Readers for December 2nd Syllable

20 Nov

Sunday, December 2nd

Little River Restoratives

7:00 pm




Olusanya Bey does not call himself a writer or poet instead he describes himself as a ‘heartist’, “someone who uses his gift with words to remind us of what it means to be human, what it means to be a living breathing work of art”. He Is first and foremost a Mindfulness Practitioner/Coach, trained in the tradition of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. Olusanya serves as a Teaching Artist, teaches Poetry as an introduction to ‘mindful writing’, which he describes as… a means to reconnect with the essence of the writing process, through which you can describe how the world touches you and how you touch the world). He also facilitates workshops in Engaged Mindfulness and the art of BEing HUman. Olusanya has performed poetry and conducted workshops in both mindfulness and poetry across the East Coast, including The University of Connecticut, Watkinson School, Kingswood Oxford, Goodwin College, and Trinity College. He was a member of the first team from Hartford, CT to participate in the National Poetry Slams competition in Seattle, WA, in 2001 (along with Iyaba Ibo Mandingo and our new Poet Laureate Frederick Douglass Knowles). He is also the founder and Yin President of Hartford’s Iron Poet.


alexandria hicks, more commonly known as allie, is a 21 year old poet. she is from east hartford, living in east hartford. allie joined uconn’s poetic release in 2014, and was a member of their performance crew in spring 2015. since leaving uconn, allie has been an active member of the hartford community. she mostly posts her poetry online via instagram, but is working on creating a facebook page.


Iyaba Ibo Mandingo – Painter Poet Actor Performer presents his first collection of poetry celebrating 27 years of writing and resistance.


Readers for October 7 Syllable Series

6 Sep

Sunday, August 5th

Little River Restoratives

7:00 pm



Benjamin S. Grossberg works as Director of Creative Writing at the University of Hartford.  His most recent collections are *Space Traveler* (University of Tampa, 2014) and *Sweet Core Orchard* (University of Tampa, 2009), winner of the Tampa Review Prize and a Lambda Literary Award. A chapbook, *An Elegy,* was published by Jacar Press (2016). His poems have appeared widely, including in the *Pushcart Prize* and *Best American Poetry* anthologies and recently in *Boulevard,* *Ploughshares,* *Southern Review,* and *New England Review.*  A new full-length collection, *My Husband Would,* is forthcoming next year

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Frederick-Douglass Knowles II is a poet, educator and activist involved in community education and the performing arts. His works have been featured in Poems on the Road to Peace: A Collective Tribute to Dr. King Volume 2. Peabody Museum of Natural History by Yale University Press, The East Haddam Stage Company of Connecticut, The 13th Annual Acacia Group Conference at California State University, Folio –a Southern Connecticut State University literary magazine, Lefoko –a Botswana, Southern Africa Hip-Hop magazine, Connecticut River Review and Fingernails Across the Chalkboard: Poetry and Prose on HIV/AIDS from the Black Diasporaby Third World Press. Frederick-Douglass is currently an Associate Professor of English at Three Rivers Community College.  His collection of poetry, BlackRoseCity  was featured at the 2018 Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) is available on



Masquerading as a functional human being Ony. should not be considered a writer. He is a reluctant creator, deploying his limited vocabulary to give voice to the last, the lost, the least, the left out, and looked over. He hopes to one day play the lead role in the Broadway production of Waterworld alongside Angela Basset.

Readers for August 5 Syllable Series

24 Jul

Sunday, August 5th

Little River Restoratives

7:00 pm



Tess Scriptunas is a writer and teacher. She has taught English at the primary level in Figeac, France and English and French at the secondary level in Hartford, Connecticut. Her work has appeared in Volume 1 Brooklyn and The Madison Journal of Literary Criticism.


