Naugatuck Valley Community College students, faculty and staff packed the College’s Playbox Theater for a special night of poetry at the final Confluencia event of the academic year on Tuesday, April 28. Poised to celebrate its seventh anniversary this coming October, the Confluencia series continues to inspire, enrich and introduce the power of poetry to the community.
The night opened with a live musical prelude by NVCC student guitar duo, Chris Connelly and Chris Cochrane. Poems were distributed to the record crowd to celebrate National Poem in Your Pocket Day on Thursday, April 30. Following greetings from NVCC President Daisy Cocco De Filippis, Ph.D. and Student Government President Iralis DeJesus, Confluencia Coordinator Marianela Medrano, Ph.D. welcomed the audience and introduced the dozens of poets who participated in the “open mic” session, which included readings of poems and short stories ranging from original works to some of the classics.
The three invited guest poets then read from their own works:
Melissa Castillo-Garsow is a Mexican-American writer, journalist and scholar currently pursuing a Ph.D. in American Studies and African American Studies at Yale University. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in numerous journals including Acentos Review. Her first novel is entitled Pure Bronx. She is currently completing her first book of poetry Coatlicue Eats the Apple.
Ralph Nazareth is a professor of English at Nassau Community College on Long Island and managing editor of Yuganta Press in Stamford. For the past ten years he has been a volunteer, teaching creative writing at maximum security prisons in New York State. His poetry and prose have appeared in books and journals here and abroad. His collection of poems Ferrying Secrets was published in 2005 in Hyderabad, India.
Emelda Ramos is a Dominican writer, educator and cultural animator. She is the director of the School of Modern Languages at Universidad Católica Nordestana (UCNE), and was recently awarded an Honoris Causa doctorate in Humanities. She has written numerous publications including novels, short stories and children’s books; her work has appeared in documents and anthologies world-wide.
The readings were followed by a brief question-and-answer session and concluding remarks by President De Filippis.
Held four times per academic year, Confluencia was established in October 2008 by President De Filippis, 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.”