Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Poem: The Sky in San Mauro


Il cielo a San Mauro

Il cielo a San Mauro diventa color malva
quando si specchia nel Mediterraneo, è così evidente
dai piedi della montagna
su cui mi trovo
l'aria si impregna dell'odore della terra ricca e scura,
degli aromi intensi del rosmarino e della lavanda.

translated by Maria Giovanna Barra



The Sky in San Mauro
by Maria Mazziotti Gillan

The sky in San Mauro turns mauve
over the Mediterranean, visible
at the base of the mountain
on which I stand
and the air rushes past gnarled fig trees
and graceful ones bent like dancers
under the weight of large lemons,
the air fragrant with the scent of dark, rich earth,
the tang of rosemary and lavender.

Standing here looking out over so much open space,
I feel buoyant as if my feet
were no longer bound to the earth. I think

of my ordinary life,
my appointment book so full it is difficult to read,
no time for this incredible stillness,
which I wrap around me now in San Mauro
like a silk shawl,

of my every day, a list of things I must do
until I too am bent, under the weight
of so many people who need me,

of my desk covered in books to be reviewed,
letters to be answered, programs to plan,
so this moment, this blessed moment

when I can breathe in the clean mountain air,
this moment, a salve on burned skin,
this moment, a treasure I will carry with me
to remind me how fortunate I am,
just to pause, to breathe this glorious air.





Maria Mazziotti Gillan's most recent books are the poetry and photography collection, Paterson Light and Shadow  and the poetry collection, What Blooms in Winter . Her collection of poems along with some of her paintings is The Girls in the Chartreuse Jackets . Maria's official website is MariaGillan.com.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Poem: "Jersey Diners"

Wayside Diner - Paterson, NJ

Jersey Diners

All the Jersey diners have vanished, those old silver
rectangles with their counter stools that twirled,
their neon lights, their metal tables and fake leather used.
After we’d go out with a crowd, we’d always end up
at one of those diners, each group wanting to stop
at a different one — West’s diner on Rte. 46 in Little Falls,
Libby's in Paterson, Madison Avenue diner near
Railroad Avenue. Looking back, I see our young faces
lit by the harsh diner lights,

and only from a distance do we know how protected
we were, how we’d mourn the passage of time,
the loss of so many we loved,
the vanishing of these diners, replaced by malls
and shopping centers, hotels, and big box stores,
the diners glowing only in memory, and their tacky
glory, and we, our faces still untouched by grief and loss,
caught and framed in the diner’s windows.

by Maria Mazziotti Gillan

Madison Diner - Paterson, NJ




Maria Mazziotti Gillan's most recent books are the poetry and photography collection, Paterson Light and Shadow  and the poetry collection, What Blooms in Winter . Her collection of poems along with some of her paintings is The Girls in the Chartreuse Jackets . Maria's official website is MariaGillan.com.

Friday, December 8, 2017

High Mountain Meadow Poetry Series

On Sunday, December 10, the Wayne Public Library will host the High Mountain Meadow Poetry Series (formerly the Meta-Land Poets of the Palisades II) at 2 pm in the Meeting Room at 461 Valley Road, Wayne.

The featured poets are Deborah Gerrish and Joseph Weil.

An open mic follows the featured poets and the event is free and open to the public.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Book Celebration Tonight in Montclair

Maria and Mark at the November 30 book party at Passaic County Community College

On Thursday, December 7, Maria Mazziotti Gillan, Mark Hillringhouse and Laura Boss will be the featured poets at a Publications Celebration as part of the Montclair Monthly Poetry Series.

The event will be held at 7 pm at the Montclair Public Library (Auditorium), 50 South Fullerton Avenue, Montclair, NJ. These readings are free and open to the public.

Paterson Light and Shadow (Serving House Books, 2017) tells stories in poetry and photography about Paterson, New Jersey, with poems by Maria Mazziotti Gillan, and fine art photos by Mark Hillringhouse, who together have spent a lifetime growing up, living and working in and around one of America’s most important historic industrial cities.





Also celebrating a new book at the event will be Laura Boss whose poetry collection, The Best Lover, (New York Quarterly Books, 2017) continues her signature style of audacious, irreverent, ironic narrative poems. 

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Maria Mazziotti Gillan, Mark Hillringhouse and Laura Boss in Montclair December 7



Danforth Public Library, Paterson - Photo by Mark Hillringhouse


On Thursday, December 7, Maria Mazziotti Gillan, Mark Hillringhouse and Laura Boss will be the featured poets at a Publications Celebration as part of the Montclair Monthly Poetry Series.

The series is held at the Montclair Public Library (Auditorium), 50 South Fullerton Avenue, Montclair, NJ. These readings are free and open to the public and begin at 7 pm.