Donna Fleischer writes in both free verse and Asian-derived forms. Her poems appear in worldwide journals and anthologies, including aglimpseof, Kō, Marsh Hawk Press Review, Modern Haiku, #Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology, On Barcelona, Otata, Otoliths,, Peace Is  a Haiku Song, Solitary Plover, Spiral Orb, and TRUCK. “< Periodic Earth >” from Casa de Cinco Hermanas Press is her fourth chapbook. Donna  posts on poetry, anti-poetry, permaculture, Feminism, and activist environmentalism at her blog, word pond.
Danielle Bonanno is a Brooklyn based screenwriter & poet, who originally hails from the Hartford region. She’s a Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts alum who loves her home city and its arts community! Danielle was part of the Emmy-Award winning writing and producing team behind The Cobblestone Corridor, which originally appeared on CPTV, but is now being shown nationally on PBS/ Her writing has also been produced by The Shrill Collective (NYC) and published by Milk magazine. She’s currently working in collaboration with New York based dancer, Mackian Bauman, on a poetry and movement production entitled “10 Seconds.” Danielle holds an art history degree from Loyola University Maryland.  Along with her writing, Danielle is an actor, disco witch, lover of cheap beer, Baltimore aficionado, and mother of Bruce the cat.
Andrew Altamirano is a freelance writer from Connecticut. He specializes in all types of writing such as: poetry, screen writing, and short stories. His writing style is most notably known for being dark, satirical, and quirky. You can find a collection of his most up to date poems in his first chapbook entitled ‘The Little Beautiful Dark Book’.
alexandria hicks, more commonly known as allie, is a 21 year old poet. she is from east hartford, living in east hartford. allie joined uconn’s poetic release in 2014, and was a member of their performance crew in spring 2015. since leaving uconn, allie has been an active member of the hartford community. she mostly posts her poetry online via instagram, but is working on creating a facebook page.
Music this month provided by “Lake Geneva”!

Readers for June 3 Syllable Series

29 May

Emily Santarsiero

Emily Santarsiero was born & raised in Glastonbury, CT. She grew up on Shel Silverstein & playing dress-up. So naturally, she studied acting & creative writing at Marymount Manhattan College in NYC. Her poems are featured in CT Poetry Society’s, Cardinal House Poetry. Recent performances include The Nasty Women Exhibition in New Haven, and CT’s Speak Up. When she’s not acting or writing, she’s sharing her love for theater with the amazing students of Hartford Performs, & Playhouse on Park in West Hartford. Follow her on “The Gram” for more updates! @emsiero214


Nbs Malay considers herself to be more than just a naturally beautiful and sophisticated woman from Springfield, MA. She believes the many talents she has, including: singing, song-writing, spoken word etc., should be used to provide a message to her listeners, her readers and her supporters. Her long term goal is to open the minds of the unknowing and help people to understand that everyone is not the same person. Through her skills, she hopes to help others gain the ability to accept a person for who they choose to be in society. Nbs Malay is the second oldest out of her mother’s eight children. She noticed her gift in writing when her third grade teacher introduced her to different forms of poetry. The art she created started with just her emotions. When she realized how many people could relate to her, she began to write about any topic that came to her mind. She hopes this new journey on becoming an author will get her voice heard and possibly help to make a difference.


Alissa doesn’t have a writing degree, she doesn’t call herself a poet, and doesn’t necessarily call her writings poems.  She hates labels but will call herself a human being. So with that being said, she’s just trying to understand the world she was placed in and the emotions that come along with that.


Jose B. Gonzalez is the author of the International Latino Book Award Finalist, Toys Made of Rock and When Love Was Reels. His poetry has been anthologized in the Norton Introduction to Literature,  Theatre Under My Skin: Contemporary Salvadoran Poetry and Wandering Song: Central American Writing in the United States. He is the co-editor (with John S. Christie) of Latino Boom: An Anthology of U.S. Latino Literature. He has been a contributor to National Public Radio, and has been a featured presenter at colleges and universities throughout the U.S. and at the Smithsonian Museum of African Art and the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian. He has been featured on the syndicated show, American Latino TV, is a Fulbright Scholar, and is the editor of LatinoStories.Com.


Lindsey Frances Pellino is a poet, animal rescue manager, and hospice worker living in Manchester. Her first collection of poetry HYSTERICAL SISTERS, published by Vegetarian Alcoholic Press on Valentine’s Day of this year, is about fictional and real life women and sisters – including Britney Spears, the twins from the Shining, an Apollo astronaut’s wife, and JonBonet Ramsey. A selection of her Laura Palmer inspired poetry was published by ANON Magazine in their She’s Full of Secrets Twin Peaks zine. She’s also the newly minted host of a poetry open mic series at the speakeasy in Middletown.

