Poets for Change event on Sept. 28 at WCSU

DANBURY, CONN. — Poets, professors, musicians and more will join together at Western Connecticut State University on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013, for the daylong event, “100,000 Poets for Change – Rally Against Gun Violence.” Among those who will participate are current Connecticut Poet Laureate Dick Allen and former Connecticut Poet Laureate Marilyn Nelson.

The event will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Campus Center Ballroom on the university’s Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury. Admission will be free and the public is invited. It is sponsored by the WCSU Master of Fine Arts in Creative and Professional Writing program, the Newtown Action Alliance and the Junior Newtown Action Alliance.

Dr. Brian Clements, coordinator of Western’s M.F.A. in writing program, explained what led to creation of the event.

“More than 30,000 civilians die in the United States every year from gunshots,” he said. “This is an unacceptable state of affairs that has its roots not only in the over-accessibility of guns but also in a culture of violence in our country, the poor state of our mental health care system, and the failure of our educational system to teach empathy. We hope this event will raise awareness on all those fronts and help to replace our culture of violence with a culture of compassion.”

The tentative schedule for the day of readings and performances is:

10 a.m.            Robin Sampson
10:15 a.m.       Neil Silberblatt
10:30 a.m.       Newtown High School students
11 a.m.            Mark McGuire Schwartz
11:15 a.m.       Leslie McGrath
11:30 a.m.       Lisa Siedlarz
11:45 a.m.       Faith Vicinanza
Noon                Ravi Shankar
12:15 p.m.       Music performance TBD
12:30 p.m.       Jeff Schlicht
12:45 p.m.       Bruce Cohen
1 p.m.              Jeff Mock
1:15 p.m.         Margot Schilpp
1:30 p.m.         Jasmine Dreame Wagner
1:45 p.m.         Carolyn Baccaro
2 p.m.              Lynne Paris-Purtle
2:15 p.m.         Vinnie Kmetz
2:30 p.m.         Performance by Don Lowe
2:45 p.m.         Steven Ostrowski
3 p.m.              Gian Lombardo
3:15 p.m.         David Cappella
3:30 p.m.         Carol Ann Davis
3:45 p.m.         Rabbi Shaul Praver
4 p.m.              Lisa Schwartz
4:15 p.m.         Jessica Treat
4:30 p.m.         Performance by Blue Bossa
4:45 p.m.         Lea Graham
5 p.m.              Lori Allen
5:15 p.m.         Marilyn Nelson
5:35 p.m.         Dick Allen


Exact starting times are approximate and subject to change. Attendees are invited to bring lawn chairs, blankets, coolers and picnic lunches. No alcohol will be permitted in the building.

For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page or send an email to clementsb@wcsu.edu.


Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.

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