Friday, January 30, 2015

The Girls in the Chartreuse Jackets Reviewed in L'Italo-Americano

Maria Mazziotti Gillan's latest book, The Girls in the Chartreuse Jackets, was recently reviewed by Kenneth Scambrayin in L'Italo-Americano.

After eighteen books of poems, two national book awards, and an outstanding Community Service in Literature award, Maria Gillan has reinvented herself as a painter. The Girls in the Chartreuse Jackets is a collection of her poems accompanied by her expressive water color and mixed media paintings.

Her poems are on familiar themes that run throughout her poetry: growing up Italian in New Jersey at mid-century, family, women’s roles, marriage, mortality, and love. The glue that holds the paintings and the poems together is Gillan’s ever-evolving imagination. Two years ago when she was in California on a reading tour, she explained to me and Carole, my wife, over dinner one evening that she had begun painting again, after a hiatus of many years. At first she said she felt tentative working in a new art form, until someone said to her, “Just paint what you feel, the way you write your poems.”

In one of her poems she writes about an old family photograph of herself and her two siblings. There she is, she writes “my eyes wide open and sparkling. I’m not pretty, but I look / electric, like I can’t wait to move, to get on with it, my energy / palpable even in a photograph.” That’s the sense that I had when I began turning the pages of The Girls: that I was in the presence of a poet and now an artist overflowing with energy and who is naturally compelled to create, to keep getting on with it no matter where the heart takes her...

In the paintings, Women Around the Kitchen Table, Women and Doves, Women with Starry Eyes, Woman with Pink Dress and Flowers, and Woman in Blue Hat and Butterflies, there is a celebration of womanhood, their collectivity and connectivity.

In "My Mother Had No Cookbooks," she writes of her return to her mother’s village in Southern Italy, San Mauro, where there she finds the same dishes that her mother prepared in Paterson: “Ah, my mother was an artist, San Mauro in each movement / of hands, San Mauro in homemade bread, San Mauro in polenta / steaming in its bowl, San Mauro in stuffed artichokes, San Mauro in ragù with tomatoes she canned each summer. . . .” She celebrates her connection to her Southern Italian heritage that has always been present in her life through her mother’s artistry in the kitchen, a creativity impossible to reproduce, certainly not in a cookbook.

The Girls in the Chartreuse Jackets is a celebration in poems and paintings, in words and colors, of women’s lives, not their social roles but their less obvious interior lives, their compassion, empathy, humanity, and even ambivalence. In Gillan’s poems, the passage of time is at best problematic, but a look back at her past reveals the community of immigrant women who made her success possible. Boundaries were never barriers, not when the imagination is set free. Gillan just writes and paints what she feels.
                      continue reading

Maria's Official Site is at  

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Maria Mazziotti on Her First Published Poems

Maria Mazziotti Gillan writing about her first published poem, and about realizing what it was she really needed to be concerned with in her poetry. 

(from the introduction to her Greatest Hits 1972-2002)

You can read "Betrayals" and other poems by Maria online on this blog.

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

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Paterson Poetry Prize Book Award Submission Deadline is February 1

The Paterson Poetry Prize of $1,000 is given annually by the Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College to a book of poetry (48 pages or more) published in the previous year with a minimum press run of 500 copies.

Each book submitted must be accompanied by an application form and publishers may submit more than one book for prize consideration.

Two copies of each book should be sent to:
Maria Mazziotti Gillan, Executive Director
Passaic County Community College
One College Boulevard
Paterson, NJ 07505-1179

Books entered in the competition will be donated and added to The Poetry Center Library at Passaic County Community College. Books cannot be returned.

Books must be postmarked or received in the Poetry Center by February 1, 2015 to be considered for the prize.

Winners will be announced in Poets & Writers magazine and on the Poetry Center website.


Billy Collins, Aimless Love: New and Selected Poems (Random House, New York, NY)

On May 9, 2015, Billy Collins will read at the Poetry Center in Paterson, NJ.