Readers for May 6th Syllable Series at Little River Restoratives

3 May


Sasha Debevec-McKenney was born in Hartford and attended the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts. She is a graduate of Beloit College in Beloit, Wisconsin, and will be the Rona Jaffe Graduate Fellow in Creative Writing at NYU this fall.


A Chicago native who was raised in Hartford, CT., Zulynette is an alchemist. As a full-time artist, she does it all – performances, workshop facilitation, mentoring, commissioned work, and producing and directing one-of-a-kind storytelling shows. As a creative change agent, she uses art, poetry, a research background and her MSW as social work tools to inspire others to heal and empower themselves.


Catherine Blinder has written for the Minneapolis Star Tribune (where in addition to the stuff that no one read, she judged children’s crossword puzzles), The Aspen Times, the Greenfield Recorder, the Northampton Gazette, OpEds for the Hartford Courant, and what used to be called the Hog River Journal and is now called something boring, and lots of defunct political magazines. In addition, she was a regular contributor to Northeast Magazine, where among other things, she wrote about commune kids, shooting off fireworks with George Plimpton at Susanna Styron’s wedding, working on Hunter S. Thompson’s first political campaign, running into Julia Child while promoting tofu in Cambridge, young feminists, the sad decline of customer service and anything else they would pay her for.
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Geeno Maurice Gordon is a product of Hartford Connecticut, born and raised in Westbrook Village in Hartford’s Northend.  He has worked and lived in Hartford for over 30 years. He currently resides in West Hartford.  He is the proud father of two children daughter EmmiSoleil Niah Gordon who is 8 and son Yannick Noah Gordon who just turned 14.  He considers himself a closeted poet who only recently began sharing his work. Among his family he’d always been asked to write inspirational poems for family members who have passed away. It was from their encouragement he was inspired to share his work with a broader audience.

Readers for April 8th Syllable Series at Little River Restoratives

15 Mar

Sunday, April 8th

Little River Restoratives

7:00 pm




Julie Sarkissian is the author of a novel, Dear Lucy, published by Simon & Schuster and nominated for the Dylan Thomas Prize. Other writing has appeared in the New York Times, Tin House, and Flavorwire, among other publications. She graduated from Princeton and received an MFA from The New School.  Originally from Southern California, she now lives in Westport, Connecticut, with her husband and two young children, and teaches at the Westport Writers Workshop.


Leah Juliett (they/them) is an outspoken nonbinary and queer writer, speaker, and civil rights activist. Leah is the Founder and Executive Director of The March Against Revenge Porn, an internationally-recognized cyber civil rights campaign fighting against nonconsensual image abuse through media advocacy, federal lobbying, and grassroots organizing. In April 2017, Leah led the first March Against Revenge Porn across the Brooklyn Bridge. Named one of the Top 5 Digital Activists by MTV, Leah has spoken against discrimination and human rights infringements on CNN, BBC, Sky News, Teen Vogue, The Daily Mail, Women’s Health Magazine, Refinery 29 and The Huffington Post.  Leah is a member of the National Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists and has been published by MTV News, Seventeen Magazine, Happiful Magazine, GLAAD, Palm Springs Pride MagazineThe Manifest-Station and the Body Back Project. Leah’s ultimate joys are politics, protest & their partner, Owen.
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Madi B is from Southern CT, and has been reading poetry on and off since childhood. She believes in justice, nature, and poetry as a means of liberation and mutual understanding.
Shannon Hearn is a recent graduate of the University of Connecticut where she studied Journalism and English with a concentration in creative writing. Through her work with the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival, she finds herself employed as a Speakers Representative & Office Manager at the literary agency Blue Flower Arts. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming with 3:AM Magazine, Big Lucks, cream city review, Juked, Heavy Feather Review, and others.
Benjamin Selesnick is a student Northeastern University and a reader at Memoir Mixtapes, an online literary magazine that promotes poetry and creative nonfiction  about music. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The Bitter Oleander, Literary Orphans, Ofi Press Mexico, Fearsome Critters, The Cantabrigian, The Remembered Arts, and others. In 2017, he was the runner-up for the Stony Brook Short Fiction Prize.

