Naugatuck Valley Community College’s Confluencia, a multicultural literary gathering in its seventh year, was held on the big stage at the Danbury Palace on Wednesday, March 25. Area residents and lovers of literature and poetry were invited to attend the free event, take part in the “open mic,” listen to published poets, and enjoy music and refreshments.
Confluencia was established in October 2008 by Daisy Cocco De Filippis, Ph.D., NVCC’s president, who was appointed in July of that year. “It is a way to honor talented writers and all they have achieved in their life’s work and a way to share their personal experiences with others,” De Filippis said. “The literal meaning of the title ─ a coming or flowing together, meeting or gathering at one point ─ describes what we envision when our community becomes part of the excitement on our campus. It is an opportunity for the College to affirm the centrality of community in all that we do and to underscore our intent to remain an essential part of the literary heart of the region.”
As evidence of that commitment, in October 2013, NVCC’s Confluencia reading series celebrated five years of gathering writers to share their work in a collection of poetry, prose, and other selections, entitled Confluencia in the Valley: The First Five Years of Converging with Words, edited by Marianela Medrano and Assistant Professor of English Juleyka Lantigua-Williams. Dozens of poets, playwrights, authors, and performance artists contributed to a first-ever commemorative collection from those who shared their gifts at one of the signature evenings.
Confluencia is held four times per academic year and is traditionally hosted at the Danbury Palace in March. The night began in the theater lobby with music and refreshments before heading into the stage area for the Open Mic. The featured poets who read included:
Carlos Aguasaco, a professor of Latino Cultural Studies at the City College of New York, who holds a Ph.D. in Hispanic languages and literature from Stony Brook University, opened the poet’s part of the program. He also directs Artepoetica Press and has co-edited six literary anthologies including Multilingual Anthology: The Americas Poetry Festival (2014).
Cynthia Quintanal has published three poetry books: In Sight, Excerpts from a Concert for the Earth and Musings. In addition, her work has also been included in The International Library of Poetry in a published book entitled A Secret Language. Currently, Cynthia is sharing her muse with the project, Crystal Cymbalogy.
John Sakson, a graduate of Syracuse University’s MFA program and a former editor of the literary journal, Salt Hill read from his poems. He has taught writing at numerous colleges and universities throughout New York State, and his poems have appeared in Rattle, Poet Lore, The Worcester Review, and elsewhere. He now teaches and lives in Connecticut.
Lynda Sorensen, a teacher of literature and composition at Darien High School, Darien, CT, and co-editor of On This Crust of Earth, a collection of poems written by a group of Connecticut poets also read. Early in her career, she contributed to the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference; from there her love of poetry has shaped her life.