Valerie Bandura, Freak Show (Black Lawrence Press, Pittsburgh, PA)
Daisy Fried, Women’s Poetry: Poems and Advice (University of Pittsburgh Press , Pittsburgh, PA)
Jonathan Gillman, My Father, Humming (Antrim House, Simsbury, CT)
Rachel McKibbens, Into the Dark & Emptying Field (Small Doggies Press, Portland, OR)
Jose Antonio Rodriguez, Backlit Hour (Stephen F. Austin State University Press, Nacogdoches, TX)
Charles Simic, New and Selected Poems 1962—2012 (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, New York, NY)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Montclair Poetry Series Will Feature Adele Kenny and Peter Murphy

On Thursday, February 5, the Montclair Monthly Poetry Series will feature Adele Kenny and Peter Murphy. The series is at the Montclair Public Library auditorium (50 South Fullerton Ave.,Montclair) at 7 pm. The series is free and open to the public. An open reading will follow.

Peter E. Murphy is the author of Stubborn Child, a finalist for the 2006 Paterson Poetry Prize, and three poetry chapbooks, Thorough & Efficient, Mr. Nobody and Atlantic City Lives (Forthcoming in 2015).

Peter's essays and poems have appeared in The Atlanta Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, The Green Mountains Review, The Journal, The Lindenwood Review, The Literary Review, The Little Patuxent Review, Rattle, Witness and elsewhere. His unique poetry writing assignments have been collected in Challenges for the Delusional.

He is a consultant to organizations including Arts Horizons, the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, the Philadelphia Arts in Education Partnership and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and has been an educational advisor to Fooling with Words with Bill Moyers and other PBS poetry programs.
Peter has received awards and fellowships from The Atlantic Center for the Arts, Yaddo, The Folger Shakespeare Library, the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars and the New Jersey Council on the Arts. Retired from Atlantic City High School, he continues to teach poetry writing at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. He is also the founder of Murphy Writing of Stockton College which offers the Winter Poetry & Prose Getaway, Inservice Solutions Professional Development and other programs for poets, writers and teachers.

Adele Kenny is the author of 23 books (poetry and nonfiction). Her poems, reviews, and articles have been published worldwide, and her poems have appeared in books and anthologies published by Crown, Tuttle, Shambhala, and McGraw-Hill. She served as associate editor of The Antiquer: Fine Art & Antiques from 2000-2005 and has been poetry editor of Tiferet Journal since 2006.

Adele is the recipient of various honors and awards, including poetry fellowships from the New Jersey State Arts Council, a Merton Poetry of the Sacred Award, first place Merit Book and Henderson Awards, a Writer's Digest Poetry Award, and the 2012 International Book Award for Poetry. In 2011, she was honored with a Women of Excellence Award (Union County Commission on the Status of Women) for her achievements and volunteer work in the arts and humanities; she was named Poet Laureate of Fanwood by the Mayor and Council in March 2012. One of her poems appeared on the marquee of the Rialto West Theater in NYC as part of the 42nd Street Art Project, and her book Staffordshire Animals has been cited by Home and Garden Television (Episode COL-713). She received the 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award from Kean University.

Founding director of the Carriage House Poetry Series (1998-present),  Adele has also been director of the Fanwood Arts Council (Kuran Arts Center, Fanwood, NJ) since 1999. Active in readings and in private and agency sponsored workshops, she has worked as a Grants Review Panelist (New Jersey State Arts Council and the Union County Division of Cultural and Heritage Affairs), and has also been a presenter, workshop leader, and artist-in-residence for numerous organizations, including state and county Teen Arts Festivals, the NJ State Department of Education, Symposium for the Arts, and Very Special Arts Festivals (serving the handicapped). She has been featured at poetry readings in the US, England, Ireland, and France, and at the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival.

Library: 973-744-0500
Series hots: Laura Boss and Maria Mazziotti Gillan

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

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Poem: Betrayals

excerpt from Maria Mazziotti Gillan: Greatest Hits 1972-2002


At thirteen, I screamed,
“You’re disgusting,”
drinking your coffee from a saucer.
Your startled eyes darkened with shame.