Readers for March 4th Syllable Series at Little River Restoratives

25 Feb

Sunday, March 4th

Little River Restoratives

7:00 pm


Melissa Wyse is a fiction writer and essayist. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including The Rumpus,Shenandoah, and Urbanite. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from American University and has been awarded Fellowships and residencies at the McDowell Colony, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the Ragdale Foundation.  She is the recipient of an Individual Artist Ruby Grant, and she serves as the Writer in Residence at the Pomfret School. Melissa is the founder and director of the Idlewild Writers Retreat, which holds its annual writers retreat here in Connecticut each autumn. She is currently completing a collection of linked short fiction set in World War II Hawaii titled Moon Over Sand Island.

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Kate Monica is a technical writer living in Boston. Her poems have been featured in Potluck MagHobartThe QuietusHart House ReviewSouvenir LitAlien Mouth, and others. Her first collection of poems, Nervous Universe, was released by Electric Cereal in 2015. She drinks 30 cans of La Croix a day. She does not know how to pronounce La Croix.

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Michael Augustine Jefferson is a Pushcart nominated poet that has watched the movie, “Blackfish” at least 8 times.

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Readers for Feb 11th Syllable Series at Little River Restoratives

11 Feb

Sunday, Feb 11th

Little River Restoratives

7:00 pm


Erin Fitzgerald is Online Editor at Barrelhouse. Her work has appeared in Okey-PankyThe RumpusAtticus ReviewSalt HillHobart, and other fine literary publications. Her novella about an Internet catfish, Valletta78, is available from Outpost19 Books. She lives in New Milford, where she’s seen Rob Zombie buy Halloween decorations at Walmart.


Born in New Britain Connecticut and raised by a machinist and a waitress, Jason Labbe received his MFA from the University of Virginia as a Henry Hoyns Fellow. He is the author of a full length collection of poems, Spleen Elegy (BlazeVOX, 2017), and a handful of chapbooks, including Blackwash Canal (2011) and Dear Photographer (Phylum Press, 2009). His poems and prose appear widely in such publications as PoetryBoston ReviewA Public SpaceConjunctionsColorado Review, and DIAGRAM. Jason Labbe has taught writing at the University of Virginia, the University of Connecticut, and Southern Connecticut State University. Also a drummer and recording engineer, he has worked with many artists in New England and New York City. He splits his time between Bethany, Connecticut and Brooklyn, New York.


Thomasina Levy, was Connecticut State Troubadour for 2005 and 2006. She is a poet and award winning musician whose performances weave together the best of traditional and contemporary folk music. Her studies as a Facilitator of Music Improvisation reaffirm her belief that music is in each one of us and just waiting for the right time to emerge. She uses music, poetry and art to help students of all ages discover their own creative spirits. Thomasina is a Teaching Artist Mentor who helps fellow artists, educators, schools and museums incorporate the arts into their programs. Her music has been aired in over twenty countries across the globe. Described as a charismatic performer, she touches audiences with a simplicity, humanity, and strength drawn from the deep roots of the folk tradition. Her poem, “Evensong” was published with Connecticut Poet Society. Her found word poem, “Gasconading Bluster”, will be included in “Unlocking the Word,” a 2018 anthology edited by Dr. Jonas Zdanys.

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Readers for January 7th Syllable Series at Little River Restoratives

12 Dec

Sunday, January 7th

Little River Restoratives

7:00 pm


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Hanif Abdurraqib is a poet, essayist, and cultural critic from Columbus, Ohio. His first collection of poems, The Crown Ain’t Worth Much was released in 2016 and was nominated for the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award. His first collection of essays, They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us, was released in fall 2017 by Two Dollar Radio.


Benjamin Woodard is a writer and English professor living in Connecticut. He is also Editor-in-Chief at Atlas and Alice. His recent fiction has been featured in New South, WhiskeyPaper, a
nd Hobart. Find him at

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Abi Rodriguez: A Capital student, and veteran; so far have three books of poetry (and prose) published.  As a writer I’ve amassed an extensive portfolio of writing; from books to stage and screen plays, a musical, songs of different genres, and other work. I’ve lived in and around Hartford for 18 years now and call it home.
In past events I’ve spoken about my life and the 20 years of writing which is now culminating into the realization of many youthful dreams I once had.
I enjoy interacting with and taking questions from audience members, and having them choose excerpts from my books. The events have been fun and inspiring for myself and the readers.


