Oct 13, 2013
12:56 PM

Poetic 'Confluencia' of Writers in New Book, Event at NVCC in Waterbury

Poetic 'Confluencia' of Writers in New Book, Event at NVCC in Waterbury

Oonya Kempadoo, the novelist and Fulbright-Scholar-in-Residence at Naugatuck Valley Community College.

Poetry, said Robert Frost, is what gets lost in translation.

Salman Rushdie, taking on the subject from the perspective of the creator and hinting at political-style activism, said, "A poet's work is to name the unameable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it going to sleep."

Meanwhile, the Canadian singer-songwriter and poet Leonard Cohen offered a broader view, saying, "Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash."

Poetry is a universe of literary wonders so vast that it’s not easily defined or divided into neat categories; that’s one of the beauties of it.

Connecticut is richer in talented poets and writers than most people realize, and evidence of that will be on display Wednesday, Oct. 16, when a new collection of poetry and other types of short-form writing will be presented in a series of special events at Naugatuck Valley Community College (NVCC) in Waterbury.

The sixth year of Confluencia, a multicultural literary gathering, will begin at 4:30 p.m. in the college’s Playbox Theater with music and a welcome reception for the college’s second Fulbright Scholar-In-Residence, Oonya Kempadoo, a native of Grenada who has extensive experience as a teacher, researcher and novelist. Her most recent book, All Decent Animals, won the honor of being listed on Oprah Winfrey’s 2013 summer reading list. As the Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence for the 2013-2014 academic year, she is teaching two classes at NVCC, in addition to working with students on a creative writing project.

At 5:30 p.m., the event shifts to the presentation of the new collection of writing, Confluencia in the Valley, a compilation of the first five years of Confluencia, edited by Dr. Marianela Medrano, and by Associate Professor of English Juleyka Lantigua-Williams, who is also a Fulbright Scholar. (shown here)

In her preface to the book—whose Spanish name derives from the word confluence, or the “merging of elements, forms, movements, or people,”—NVCC President Daisy Daisy Cocco De Filippis, Ph.D., offered thoughts in prose that read like the poetry of educational philosophy. “In a way,” she writes, “Confluencia gatherings contribute to what one hopes would be ‘an examined life,’ in Emerson’s words, a thoughtful and away way to engage life.”

“Poetry and prose readings, the sharing in the construction of the world through words, are not frivolous undertakings but meaningful activities for students at community colleges,” she continues.

And that, the sum impact of the annual Confluencia gatherings and now the collection of writings under the same name, meets any litmus test of what is—or, in this case, embodies—poetry. In response to Frost, the authors in Confluencia, and those who will read next Wednesday, illuminate what gets lost in translation. To Rushdie’s point, Cocco De Filippis and the editors of Confluencia have decided “to take sides, strart arguments, shape the world, and stop it going to sleep.” As for Cohen’s thoughts, go to Confluencia or buy and read the compiliation; the event and book are simultaneously “evidence of life” and of the sweet “ash” left behind as a life lived well burns bright.

At 5:45 next Wednesday, Confluencia moves from the presentation of the book into an open mic event, and then readings by some featured writers begin at 6:30. According to a release from NVCC, the featured writers will include Oonya Kempadoo and the following:

Barry Fruchter has been writing for over 40 years. He has written two books, Selection, and Dark Fields of Palestine. In addition, he has co-authored with Amber Rose, the Double Helix and The Bride of Auschwitz. They are currently writing two plays. A professor at Nassau Community college, he resides in Woodstock, N.Y.

Myrna Nieves is a writer, cultural activist and educator, born in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. She has been living in New York for over forty years. Nieves is a founding member and professor at Boricua College, where she was the director of their Winter Poetry Series for twenty years. A widely published poet and columnist, her awards and recognitions include the Literary Award of the PEN Club of Puerto Rico.

Robert Roth is a writer who lives in New York City. He is co-creator and co-editor of the literary magazine And Then. Published since 1987, this subscriber supported magazine contains poems, drawings, photographs and short prose narratives. He is also the author of the book, Health Proxy.

Terri Klein is a performance poet, actress, and playwright from Cromwell, Connecticut. She is currently touring with her solo act, Six Unforgettable Women. Terri’s poems have been published in numerous journals and she has written and directed one-act plays featuring poetry for the Hill-Stead Museum and Vintage Players. She has just completed her first full-length play.

More information about the book and the event is available online at nv.edu/Confluencia.

Naugatuck Valley Community College serves Beacon Falls, Bethel, Bethlehem, Bridgewater, Brookfield, Cheshire, Danbury, Middlebury, Naugatuck, New Fairfield, New Milford, Newtown, Oxford, Prospect, Roxbury, Sherman, Southbury, Thomaston, Washington, Waterbury, Watertown and Woodbury. The College is located on a 110-acre campus at 750 Chase Parkway, Waterbury, Conn., and in Danbury at 183 Main Street. The College is one of 17 institutions governed by the Connecticut Board of Regents for Higher Education. Visit nv.edu for more information.



Poetic 'Confluencia' of Writers in New Book, Event at NVCC in Waterbury

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