You, one dead leg dragging,
counting your night-shift hours,
you, smiling past yellowed,gaping teeth,
you, mixing the eggnog for me yourself
in a fat dime store cup,

how I betrayed you,
over and over, ashamed of your broken tongue,
how I laughed, savage and innocent,
at your mutilations.

Today, my son shouts,
“Don’t tell anyone you’re my mother,”
hunching down in the car
so the other boys won’t see us together.

Daddy, are you laughing?
Oh, how things turn full circle,
my own words coming back
to slap my face.

I was sixteen when you called one night from your work.
I called you “dear,”
loving you in that moment
past all the barriers of the heart.
You called again every night for a week.
I never said it again.
I wish I could say it now.

Dear, my Dear,
with your twisted tongue,
I did not understand you
dragging your burden of love.

by Maria Mazziotti Gillan
from Where I Come From (Essential Poets Series 64)

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

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Reading for the 2014 Winners of the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards

The winners of the 2014 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards will read their poems at a Reading and Awards Ceremony on Saturday, February 7, 2015, at the Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College (PCCC).

This free program will take place at 1:00 PM in the historic Hamilton Club Building of PCCC, 32 Church Street, corner of Ellison, downtown Paterson. Free parking is available at the PCCC open lot at the corner of Church St. and College Blvd.

The winning readers include:
first prize—Linda A. Cronin, Cedar Grove, NJ, “Because It’s Mine,” and Linda Hillringhouse, Englewood, NJ, “The Bristol Plaza Hotel, Wildwood;”
second prize—Dante Di Stefano, Endwell, NY, “A Morning Prayer While Pumping Gas at the Gulf Gas Station,” and Abby E. Murray, Endicott, NY, “A Poem for Ugly People;”
third prize—Jason Allen, Binghamton, NY, “Pop,” and Kenneth Ronkowitz, Cedar Grove, NJ, “That Summer Between.”

Honorable Mention recipients, participating in the reading, include:
Jane Bridges, Ann Arbor, MI; Suzanne Rae Deshchidn, Newton, NJ; Daniel Donaghy, Willington, CT; George Drew, Poestenkill, NY; Gil Fagiani, Long Island City, NY; Brian Fanelli, Kingston, PA; Gail Fishman Gerwin, Morristown, NJ; Deborah Gerrish, Murray Hill, NJ; James D. Gwyn, Clifton, NJ; Pat Hardigree, Bordentown, NJ; Annette Krizanich, Vestal, NY; Antoinette Libro, Sea Isle City, NJ; Maria Lisella, Long Island City, NY; Nancy Lubarsky, Cranford, NJ; Mary Makofske, Warwick, NY; Greg Moglia, Huntington, NY; Colleen Michaels, Beverly,MA; Pat Mottola, Cheshire, CT; Frank Niccoletti, West Orange, NJ; Christopher Parker, Montclair, NJ; Vittoria Repetto, New York, NY; Robert A. Rosenbloom, Bound Brook, NJ; Susan Rothbard, Fairfield, NJ; Lori Ruzich, Verona, NJ; Donna Spector, Warwick, NY; and Al Tacconelli, Wynnewood, PA.

The Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards, honoring Allen Ginsberg’s contributions to American Literature, are given annually to poets, both established and emerging. The deadline for 2015 entries is April 1. For further information, visit

The Poetry Center strives to maintain a barrier-free facility including complete access for patrons using wheelchairs. Large print materials and FM listening systems are available on request.

The Poetry Center was named a Distinguished Arts Project and awarded several Citations of Excellence, and is funded, in part, by a grant from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Poetry and Music at the ANT Features Maria Gillan on January 16

This Friday, January 16, Poetry and Music at the ANT will feature the poetry of MARIA MAZZIOTTI GILLAN, along with music by Rikki Woods and Carol Felano.

The ANT Bookstore and Café is located at 345 Clifton Ave.,Clifton, NJ.

The program begins at 7 PM and is free. An open reading will also be offered.

Contact: or call the Cafe 973-777-2704

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