Wintonbury Poetry Series

Spark your creativity, make connections, and share the gift of poetry! The P. Faith McMahon Wintonbury Library offers readings by notable poets and a warm, supportive atmosphere for sharing your own work. Everyone is welcome!

The Wintonbury Poetry Series and Open Mic is held at the McMahon Wintonbury Library on the third Thursday of the month, October – April, at 7:00 PM. Poetry writing workshops are offered in May.

Residents of Bloomfield and surrounding communities are invited to submit their poetry for consideration to appear on the library’s Poetry Sharing Page.

Winter/Spring 2018 Schedule

Thursday, April 19, 7:00 PM

Featuring John Roche

“Poetry from the Land of Enchantment” – featuring Albuquerque poet John Roche.

Poet John RocheJohn Roche now spends most of his time in Albuquerque, where he helps run the Poetry Playhouse with his wife Jules Nyquist and also continues to teach remotely for Rochester Institute of Technology. John and Jules are currently editing a series of issues-themed anthologies called Poets Speak, which include the volumes Trumped, Hers, Water, Walls, and Survival. The first three volumes are in print. John’s first two full-length poetry collections were On Conesus (2005) and Topicalities (2008), both from FootHills Publishing, Kanona, NY. His 2011 poetic memoir, Road Ghosts, is available from theenk Books (through Albuquerque’s Beatlick Press published an anthology of 120 poets called Mo’ Joe (2014), inspired by his Joe Poems: The Continuing Saga of Joe the Poet (FootHills, 2012). Mo’ Joe was a finalist in the 2014 Arizona/New Mexico Book Awards and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He also edited the collection Uncensored Songs for Sam Abrams (Spuyten Duyvil, 2008), co-edited an anthology of poems by inmates at Auburn Prison with Patricia Roth Schwartz, and edited Martha Rittenhouse Treichler’s Black Mountain to Crooked Lake: Poems 1948-2010, with a Memoir of Black Mountain College (FootHills, 2010).


 Thursday, May 10, 6:30-8:00 PM

“FLYING WITH WORDS” Poetry Workshop, presented by Maria Sassi

Giving Free Verse more rhythm and flow by “seeding rhyme and off-rhyme among the lines” and keeping a poem from becoming PROSAIC…choose echoing words that will not deflect from the emotional core of the poem. We will work with prime examples and “word search exercise.” William Carlos Williams said “A poem is a small machine made of words.” True. Our goal is to give “the machine” some music.


Thursday, May 17, 6:30-8:00 PM

“EKPHRASIS POEM” Poetry Workshop, presented by Maria Sassi

Based on a work of art – painting, sculpture, picture – and we will write one, on the spot, in this workshop. Some paintings will be on site for you to work with. A good ekphrasis poem is more than only describing the art but contains the impact, the personal connection, it made with the poet. Its colors, lines, and forms may evoke a face, a rainy road you remember, an old love, or new philosophy. Something will pull you in. We will get there with prime examples and a simple exercise and with your talent too.


Maria Sassi, who was for several years Poet Laureate of West Hartford, is a prize-winning poet and playwright. Her most recent collection of poems is entitled Rare Grasses. Her first poetry collection, Rooted in Stars, is part of The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University. Her chapbook What I See presents ekphrastic poems, three of which have won international poetry prizes: the René Magritte Prize and the Salvatore Dali Prize. Maria’s poems have been choreographed and performed on national television, and she is the author of several plays. Among these is the verse-play “Dreams and Loves of the Septre Family,” which received the Bicentennial Award and was staged at Hartford’s Old State House, and “The Yellow Light,” winner of the One-Act Prize sponsored by the Hartford Stage Company, which produced it in concert. Her prize-winning video, “Five Ocean Poems,” completed with a grant from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, was distributed to public institutions throughout Connecticut. She has also received a grant from the Connecticut Commission on the Arts. For many years Maria taught creative writing with an emphasis on poetry at Hartford College for Women/University of Hartford, and she has hosted poetry events at several venues including the Noah Webster House, Hartford’s Old State House, and the Charter Oak Cultural Center. Her work has been much anthologized and published by many literary journals. She has read at venues throughout the Northeast and at the Poets Library in Edinburgh, Scotland; and she has lectured on the work of many national Poet Laureates. Maria Sassi lives in West Hartford.


Thank you to all of the poets/presenters from the Winter/Spring 2018 season:

  • Luisa Caycedo-Kimura
  • Aaron Caycedo-Kimura
  • Michael Czarnecki
  • Mary Elizabeth Lang
  • Tarn Granucci
  • John Roche
  • Maria Sassi