Literary Arts

POETRY ROCKS!

Poetry Rocks! is a quarterly poetry reading series organized by ACE Artist Member and Vernon Poet Laureate, Pegi Deitz Shea. It is co-sponsored by Arts Center East and the Vernon Arts Commission. In 2017, the then ACE Director, Joan Sonnanburg, approached Pegi about beginning a poetry reading series that would feature Rockville High Schoo’s award-winning poets, early career poets, and established Connecticut poets. Now in its fourth year, Poetry Rocks! has featured numerous poets, including current CT State Poet Laureate, Margaret Gibson, and past CT State Poet Laureate, Rennie McQuilkin. Readings are held on Sunday afternoons at Arts Center East.

POETRY ROCKS HOSTS BLACK POETS LAUREATE

Manchester Poet Laureate Ryan Parker and New London Poet Laureate Emerita Rhonda Ward will read their works at Poetry Rocks, February 12, 3:00 pm, at Arts Center East in Vernon. A student poet from Rockville High School will open the program. Masks are highly recommended, and a $5 donation is much appreciated. To register for the open mic and/or to obtain a zoom link in case of inclement weather, please email pegideitzshea@aol.com.

ACE BOOK CLUB

The ACE Book club is meeting virtually!

Date: Wednesday, February 15, 2023
Time: 1:30pm, via Zoom
Title for Discussion: Out of the Shadows: Voices of American Women Soldiers by Ron Farina

In this sequel to Who Will Have My Back, discover the stories of nine remarkable American women soldiers wounded while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. Based on hours of personal interviews, Out of the Shadows: Voices of American Women Soldiers pieces together the unique lives of these women who served side by side with their male counterparts in war-torn Iraq and Afghanistan.

Out of the Shadows honors the legacy and inconceivable sacrifice of each of these women. This tribute is meant to honor all of America’s women soldiers, their inarguable bravery and heroism-and to lay bare for all the world to see the heart, courage, and sacrifices of the American Woman Soldier.

If you are new to the ACE Book Club and would like to join the February meeting, email info@artscentereast.org prior to the meeting date.

Please read our Book Club discussion guidelines before joining.

SPECIAL EVENTS

Date: January 21, 2023 at 2:00pm
Cost: $35.00 (includes a signed copy of the book)
Registration required

Join us for this special local author event. Ron Farina will read from and talk about his book, Out of the Shadows: Voices of American Women Soldiers.

These are the stories of nine remarkable American women soldiers wounded while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. Based on hours of personal interviews, the book pieces together the unique lives of these women who served side-by-side with their male counterparts in war-torn Iraq and Afghanistan.

There will be a Q&A after the reading, led by Mary Collins.

Ron Farina is author of three books, including most recently “Out of the Shadows Voices of American Women Soldiers,” “Who Will Have My Back,” and “At the Altar of the Past” Other works include; Unsung Heroes, Keeping Promises, and Worn Torn, personal essays about the human cost of war. In 2021 he was awarded the AWP Intro Award for fiction and the Society of Professional Journalists, Connecticut Chapter first place award for General Column Magazine writing. He lives in Connecticut with his wife and two Golden Retrievers, Henry and Preacher.

He holds an MFA from Western Connecticut State University. He served in Vietnam in 1966-1967.

Mary Collins is the Program Coordinator for the Writing Minors at Central Connecticut State University where she had the good fortune to have Ron Farina as a student in a nonfiction writing workshop. She has worked extensively with veterans in the last 15 years and did a community engagement project with students to produce “I Never Thought He Wasn’t Coming Home: A Special 50 Commemoration Story Project” with the CT Veterans’ History Project, which captured stories of Gold Star families who had lost sons in the Vietnam War. In the summers she teaches the nonfiction writing workshop for Yale University’s Summer Program. To learn more about her, visit www.marycollinswriter.com.

Reviews

“These stories are so immediately compelling, it only takes one step and you are inside that world, not as a reader, not as an observer, but there, as one of the soldiers and battle buddies as they face incredible challenges. You can feel the heat, taste the dust, and smell the fear. This is as real as it gets-virtual reality via the written word. Ron Farina’s talent at storytelling is incredible. He pulls you into this world and gives you an insider look at what women soldiers do, think, feel. Their voices are in your head and their stories stay with you.”

-Maj. Gen. Mari Eder, U.S. Army (ret.), former Commanding General of U.S. Army Reserve Joint and Special Troops Support Command

“Ron Farina’s book engagingly captures the narrative of modern American soldiers who served and sacrificed in battle. At times uplifting, and at times heartbreaking, these are real stories of women warriors that must not be ignored. Their experiences and struggles should be a reminder that our country has an obligation to fulfill its promise to honor and support our post-9/11 generation of veterans.”

-Lt. Col. Amy McGrath, USMC (ret.)