diverse as gun violence in urban areas to memories of growing up in one of Connecticut’s famed “mill towns.”
The evening kicked off with refreshments and music. In the event’s new format, the open mic readings were interspersed with readings by the evening’s featured poets. Featured readers for the evening included:
Brian Clements, author, who is the author or editor of over a dozen collections of poetry and Professor of Writing, Linguistics, and Creative Process at WCSU, where he was the Founding Coordinator of the Master of Fine Arts in Creative and Professional Writing.
Jen Sage-Robison, an affiliate of Amherst Writers and Artists and on the faculty at Westport Writers Workshop. Nominated for a 2019 Pushcart Prize, Jen’s poetry has appeared in journals such as Naugatuck River Review, Panoply, Tishman Review and High Plains Register. Born in Torrington, where generations of her family worked the brass mills and machine shops, much of Jen’s poetry is inspired by this place. She seeks to amplify vulnerable voices in her writing and workshops.
Marilynn Turner, an essayist and a Professor of English at Asnuntuck Community College where she teaches writing. She has participated in writing workshops at Wesleyan University, The Yale University Studio Festival Writing Workshop and Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA. She is currently editing a collection of her essays slated for publication in 2019. In addition to writing, Marilynn is a passionate summer gardener of both vegetables and flowers.
Sherezada Luisa Chiqui Vicioso was born in Santo Domingo on 21 June 1948. She studied in the US and in Brazil. She holds a degree in Sociology and Latin American history from Brooklyn College, in New York, a Masters in Education from the University of Columbia and a Post-graduate degree in Cultural Administration from the Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil). Vicioso is the winner of the Anacaona de Oro award for Literature and the Gold Medal of Merit for Women in 1992. She organized the first Circle of Women Poets, now called the Circle of Women Creators. She has worked for several UN agencies including UNICEF and as a consultant for UNESCO, UNIFEM, UNDP and others. She was appointed Ambassador for Women’s Children’s and Youth Affairs for the Foreign Relations Ministry. In 2012 she was the vice presidential candidate for the Alianza País party.
Serving as the evening’s moderator was NVCC Professor of English Steve Parlato, faculty advisor to the school's award-winning newspaper, The Tamarack; and recipient of the Board of Regents Award for Excellence in Teaching, a Presidential Medal of Honor, and two time winner of the NISOD teaching award. Parlato’s poetry appears in numerous journals including Freshwater, Borderlands, and Peregrine. His debut novel, The Namesake (2013), won a 2011 Tassy Walden Award while in manuscript form. His second book, The Precious Dreadful, was published in February by Simon And Schuster. Inspired by his students, Steve is grateful for support from his wonderful wife, Janet, and his children, Ben and Jillian.
Held twice a semester, Confluencia is a confluence celebrating a wide variety of voices. The next installment will be held on the evening of April 22 on NVCC’s Waterbury campus. For more information, visit, nv.edu/confluencia.