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.

Fall 2018 Schedule

Thursday, October 18, 7:00 PM

Zen Suite, a Meditation in Poetry and Song
featuring Garrett Phelan and Denys Candy

Denys and Garrett have been practicing Zen Meditation in the Plum Village tradition for over 20 years. They were ordained by Thich Nhat Hanh as lay members of the Tiep Hein Order. Denys and Garrett met through the practice of Zen meditation and discovered that their artistic passions complemented each other. They experienced their songs and poems as a kind of call and response, which led to the collaboration that became Zen Suite, a Meditation in Poetry and Song. An earlier version of Zen Suite was presented at the Smith College Poetry Center in 2016.

poet Garret PhelanGarrett Phelan is the author of the poetry book Outlaw Odes (2015), and micro-chapbooks Unfixed Marks (2014) and Standing where I am (2016). His poems have appeared in a variety of publications including English Journal, Potomac Review, Word Riot, Off the Coast and the Ekphrastic Review. He is a Pushcart Prize nominee and recently was selected third place for 2018 Nutmeg Award judged by Ocean Vuong. Garrett is Teaching Artist who presently teaches poetry in West Hartford’s LifeLearn Continuing Education program and in one of Connecticut’s maximum security prisons.

musician Denys CandyDenys Candy is Director of the Jandon Center for Community Engagement at Smith College. He views artistic practice as an essential part of his career working to bring about beautiful and equitable communities. His recorded work includes Six Song Suite (2005), and Dharma Rain (2007). In addition to working as a solo artist he has recorded and performed across the Northeast with the bands Inish, Loch Gill and Ploughman’s Lunch. Along with Zen practice Denys’ songwriting reflects his exploration of home and the migrant experience. A native of Ireland, he was born in Sligo town and grew up in Dublin.


Thursday, November 15, 7:00 PM

Two Women Poets of Diverse Talents
featuring Eileen Albrizio and Leslie McGrath

poet Eileen AlbrizioEileen Albrizio is a former ABC and NPR radio news host and journalist. During her tenure, she earned numerous first-prize honors for her news and features from the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists. She’s a graduate of the CT School of Broadcasting and has earned a BFA in Theatre and an MA in English. She is the author of numerous volumes of short literature, which include poetry, plays, and short stories. Her debut novel The Windsome Tree: A Ghost Story has received much critical acclaim. Her book of shorts, The Box Under the Bed, won the 2015 Paranormal Poetry and Prose Prize. She’s a two-time recipient of the Greater Hartford Arts Council fellowship for poetry. A freelance creative writing teacher, she’s taught at conferences and institutions across the Northeast, including at the York Correctional Institute, CT’s maximum-security prison for women. She will be teaching an eight-week novel-writing class as part of the Wethersfield Adult Education Program, beginning in September. She and her husband Wayne Horgan have owned and operated Heroes & Hitters, a comic book store in Rocky Hill, CT, since 1989. For more about Eileen, visit or her Facebook page.

poet Leslie McGrathLeslie McGrath has been called “an oral historian of the alienated” by critic Grace Cavalieri. An Essex resident, many of her poems are set in Connecticut and are often concerned with the lives of women and the dignity of the mentally ill.  She is the author of two full-length poetry collections, Opulent Hunger, Opulent Rage and Out from the Pleiades, and two chapbooks. McGrath’s third collection, Feminists Are Passing from Our Lives, has recently been published. Winner of the Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry and the Gretchen Warren award from the New England Poetry Club, her poems and interviews have been published in Agni, Poetry magazine, The Academy of American Poets, The Writer’s Chronicle, and The Yale Review. She has been awarded residencies at Hedgebrook and the Vermont Studio Center, as well as funding from the Connecticut Commission on the Arts and the Beatrice Fox Auerbach Foundation. McGrath teaches creative writing at Central CT State University and is series editor of The Tenth Gate, a poetry imprint of The Word Works Press.


Thursday, December 20, 7:00 PM

“Poems of the Heart, Poems of the Mind”
featuring Tony Fusco and Elizabeth Kincaid-Ehlers

Tony FuscoTony Fusco is Co-President of the CT Poetry Society. He has a Master Degree in Creative Writing from Southern Connecticut State University. He was the editor of Caduceus, the anthology of the Yale Medical Group Art Place and past editor of The Connecticut River Review. His work has appeared in many publications and journals including Encore, Theodate, the Patterson Literary Review, the Red Rock Review, the Southern Review, Louisiana Literature, the South Carolina Review and the Connecticut Review. Tony is the owner proprietor of Flying Horse Press which is currently publishing books of poetry.  His latest book is Extinction, 2018, His others are Java Scripture, 2014, Droplines, 2009, which is together with Jessie’s Garden, 2003, both serious and humorous, it features poems about his youth, West Haven, Savin Rock and Allingtown Connecticut. His major influences and favorite poets are Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Carl Sandberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and Robert Frost.

Elizabeth Kincaid-Ehlers moved to Connecticut in 1979 to be Visiting Writer-in-Residence at Trinity College for one year. She came to like living in Connecticut so much during an extension of her contract that, when it ended, she went back to school and retrained as a psychotherapist in order to stay in the state. During her years of additional studies, she taught at the Hartford branch of the University of Connecticut and participated in the state’s Writer- in-the-Schools Program. Elizabeth was born in Michigan and, after spending part of her growing-up years in Georgia, came back north to earn her B.A. at the University of Michigan in 1955. Throughout the following years, because of her husband’s peregrinations, Elizabeth began many M.A. programs, only to have to abandon credits and move on. At last the family, which, by then, included two sons, stayed still long enough for her to earn an M.A. at the University of Illinois. After a move to Rochester, New York, and the birth of two more sons, the marriage ended. Elizabeth then went on the earn a Ph.D. at the University of Rochester in 1978. During those years she continued to teach and write. Since the mid-1980s, Elizabeth has maintained a private practice as a psychotherapist, all the while writing, giving poetry readings, and, occasionally, teaching. Three sons and their families live in the area, along with seven grandchildren. For them, she is constantly grateful. Furthermore, for love of them, she intends to stay put.