Friday, November 17, 2017

Poetry Reading and Workshops with Patricia Spears Jones and Diane Wakoski - December 2


The Distinguished Poets Series of the Poetry Center at PCCC presents a reading by Patricia Spears Jones and Diane Wakoski on Saturday, December 2 at 1 pm.

An open reading follows the featured poets. This free event will take place at the historic Hamilton Club Building, 32 Church St. in Paterson.

Poetry workshops, conducted by Jones and Wakoski, are 10 a.m. to noon on December 2 at the same location - pre-registration is required and a workshop fee $20 - contact Smita at sdesai@pccc.edu or (973) 684-6555. Visit www.poetrycenterpccc.com for more information on this and future workshops and readings.

Parking is available at the PCCC lot on College Blvd., between Memorial Dr. and Church St.



Patricia Spears Jones is a Brooklyn-based African American poet and author of A Lucent Fire: New and Selected Poems (White Pine Press) and seven other collections and chapbooks.

She is the 2017 Jackson Poetry Prize winner, a 2016 Pushcart Prize winner, and a recipient of a Barbara Deming Fund award. Her work is included in major anthologies, and two plays commissioned by Mabou Mines, the famed experimental theater company, were produced in New York City.

Patricia is an emeritus fellow for the Black Earth Institute, and has read and led workshops at Poets House, St. Mark’s Poetry Project, and Naropa University.



Diane Wakoski is the author of over 60 published collections of poetry and prose, including Emerald Ice: Selected Poems 1962-1987 (Black Sparrow Press, 1988), winner of the 1989 William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America, which collects poems from her first 16 poetry collections. Her most recent book of poetry is Bay of Angels (Anhinga Press, 2013).

Her honors include: a Fulbright fellowship, a Michigan Arts Foundation award, and grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Michigan Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York State Council on the Arts.

Now retired, Wakoski was Poet in Residence and University Distinguished Professor at Michigan State University 1975-2012.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Maria Gillan Reading at the NYC Yale Club

Maria Gillan will be a featured reader at The Yale Club on November 17. The invitation-only event will be held at the New York City club at 50 Vanderbilt Ave.

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.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Poem: “Bell Bottoms and Platform Shoes"

Maria Mazziotti Gillan was the featured poet today on The Writers Almanac with Garrison Keillor. Her poem,“Bell Bottoms and Platform Shoes,” is from her collection What Blooms in Winter (NYQ Books, 2016)   Listen to Keillor read the poem.










Bell Bottoms and Platform Shoes

A friend sends me a picture of herself
from the 70s—bell bottoms, platform shoes
a patterned button down shirt,
hair puffed up from a perm.

I can see the outline of the person she is now
and she reminds me of myself in the 70s—
married for eight years to a man
I knew I loved the moment I saw him,
two children who seem to me exquisitely
beautiful because they look like my husband
and not me.

The picture reminded me of all those evenings
When I dressed in bell bottoms and silky patterned shirts
and shoes with chunky heels. Those evenings
we’d invite friends over for drinks and conversation,
our children asleep upstairs. Those clothes, the perm
I got, because I wanted to be cool, though my hair
was already kinky, so the perm made me look
like I’d stuck my finger in a light socket.

I look at a picture of us from that time—Dennis and I
standing together at the head of the dining room table,
friends seated around us. Dennis’s face is flushed,
his eyes shining. I wonder if he is tipsy.
He is wearing a fitted shirt with little flowers on it.
I am grinning and looking up at him. I might as well be
wearing a neon sign that says I love you.

Looking back at us. I would like to tell
my younger self—look how fortunate you are,
the man you love beside you, your children sleeping
in their safe beds, your friends around you.
Listen, be grateful for the moments
caught in these photographs,
the world full of possibility,
the sky not yet darkened.




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.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

A Reading Celebrating Paterson Literary Review #45


On Saturday, November 4, there will be a reading featuring contributors to the Paterson Literary Review #45 at the Poetry Center in Paterson. Join the Poetry Center in celebrating 38 years of publishing the Paterson Literary Review (PLR).

