Asnuntuck Coffee House to feature 'Freshwater' poets

By Joan Hunt - ReminderNews Managing Editor
Enfield - posted Fri., Oct. 7, 2011
Bessy Reyna, of Bolton, is an award-winning Latina poet, who has published three poetry collections. Courtesy photos. - Contributed Photo

Every year, more than 2,000 poems submitted by poets from all over the world to appear in Asnuntuck Community College’s poetry journal, Freshwater, are narrowed down to about 70 poems that actually end up being published in the journal. Also published in each journal are poems by the winners of the yearly Asnuntuck Student Poetry Contest, which is open to all 12 community colleges in the state, in addition to public universities and selected local high schools.

On Oct. 17, area residents will be given the rare treat of hearing 14 of the talented New England poets that were published in the May 2011 edition read their poetry. The Freshwater Poets Coffee House takes place in Café II at Asnuntuck Community College, at 7 p.m.

The 19th Annual Student Poetry Contest was judged by award-winning poet Sue Ellen Thompson, and three of these winners are among the readers on Oct. 17. One of them is Asnuntuck student Julia Martinez, an Enfield resident who won second honorable mention in the student poetry contest.

Third-prize winner Allison Zaczynski, of Suffield, who also won the 2011 Asnuntuck Excellence in Poetry Award and who currently attends Central Connecticut University, will also do a reading.

Several of the presenters have published volumes of poetry. Dianne Bilyak, from Stafford Springs, recently had her first collection of poetry, Against the Turning, published by AWA Press in Amherst, Mass. Dr. Mary Clare Powell, professor of creative arts in learning at Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass., has three collections of poetry in print.

Bessy Reyna is an award-winning Latina poet from Bolton, who has published three poetry collections, including the bilingual collection, Memoirs of the Unfaithful Lover. John Stanizzi, who is an adjunct professor of English at Manchester Community College and who teaches English at Bacon Academy in Colchester, has published two books with Antrim House, Ecstasy Among Ghosts and Sleepwalking.

So, yes, poetry is alive and thriving in New England. Come and celebrate these creative people in our midst. Those who are interested can also bring works of their own, as an open poetry mic will take place following the formally-scheduled readings.

Refreshments will be served at the event, which is free and open to the public.

Copies of books by many of the featured poets will be on sale, as will copies of Freshwater 2011.

For more information, contact Edwina Trentham at 860-253-3105 or contact her at

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