Monday, September 22, 2014

Review of Gillan's The Girls In The Chartreuse Jackets

The Washington Independent Review of Books recently reviewed The Girls In The Chartreuse Jackets by Maria Mazziotti Gillan which was published by Cat in the Sun Books.

"These poems make up more of Maria Mazziotti Gillan’s rich mythology – growing up in Paterson, New Jersey with her Italian family—her initial wishes to be “other than”—her pride in what she finds as her true self, poet, teacher, curator. Now, visual artist. The “sense of self” is found in the writing with a directness and passion, but made better by paintings, water colors and mixed media, conveying a biography more nuanced and delicate. In both, her keynote is honesty, and a simplicity that can only come from a seasoned artist..."
                              continue reading

Maria's Official Site is at  Her latest publication is the poetry and art collection, The Girls in the Chartreuse Jackets.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Winter 2014 Writing Your Way Home Poetry Weekend Intensive

Poets Laura Boss and Maria Mazziotti Gillan celebrate 22 years of their Poetry Weekends this year. The "Writing Your Way Home Poetry Weekend Intensive" is held twice a year at the St. Marguerite's Retreat House in Mendham, NJ.

The 2014 winter retreat will be held Friday evening through Sunday, December 12, 13, and 14.

This is an excellent opportunity to make space and time to focus totally on your writing in a serene and setting away from the pressures and distractions of daily life. You will find support and encouragement with workshop leaders who are actively engaged in the writing life and from fellow workshop poets.

This writing intensive is open to all writers over the age of 18. Fifteen professional development credit hours are available for teachers.

St. Marguerite's Retreat House (located at the convent of Saint John the Baptist, 82 West Main Street in Mendham, NJ) is set away from the pressures and distractions of daily life on 93 acres of wooded land with pathways (including a labyrinth) that lend themselves to the serene contemplation of nature and nurturing of your creative spirit.

The workshops will concentrate on "writing your way home" and the way writing can save our stories and our lives. 

Maria and Laura view this weekend as a retreat from the noise and bustle of daily life and see this retreat as both a spiritual and creative break from our usual lives.

The setting certainly allows us to take some time to look at life in a new light, to listen for our own voices, create a stillness, in a quiet community of contemplation that welcomes the muse.

Participants arrive before 6 PM on Friday evening, have dinner and settle into their own rooms. That evening, participants will be led into creating new work and after each of the weekend workshop sessions, participants have the opportunity to read their work in the group.

After Saturday breakfast, participants will move into two groups for morning workshops and writing session. There will be free time for socializing and exploring the grounds before lunch. In the afternoon, a third round of writing workshops will take place, followed by time to write.

Each participant will have a chance to sign up in advance with Maria or Laura for one-on-one help with revision.

After dinner on Saturday evening, participants will be invited to read their poems to the group, and the faculty will lead another workshop session on how to get published.

After Sunday breakfast, a fifth and final workshop will be followed by a concluding reading by all participants. The weekend will close with a lunch and last opportunity for socializing and networking.

Participants should bring papers, pens, and the willingness to take some risks. You may also bring previously-written work for one-on-one sessions and for the readings.

The retreat is from Friday evening through Sunday – December 12, 13, and 14, 2014.
St. Marguerite’s is one hour from NYC and accessible by public transportation.
Cost: $425 for room, meals and all workshops.

Late registration will be accepted on a first come, first served basis. Enrollment is limited and we already have registrants, so please sign up as soon as possible.
For additional information, call 973-684-6555 or email
Mail your check, payable to Maria Mazziotti Gillan, to: 40 Post Ave., Hawthorne, NJ 07506 along with your name, address, a day and night phone number and your email.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Maria Gillan To Read With Jan Beatty in San Francisco


Tuesday, September 23, 2014
7:00 PM

653 Chenery Street
San Francisco, CA

Maria Mazziotti Gillan is in California from her home back east for the Petaluma Poetry Walk. 

Her most recent volume of poetry is The Girls in the Chartreuse Jackets, which is illustrated with her watercolor paintings. 

She is a recipient of the 2014 George Garrett Award for Outstanding Community Service in Literature from AWP (Association of Writers & Writing Programs) and the 2011 Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award from Poets & Writers. She received the 2008 American Book Award for her book, All That Lies Between Us (Guernica Editions), and is the Founder /Executive Director of the Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College in Paterson, NJ, and editor of the Paterson Literary Review.

Maria will be reading along with Jan Beatty. Jan’s book, The Switching/Yard, was named by Library Journal as one of …30 New Books That Will Help You Rediscover Poetry. The Huffington Post called her one of ten “advanced women poets for required reading.”