Join the Poetry Center in celebrating 38 years of publishing the Paterson Literary Review (PLR) with a reading featuring many contributors to issue #45.

PLR features unpublished work by well-known writers, as well as by writers whose work is so good it should be better known. Poems from PLR have appeared in Best American Poetry and the Pushcart Prize Anthologies. PLR has been chosen by the Library Journal, as one of the ten best literary journals in the country, and, in 2008, PLR was chosen as best journal by the Montserrat Review.

The reading will be Saturday, November 4 at the Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College, Hamilton Club Building, 32 Church Street (corner of Ellison St.) in Paterson, NJ. The reading will begin at 1 PM and is free and open to the public.

For information on this and other poetry events at the Center visit www.poetrycenterpccc.com





Sunday, October 29, 2017

Poetry Reading - Stanley Barkan and Joe Weil November 2

The Montclair Poetry Series will feature Stanley Barkan and Joe Weil on Thursday, November 2 at 7 pm.

Stanley H. Barkan is the editor/publisher of Cross-Cultural Communications, a small literary-arts, non-commercial press, which started as in Institute at LIU’s Brooklyn Center in 1971.  His own work has been translated into 28 different languages and published in 20 collections. He was the 1991 New York City’s Poetry Teacher of the Year (awarded by Poets House and the Board of Education) and the 1996 winner of the Poor Richard’s Award, “The Best of the Small Presses” for “25 years of high quality publishing.” In May 2006, he was invited by Peter Thabit Jones, editor of The Seventh Quarry, to be the first solo featured poet at the Dylan Thomas Centre in Swansea, Wales.




Joe Weil is the award winning author of five full-length books of poetry, four chapbooks, and a CD of songs with Vic Ruggerio, leader of the Ska band, the Slackers. Weil has read on NPR and PBS. He is currently assistant professor at Binghamton University—SUNY. His most recent book of poems is The Great Grandmother Light, Poems new and selected (NYQ Books), and a collaborative book, West of Home (Blast Press) with his wife, the poet, Emily Vogel. Weil lives in Binghamton with his wife and two small children, Clare and Gabriel.


The series is hosted by Laura Boss and Maria Gillan. Readings are held at the Montclair Public Library Auditorium. All readings are free and open to the public and begin at 7 pm. Time allowing, an open reading will follow the featured poets' readings.






For information, contact the library at 973-744-0500

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Poem: " What Isn’t Said Crushes"


What Isn’t Said Crushes
by Maria Mazziotti Gillan

My son tells me that my grandson, Jackson,
never talks about himself or his life.
My mother-in-law used to say
‘the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.’
My son is closed up. I can’t fill in the space
between his words and he cannot say.
He used to tell me everything
when he was still a boy,
but now so much that is hidden,
so many griefs he cannot name.

When my grandson visited me this summer,
when he helped me buy my cherry red Mazda
which is about 25 years too young for me
which I love anyway, he was so quiet.
I kept asking him questions to get him to talk.
“This is like the Inquisition,” he said.
“No,” I told him, “this is how people have a conversation,
how they get to know other people.”
But I think it's only like that for my grandson,
who keeps so many words crushed
into the block box in his chest.
I asked what kind of girl he wanted
and he said “one that was optimistic.”
I heard in his answer a truth he had not spoken before.

I wish I could find the words that would allow my son
to tell me about himself but I know it’s been too long,
this silence, these buried feelings.
I wish he had someone with whom he could share his worries
that he bides in the spaces between words.
I wish he had someone who understood the shadows
in his eyes. He says, “getting anything
out of Jackson is impossible,”
and I can hear under his words how frustrated he feels
as I have felt frustrated when I can't reach him.
How isolated and distant he is, locked up tight.

First published by Rattle

Hear Maria read this poem

About this poem, Maria has said, "I always say I was so shy as a child that I did not speak until I was 24. Writing poetry freed me to speak as I could not in my life. I see my son unable to express his feelings, and I see that my grandson is the same way. I wish that I could give them a magic key like the one that poetry was for me, so that they could share with others who they are and what they want. This poem tries to articulate my love for them and my fear.”



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.