Maria Gillan and Mark Hillringhouse are celebrating the publication of their collection Paterson Light and Shadow (Serving House Books, 2017) tells stories in poetry and photography about Paterson, New Jersey, with poems by Maria Mazziotti Gillan, and fine art photos by Mark Hillringhouse, who together have spent a lifetime growing up, living and working in and around one of America’s most important historic industrial cities.

Laura Boss is celebrating her new poetry collection, The Best Lover, New York Quarterly Books, 2017, which continues her signature style of audacious, irreverent, ironic narrative poems. These poems fuse heartbreak, humor and intensity in unflinchingly honest words that explore relationships: both family relationships and lovers. This book examines the grief that follows a long-term relationship, 9/11, internet dating, the randomness of fate and the way choices made or not made affect the course of our lives. Baudelaire said, “the worst sin of poetry is to be boring” - Laura Boss’ poems are never boring.



Maria Mazziotti Gillan is the founder/executive director of the Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College in Paterson, NJ, and editor of the Paterson Literary Review. She is also director of the Binghamton Center for Writers and the creative writing program, and professor of English at Binghamton University-SUNY. She has published 22 books. Her most recent books are the poetry and photography collection, Paterson Light and Shadow  and the poetry collection, What Blooms in Winter . Her collection of poems along with some of her paintings is The Girls in the Chartreuse Jackets . Maria's official website is MariaGillan.com..     Maria's website is mariagillan.com


Mark Hillringhouse is a published poet, essayist, and photographer whose works have been widely exhibited in area galleries. His photography and writing have been published in The American Poetry Review, The Literary Review, The New York Times, The New Jersey Monthly, The Paris Review, and in many other journals, books, anthologies and magazines. He was the founding editor of The American Book Review, and a contributing editor for The New York Arts Journal. Thrice nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and a three-time recipient of a New Jersey State Council on the Arts Fellowship. He has also published Between Frames, a collection of black and white photos and a collection of urban photos, Paterson, that also documents the city. His photography website is mhillringhouse.zenfolio.com


Laura Boss is an award-winning poet. She was a first prize winner in Poetry Society of America’s Gordon Barber Poetry Contest. Laura was the sole representative of the United States at the XXVI Annual International Struga Poetry Readings in Yugoslavia. Awards for her writing also include an American Literary Translators Award and three Fellowships in Creative Writing from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. She received the first International Poetry Award at the International Poetry Festival at Swansea, Wales (sponsored by Cross-Cultural Communications and Seventh Quarry Magazine of Wales). Her collections of poetry include Stripping, the award-winning On the Edge of the Hudson, Reports from the Front, which was nominated for an American Book Award, Arms: New and Selected Work and Flashlight. Laura is the founder and Editor of Lips poetry magazine. Laura's website is laurabosspoet.wordpress.com



         

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Poem: "In Sicily"


Maria Mazziotti Gillan contributed two poems to the inaugural issue of Ovunque Siamo, a new online journal of Italian-American writing.  The journal's goal is "to include a mix of Italian- American voices writing their preoccupations in poetry, essay, short fiction and creative non-fiction pieces. Some are focused on particular aspects of Italian-American life, troubling the relationship with our heritage, a particularly strong one that unites us in many ways, the thread of which runs through our psyches and our daily lives’ in ways that even we, ourselves, find difficult to understand, and yet, there it is."

One of the poems is "In Sicily," from Maria's book What Blooms in Winter.

My 19-year-old grandson gives me his arm, lugs me up
the steps of the bus, helps me up hills and mountains,
his eyes drinking in the beauty of Sicily, its exquisite
flowers, its elaborate churches, its ancient temples
that stand stark against the bright sky.

We sit in cafes together and order
an enormous lemon ice that is served
to us in one of those Sicilian lemons
three times the size of lemons we have at home.
Time slows in the hot afternoon
while we sit shaded by patio umbrellas
and almost purr like cats snoozing
through long afternoons.

When we get to Mt. Etna, my grandson climbs
to the top of the volcano, or as far up
as they’ll allow people to go.
He loves the challenge of the climb,
carries a volcanic rock back to the café
where I wait for him. The guide tells us these rocks
are what make the Sicilian roses
so perfect and perfumed.

When we get home, I push some of these rocks
into the soil around my rose bushes
and watch them bloom,
as though I’d carried Sicily home with me,
the huge Sicilian sky, the mountains,
the people with their tables laden with food
and smiles of welcome,
this place so ancient and unchanging,
so alive with color and light,
whose music calls me back to it again and again,
as though it, and not New Jersey,
were home.




Maria Mazziotti Gillan's most recent book is the poetry and photography collection, Paterson Light and ShadowHer collection of poems along with some of her paintings is The Girls in the Chartreuse Jackets . Maria's official website is MariaGillan.com.