The Central Connecticut State English Department in conjunction with the Connecticut Literary Festival is pleased to present the 2020 and 2021 CT Literary Anthology: fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry by Connecticut writers. Thank you to all the writers, editors, and readers who have supported the publication.

The anthology was generously supported by an anonymous donor grant, which was administered by the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.

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Culled from over 400 submissions, the 2021 edition of the Connecticut Literary Festival Anthology offers a lush bouquet of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry that readers are sure to relish. Within its pages, I found new works by writers I have long admired: Chris Belden, Lary Bloom, Ken Cormier, Margaret Gibson, Raouf Mama, and Bessy Reyna. Just as enjoyable is the work of writers who are, for me, new discoveries. The literary arts are alive and well here in the Constitution State. This collection is ample proof. —Wally Lamb

Download the 2021 Reader’s Guide. Terrific for book and school groups. Discussion questions and writing prompts.

Executive Editor: Jotham Burrello
Genre Editors: Christopher Morris, Mackenzie Ozycz, Cecilia Gigliotti, Anna Christiano
Guest Editors: Colin Holston, Jose Gonzalez, Sonya Huber
Readers: Janay Wynter, Claire Hibbs-Cusson, Danny Contreras, Daria Washington, Marina Capezzone, Julia Wnuk
Production Coordinator: Kristiana Torres

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Anthology Introduction

Nonfiction

Raggies: A Natural History by Kathryn Fitzpatrick
The Place I Always Dream About by Amanda Parrish Morgan
Intersection by Victoria Buitron
Birdland by Regina S. Dyton
How to Sell a Used Subaru by Lary Bloom
You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby by Holly Carignan
Finding Dylan Thomas by Thomas Cowen
Look Inside a Woman for the World by Christine Kalafus
The Archaeology of Memory, Part II: The (Re)-Creation of Memory by Jason Courtmanche
Birds by Kethry Bentz

Poetry

Lazybones Blues by Margaret Gibson
Indigo Insomnia by Monica Ong
The Arrogances by Benjamin S. Grossberg
Dear Future Daughter by Nora Holmes
In the Time of Sonic Booms by B. Fulton Jennes
At Innisfree Garden by Bessy Reyna
Demeter’s Other Children by Sean Frederick Forbes
Some Questions You Might Ask About the Universe by Christine Beck
Sweet Spot by David Cappella
I Say Pick a Side by Z’Jahniry Coleman
Professional Harpist by Julie Choffel
Inheritance by Kelly de la Rocha
Scenes from an Italian American Bridal Shower by Kenneth DiMaggio
I Want That, Let Me Get It by Brittany Walls
Daughter Sic Transit by James Finnegan
Little Women by Cathy Fiorello
The Pages Are So Beautiful, We Touch Them Twice by Amy L. Nocton
Rituals by Victoria Nordlund
Matryoshka Doll by Lorraine Riess
Love Letter from the House Plant to the Tea Kettle by Samantha Schwind
Reflections on a Closed Border by Wendy Tarry
The Movie World by Daniel Donaghy

Fiction

When It’s You by Christopher Torockio
Milk Teeth by Mackenzie Hurlbert
Wicked Blues by Crystal D. Mayo
Pain Management by Chris Belden
Morning Session by Ken Cormier
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner by Beth Gibbs
Sonder by Meghan Evans
The Good Samaritan by Raouf Mama
Not the Kiss by Candace Barrington
Dream Police by Anthony D’Aries

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It feels like we have become unglued from one another since March of 2020; masked strangers passing each other in anonymity. But this anthology glues us back together and helps us find ways to heal and talk with one another. Important stories are told, and we should heed them. Lisa Comstock, Director for Connecticut Center for the Book
This anthology brings together poets, fiction writers, and essayists to create a snapshot of the rich and varied work being done in the Nutmeg State. The voices in this anthology offer us a mirror of our times, reflections of other times, and meditations on the state of our hearts. Readers looking for evidence of Connecticut’s vibrant literary community will find it here. —Sarah P. Strong, The Mouth of Earth

Anthology Reader’s Guide. Central Connecticut State University English Department faculty wrote the guide. It includes study questions and writing prompts on twelve pieces published in the 2020 anthology. The guide was designed for educators, librarians, and book groups. Click to Download the Anthology Guide.

Executive Editor: Jotham Burrello
Genre Editors: Kristiana Torres, Kathryn Fitzpatrick, Shayna Shattelroe
Guest Editors: Colin Holston, Lucy Ferriss, Ines Rivera
Readers: Janay Wynter, Marx Chiriboga, Andrew Jacobs, Ariella Ozuna Mendoza, Claire Hibbs-Cusson, Conor Breen

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Anthology Introduction

PANDEMIC: A LOVE POEM IN FOUR PARTS
poem by B. Fulton Jennes

BEYOND THE SEA
essay by Marina Tinone

SUNFLOWER MAZE
poem by Benjamin S. Grossberg

MARY JOHNSON OF WETHERSFIELD, CONNECTICUT, HANGED FOR WITCHCRAFT, 1648
poem by Vivian Shipley

ADMIRAL IASKO DREAMS OF THE SEA
fiction by Mika Taylor

MOM WAITING FOR THE BUS ON THE CORNER OF PAVILION AND MAIN
poem by Melissa McEwen

CHARLOTTE
poem by José B. González        

MULLING SPICES
poem by Sitara Gnanaguru

A SINKING FEELING
essay by Makenzie Ozycz

RADAR
poem by Cecilia Gigliotti

FAIR LAWN, NEW JERSEY: 1997
poem by Katherine A. Szpekman

WELCOME ABOARD THE GARRETT BRIGGS CAMPAIGN
fiction by Kathryn Fitzpatrick

OLD MAN WINTER
essay by Avery Jenkins

SEASON OF GHOST APPLES
poem by Ginny Lowe Connors

WAYWARD IN THE BLOOD
poem by Steven Ostrowski

FINAL REGARDS FROM THE BROTHERS
essay by Jean P. Moore

1-800-555-MARY
fiction by Beth Gibbs

CHILDREN OF LIR
poem by Nichole Gleisner

A WEDDING
poem by Susan Cinoman

RENDEZVOUS
essay by Charles Belson

SAWDUST
poem by Claudia McGhee

HOLD THE SUN
poem by Maura Faulise

DEAD LETTER
fiction by Jason Wilkins

AFTER THE PROTEST
poem by Wendy Tarry      

AFTER THE PARTY
fiction by Meghan Evans

WRITING HOME
essay by Aimee Pozorski

HONORING HER LIGHT
poem by Kiran Masroor

CUTTING MY HEART OUT WITH A BUTTER KNIFE
poem by Sarah Darer Littman

TRANSPLANTED
essay by Janet L. Bannister

THE ELEVATOR
poem by Catherine DeNunzio

REQUIEM FOR A FIREFLY
poem by Kara Molway Russell

MOON ON A HALF SHELL
poem by Joanie DiMartino

ANGELS AND DEMONS
essay by Amy Sisson

EPIPHANY
poem by Jason Courtmanche

LINES COMPOSED MANY MILES FROM TUSCON
poem by Emi González

FOR THE LOVE OF LINEN
essay by Nancy McMillan

The Connecticut Literary Festival is an annual celebration of the literary arts hosted at Real Art Ways in Hartford. Join us online this Fall to celebrate the vibrant literary scene in the Nutmeg state.