Chad Browne-Springer: When I was younger I played Elton John’s “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” music video next to a live performance of the tune and I was taken back by have close in proximity he sounded live to his recordings. I thought that I could do what he did/does. My little homie Beck (the pedal) and I have been at it for a over a year, a bit longer than the band I’m in ​- ​Phat A$tronaut. Really I’ve just gotten better with understanding the relationship between Beck and I, pure transparent communication. In my head what I do is very simple, just notational stacking in accordance to the energy of the moment being made/obtained/sustained. B​ecoming more comfortable with self and the tools I have in my tool shed as an extension of the self.

Readers for December 3 Syllable Series at Little River Restoratives

21 Sep

Sunday, December 3rd

Little River Restoratives

7:00 pm


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Poet, songwriter, and Emmy Award nominee, Susanna Rich performs her one-woman musical Shakespeare’s *itches: The Women Talk Back and is the author of three poetry collections:Surfing for Jesus; Television Daddy; and The Drive Home. Visit at

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Rand Richards Cooper is the author of The Last to Go and Big As Life.His fiction has appeared in Harper’sGQ, Esquire, The Altantic, and many other magazines, and in Best American Short Stories. He has been Writer-in-Residence at Amherst and Emerson colleges. A longtime writer for Bon Appétit and the New York Times, and a former blogger for, Rand lives in Hartford with his wife and daughter. He is a Contributing Editor at Commonweal Magazine and writes a monthly column, “In Our Midst,” for Hartford Magazine.

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Yelizaveta P. Renfro is the author of a collection of essays,Xylotheque, winner of the 2014 Sarton Memoir Award and a finalist for the 2015 WILLA Women Writing the West Award, as well as a collection of short stories, A Catalogue of Everything in the World, winner of the St. Lawrence Book Award. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Glimmer Train Stories, North American Review, Creative Nonfiction, Orion, Colorado Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, South Dakota Review, Witness, Reader’s Digest, Blue Mesa Review, Parcel, Adanna, Fourth River, Bayou Magazine, Untamed Ink, So to Speak, and elsewhere. She holds an MFA from George Mason University and a Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska. Currently a resident of Connecticut, she’s also lived in California, Virginia, and Nebraska. She has taught writing at UCLA Extension Writers’ Program, Westfield State University, George Mason University, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and the Mark Twain House.


Danusha Goska is a recipient of a New Jersey State Council on the Arts Grant, and a Stephen King Haven Grant. Her book, “Bieganski: The Brute Polak Stereotype” won the Polish American Historical Association Halecki Award. Her book “Save Send Delete” was inspired by her relationship with prominent atheist Michael Shermer. Her new book “God through Binoculars: A Hitchhiker at a Monastery” will appear in 2018.

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Christine Kalafus is a writer, storyteller, editor and teacherHer recently completed memoirBlueprint for Daylight, a funny and heartbreaking story of infidelity, cancer, colicky twins, and the flood in her basement, won the Sarah Patton Stipend Award for non-fiction this June in NYC. Her essays have been published in PAGEThe Writer in the World, and Woven Tale Press. “Horses,” Christine’s experimental poem of loss, is presently a finalist for the Knightville Poetry Award and will be published in the 2018 issue of The New Guard.


For fun, she performs stories to live audiences. “I Hear You Make Cakes,” performed at Laugh Boston, was selected by The Moth for its national podcast.


Christine lives in the Quiet Corner of Connecticut in an old farmhouse that needs her.

…. Check back for more readers!

Many of our December readers will be reading works from a new collection– information below!


Two-Countries: U.S. Daughters and Sons of Immigrant Parents.

An anthology of Flash Memoir, Personal Essays and Poetry from over sixty-five contributors.

Published by Red Hen Press.

Available now for pre-order at a reduced price on Amazon and Barnes and Nobel.

Read more about Two-Countries on the Red Hen Press site at

Read more about the editor at