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this one has no name
A friend of mine told me that meaningful culture is passed along in small settings. Narrative and poetry reflect this. Intimate acts require a speaker and an active Listener/reader. Telling and hearing stories and poems are what make us human. They help give shape to our experience. In giving voice to ideas and emotions through images and language, writers hope to better understand the world and themselves. Writers offer a way of seeing and feeling that is both uniquely contemporary but also speaks to the timeless soul of the human condition. The no name writers group has a rich, decades- long history in the literary life of Washington, Connecticut. Contributing poet Davyne Verstandig explained, “Over 30 years ago I was invited to the home of Susan Tidyman (her husband was the author of The French Connection). Each year she gave a party to celebrate Edna St. Vincent Millay’s birthday. Susan invited a number of women to the party and a man — Robley Whitson. She sent Edna’s sister Nora a bouquet of flowers and called her on the phone. Then we all ate and drank and read some of our poems. Nan Malone, one of the early members was also at that celebration. A few days later Robley mentioned that it was too bad we’d have to wait another year to get together and read what we wrote. We decided to start meeting at the Hickory Stick Bookshop with a few friends, and so it began.” Comprised of an eclectic mix of poets, novelists, short story writers, performers, essayists, and visual artists, the configuration of the group has shifted gradually over time, with meetings held in a variety of settings. In spite of this seemingly amorphous identity, the writers are a firmly established presence in Connecticut’s northwest hills where they frequently stage readings, perform in coffee houses, or partner in artistic collaborations. The group decided not to label itself beyond the No-Name Writers Group. They preferred the breadth of their writing to create the group’s identity. Despite its inconspicuous name, the
group’s mission remains driven by its vitality of ideas. The members of the No Name Writers Group have come together in different ways and for different reasons. Like many of the contributors to this volume, Merima Trako, who describes herself on her website as a mom, engineer, ex- refugee, writer, has found a home in the group. “I am here, meeting with people, like me, who have stories to share. They want to be heard,” Merima said. “Our collective writing is an echo of the souls that need companionship, an affirmation, that we matter, that somehow our writing talents are not alone and hidden under our ‘real lives’. All of us are stuck in this duality, this existence that transforms what our ‘normal selves’ are, to something that our deepest truths want to reveal. In this group of writers I feel that I found soul mates for the part of me that never quits writing. We create our own identity through companionship, laughter and appreciation for each other’s work.” Nan Adams, a No Name Writer who has since passed away, wrote in the introduction to the group’s 2010 anthology, Songs of the Marrow Bone, “The group has convened in a town hall, committee room, in the lobby of a real estate office, and in various people’s houses.” They’ve also met at The Pantry, a local restaurant. Currently they meet at the Hickory Stick Book Shop in Washington Depot, where owners Fran and Michael Keilty graciously offer the store after hours. The culmination of the last year’s writing and meetings is reflected in the prose and poetry they’ve selected for This One Has No Name. It is my hope this book will introduce readers to the rich and varied voices grounded in community. Through the power of their work, I hope you will be able to identify with them and with some part of yourself you might not have known existed. This introduction has been a collaborative effort, reflecting the way we respect and honor one another’s ideas. Tom Lagasse 2016
Poetry and fiction by the members of the Washington, CT-based writers' group