Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Poem: At the Factory Where My Mother Worked

At the Factory Where My Mother Worked

Once when I was seventeen, I visited the factory
where my mother worked. It was on the second floor
up a flight of narrow, rickety stairs, and when I opened
the door, the noise of sewing machines slapped my face.

I searched for my mother in the close-packed row
of women bent over their sewing. The floor manager
picked up one of the pieces my mother had finished,
screamed, “You call this sewing?” and threw the coat

on the floor. The tables were lit by bare light bulbs,
dangling down on cords. I had never seen the place
where my mother worked. She thought we should be
protected from all that was ugly and mean

in the grown-up world. “Children should be children,”
she’d say. “They’ll learn trouble soon enough.
We don’t need to tell them about it.” She did not answer
the floor walker. Instead she bent her head over her sewing,

but not before I saw the shame in her face.

by Maria Mazziotti Gillan

This poem appeared in Issue 3 of The Wide Shore: A Journal of Global Women’s Poetry. The Wide Shore (TWS) is a global literary journal dedicated to connecting women’s voices. TWS is committed to publishing poetry that reveals and unearths that which has been hidden, masked, buried, or unexpressed.

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

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Writing Your Way Home Weekend Poetry Retreats

Award-winning poets, Laura Boss & Maria Mazziotti Gillan host their WRITING YOUR WAY HOME poetry weekend intensive retreats twice a year.

The December 2015 was the first held at the Loyola Retreat House—a large and elegant 105-year-old mansion located in Morristown, NJ.  This poetry weekend intensive is open to all writers over the age of 18.  The purpose of this retreat is to give writers the space and time to focus on their work away from the pressures and distractions of everyday life.

At this retreat, poets will find support and encouragement, stimulating writing exercises/prompts leading to the creation of new work and workshop leaders who are actively engaged in the writing life.

Partcipants at the December 2015 weekend retreat

The spring 2016 weekend will return to St. Marguerite’s in Mendham, NJ for Memorial Day weekend, May 27 – 29.

Photos by Anthony Buccino

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

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award Winners Reading This Saturday

The 2015 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award winners will read at the Hamilton Club Building, 32 Church St., Paterson on February 6 at 1 pm.

First prize winners are: Carlton D. Fisher, Watertown, NY, for "The Young Suicide’s World Atlas"; Lisa Coll Nicolaou, Fair Lawn for "My true religion is kindness."

Second prize: Mary Makofske, Warwick, NY, "In My Mother’s Kitchen" and Carole Stone, Verona, "Knowledge."

Third Prize: Gail Fishman Gerwin, "Morristown, A State in Mind" and Donna Baier Stein, Bernardsville, "Cover-Ups."

Free admission and parking at the PCCC lot at Church St. and College Blvd.

Information and list of all the winners and honorable mentions at

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Montclair Monthly Poetry Series This Week

Maria Gillan and Laura Boss present at the Montclair Monthly Poetry Series, Ann Clark, Francesca Maximé & CJ Southworth.

Thursday, February 4 @ 7 PM
Montclair Public Library
50 South Fullerton Avenue
Montclair, NJ 07042

Free. Open Reading to follow

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Poem: It's Been a Week

Listen to Maria read her poem on the Rattle site


… of looking upward, inward, below the surface and back in time.”
—New York Times, D3, May 5, 2013

This year has been a year like that for me, you, already three
years dead and crossed over to that other place where I cannot
touch you, and I left behind looking upward to that place
where I imagined heaven is and where I hope you can feel me
missing you. NASA announces its plans to bring a piece of Mars
back to earth. I’d like to imagine I could bring back some
memento of you, though my friend tells me I have
to let you go. I read about a 23-million-year-old insect
of a previously unknown species found in Europe,
so perfectly preserved in amber that each tiny digit
of the 1.8-inch-long animal is clearly visible,
all its soft tissue intact. Sitting in my recliner now,
in our family room in the evenings, my legs elevated,
my eyes fixed firmly on the TV screen, where I watch
British mysteries, I suddenly have an image
of myself preserved in amber, tears on my cheeks,
the TV remote still solidly positioned in my hand.
What would the scientists of the future make of me?
This chubby woman alone in her silent house, half asleep
in a chair that holds her like a huge brown hand.
They would stare and stare, but how could they know
all the grief and longing that pulsed
below the surface of her skin
and in the chambers of her heart?

Published in Rattle #50, Winter 2015

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

Friday, January 29, 2016

Gillan to Judge Dyer-Ives Kent County Poetry Competition

Maria Mazziotti Gillan will be the judge for the 48th Annual Dyer-Ives Kent County Poetry Competition.

The Dyer-Ives Foundation, a non-profit organization, founded this competition in 1968 to encourage excellence in writing and to provide recognition for local work of high quality.

Open to Kent County, MI residents of all ages.
Open to students attending classes within Kent County, MI, including GVSU.
Also open to students who are residents of Kent County but attend school elsewhere.
Poems accepted FEBRUARY 1 - MARCH 1, 2016

You might have heard a poem or two by Maria on Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac or heard her talk about poetry on NPR or CBS. Maria superb poet, poetry advocate, editor, publisher, and anthologist, Maria Mazziotti Gillan.

Maria Mazziotti Gillan is a recipient of the 2008 American Book Award for her book of poems, All That Lies Between Us (Guernica Editions); she has also received the 2014 George Garrett Award for Outstanding Community Service in Literature from AWP and the 2011 Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award from Poets & Writers--to name only a few. She has published 20 books, including, What We Pass On: Collected Poems 1980-2009 (Guernica Editions, 2010).

She 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.

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

Monday, January 25, 2016

Maria Gillan at Writers on Writing

Maria at Carlow University
Maria Gillan participated in The Madwomen in the Attic "Writers on Writing" workshops at Carlow University, in Pittsburgh PA on Dcember 8, 2015

Sponsored by Carlow University’s English Department, Creative Writing Program, and Women and Gender Studies Program, The Madwomen in the Attic Writing Workshops are semester-long creative writing workshops that are open to undergraduates and community writers. Taught by working writers, these small, supportive, and inter-generational workshops allow participants to develop and strengthen their creative voices in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction.

Over the years, visiting writers such as Tess Gallagher, Maggie Anderson, Marita Golden, Naomi Shihab Nye, Judith Vollmer, Maxine Kumin, and Jean Valentine.

Toi Derricotte, Doralee Brooks, Michael Brooks, Maria Mazziotti Gillan, Jan Beatty

Poet and Carlow professor Jan Beatty directs the workshops, which are taught by working writers which include Beatty, Sarah Williams-Devereux, Joy Katz, Nancy Kirkwood, Nancy Krygowski, Ellen McGrath Smith, Evelyn Pierce, and Anne Rashid.

The Madwomen range in age from early 20s to mid-90s; they range from beginning writers to writers with a number of books to their credit; they are undergraduates, women who have taken care of husbands and families their entire lives and are now “getting to their writing,” women who have never taken a writing class and women who have MFAs in writing from major universities; women who have careers as lawyers, healers, child care workers, visual artists, teachers, therapists. Thought the writers are far-ranging in their interests, backgrounds, philosophies, and aesthetics, they always have at least one thing in common—a love of writing.

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