Short stories and poems welcomed for 'South Windsor Voices II'

By Christian Mysliwiec - Staff Writer
South Windsor - posted Thu., Jan. 17, 2013
'South Windsor Voices,' with a front cover illustration by Tracy Anderson, will have a second volume composed of short stories and poems from residents. Photo by Christian Mysliwiec.
'South Windsor Voices,' with a front cover illustration by Tracy Anderson, will have a second volume composed of short stories and poems from residents. Photo by Christian Mysliwiec.

Chances are, you have a great story to share from your school days. If you can tell that story through prose or poetry, you might be able to see it published in the South Windsor Voices Committee's next compilation of works, South Windsor Voices II.

“The idea is to have a common experience that people could relate to no matter what their background is or their age,” said Mary Etter, director of the South Windsor Library and a member of the South Windsor Voices Committee. Since everybody goes to school, Voices II will ask writers to submit short stories or poems about a personal school experience.

“Everybody has a school story to tell,” said Charles Margolis, the founder of South Windsor Voices. “An inspirational teacher, a funny incident, school angst, the cafeteria, climbing the rope in gym – we've all been there.”

Submitted short stories should be no less than 250 words and no longer than 4,000. Authors may submit up to two stories. “We're not particularly looking for fiction, we're looking for real experiences,” Etter said. “The authors of the pieces must be South Windsor residents or former South Windsor residents – but it's the understanding that the school experience happened anywhere, it's the person who has to have the link to South Windsor, not the event.”

South Windsor Voices II follows on the success of the first South Windsor Voices book, a compilation of poems written by South Windsor residents. The story of the book began in 2009, when then-mayor John Pelkey appointed Margolis as the town's poet laureate.

As his poet laureate project, Margolis (with help from Pelkey) formed a committee with the intent of compiling a collection of poems by South Windsor residents. For about a year, the committee invited submissions, hosted poetry writing workshops and gathered poems from residents. “In the end, there were 85 poems in the book, and 55 poets were represented,” said Etter.

Etter recalls the book's launch party they had in March 2011. Even on the afternoon of a Sunday when the University of Connecticut women's basketball team was playing, 175 people gathered in the Friend's Room of the library for the launch party. “People totally embraced it,” she said. “It was very nice.”

The committee held a meeting, and quickly determined to follow up on the success of the first book with a second. “The idea came about that the next volume of South Windsor Voices should be about people who aren't poets, but rather, it could be prose as well,” said Etter. After accepting submission, the committee editors will make their selections, and the final compilation will go to print next spring.

As a retired art teacher, Margolis liked the idea of using poetry to “galvanize” the community with Voices I. He also liked the idea of helping poets get published.

“As far as we knew, it was the first such project done anywhere, where the community was writing a poetry book,” said Margolis. “And it worked out really well.”

According to Margolis, another unique aspect to the project is that it was community-funded through grants and private donations. Contributors include the South Windsor Community Foundation, the Human Relations Commission, South Windsor Cultural Arts, and the Rockville Bank Foundation. Matching funds came from the town council and the Friends of the Library.

The final deadline for submitting short stories or poems is June 14, 2013. For more information, guidelines, or even ideas about how to get started writing, contact Margolis at 860-644-0697 or e-mail For complete submission guidelines and rules, visit

Let us know what you think!
Please be as specific as possible.
Include your name and email if you would like a response back.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the code without spaces and pay attention to upper/lower case.