Maria's Official Site is at  Her latest publication is the poetry and art collection, The Girls in the Chartreuse Jackets.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Maria Mazziotti Gillan Reads Poems and Talks About Her Writing

In this video, Maria Mazziotti Gillan talks about her life and reads several of her poems, including "Nighties," "Daddy We Called You".

The recording was made in her office at Binghamton University, SUNY.

Maria's Official Site is at  Her latest publication is the poetry and art collection, The Girls in the Chartreuse Jackets.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Maria Gillan Reading in Petaluma

As part of Maria's California book tour, she will be reading at Copperfield's Books, 40 Kentucky St. in Petaluma, California on September 21 at 3 pm.

The reading is part of the Petaluma Poetry Walk.

Maria will be reading with Molly Fisk. A poet and radio commentator, Molly Fisk lives in the Sierra Foothills where she teaches writing classes online and works as a life coach. Her latest book is Blow-Drying a Chicken, Observations from a Working Poet

Maria Mazziotti Gillan is a recipient of AWP’s 2014 George Garrett Award, Poets & Writers’ 2011 Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award, and the 2008 American Book Award. She is founder/executive director of the Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College, and director of creative writing/professor of English at Binghamton University-SUNY.

Maria's Official Site is at  Her latest publication is the poetry and art collection, The Girls in the Chartreuse Jackets.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Poem: Daddy, We Called You

Maria Mazziotti Gillan's poem, "Daddy, We Called You," has become one of her signature poems and a standard at her readings.

"Daddy" we called you, "Daddy"
when we talked to each other in the street,
pulling on our American faces,
shaping our lives in Paterson slang.

Inside our house, we spoke
a Southern Italian dialect
mixed with English
and we called you "Papa"

but outside again, you became Daddy
and we spoke of you to our friends
as "my father"
imagining we were speaking
of that "Father Knows Best"
T.V. character
in his dark business suit,
carrying his briefcase into his house,
retreating to his paneled den,
his big living room and dining room,
his frilly-aproned wife
who greeted him at the door
with a kiss. Such space

and silence in that house.
We lived in one big room-
living room, dining room, kitchen, bedroom,
all in one, dominated by the gray oak dining table
around which we sat, talking and laughing,
listening to your stories,
your political arguments with your friends,

Papa, how you glowed in company light,
happy when the other immigrants
came to you for help with their taxes
or legal papers.

It was only outside that glowing circle
that I denied you, denied your long hours
as night watchman in Royal Machine Shop.
One night, riding home from a date,
my middle class, American boyfriend
kissed me at the light; I looked up
and met your eyes as you stood at the corner

near Royal Machine. It was nearly midnight.
January. Cold and Windy. You were waiting
for the bus, the streetlight illuminating
your face. I pretended I did not see you,
let my boyfriend pull away, leaving you
on the empty corner waiting for the bus
to take you home. You never mentioned it,
never said that you knew
how often I lied about what you did for a living
or that I was ashamed to have my boyfriend see you,
find out about your second shift work, your broken English.

Today, remembering that moment,
still illuminated in my mind
by the streetlamp's gray light,
I think of my own son
and the distance between us,
greater than miles.

silk worker,
night watchman,
immigrant Italian,
I honor the years you spent in menial work
slipping down the ladder
as your body failed you

while your mind, so quick and sharp,
longed to escape,
honor the times you got out of bed
after sleeping only an hour,
to take me to school or pick me up;
the warm bakery rolls you bought for me
on the way home from the night shift.

the letter
you wrote
to the editors
of local newspapers.

silk worker,
night watchman,
immigrant Italian,
better than any "Father Knows Best" father,
bland as white rice,
with your wine press in the cellar,
with the newspapers you collected
out of garbage piles to turn into money
you banked for us,
with your mouse traps,
with your cracked and calloused hands,
with your yellowed teeth.

dragging your dead leg
through the factories of Paterson,
I am outside the house now,
shouting your name.

Originally published in Things My Mother Told Me (Guernica Editions)

Maria's Official Site is at  Her latest publication is the poetry and art collection, The Girls in the Chartreuse Jackets.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Reading at Barron Arts Center with Maria Mazziotti Gillan

Poetry Reading
Wednesday, September 10, 2014


582 Rahway Ave., Woodbridge, NJ
8 PM      Free

Open Reading to follow

Barron Arts Center: 732-634-0413 or contact: Deborah LaVeglia  908-272-3141

Maria's Official Site is at  Her latest publication is the poetry and art collection, The Girls in the Chartreuse Jackets.