Monday, August 29, 2016

Meeting with Italian Students



Students from the University of Siena in Italy with Maria Mazziotti Gillan at the
University of Rome during her 2016 visit and readings. The students have been studying
her work in English and in translation. 





Maria Mazziotti Gillan is the author of twenty books. Her latest publication is the poetry and art collection, The Girls in the Chartreuse Jackets. Maria's official website is at MariaGillan.com.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Maria Gillan Reading at Wagner College (NY)

Maria Mazziotti Gillan will be reading her poetry at Wagner College (NY) on September 28, 2016. The reading will be at 6:00pm in the college's Manzulli Board Room.

Wagner College is at One Campus Road, Staten Island, NY.  Admission is free.

For info, contact Giuseppe Sorrentino giuseppe.sorrentino@wagner.edu



Maria Mazziotti Gillan is the author of twenty books. Her latest publication is the poetry and art collection, The Girls in the Chartreuse Jackets. Maria's official website is at MariaGillan.com.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Poem: All His Life My Father Worked in Factories

left to right, Maria, brother Alessandro and sister Lauretta
inscription on rear of photo made by Maria's father



All His Life My Father Worked in Factories

or mills as we called them, back when Paterson
was the silk capital of the USA and was known as Silk City.
When my father was thirty he had a large tumor on his spine,
and after the doctors at St. Joseph’s removed it
he spent three months in the hospital and then a year
at home. He couldn’t work and wouldn’t let my mother apply

for welfare so we lived for a year on $300, and while $300
in 1943 was a lot more than it is now, it still wasn’t enough
for a family of five to live on. We ate spaghetti and farina
and my mother’s homemade bread every day. When my mother
was dying, she worried that the year without money–
when she couldn’t give my sister five cents to buy milk in school–
was why my sister got rheumatoid arthritis at thirty, a disease
that progressed, eventually invading her lungs and eyes.

After the surgery my father had a limp that became gradually
worse as he grew older. He was no longer strong enough
to lift heavy rolls of silk, so he got a job as a janitor
in Central High School and when that became too much
for him, he took a job watching the pressure
gauges on steam boilers to make sure they didn’t explode.
All his life, my father walked, dragging that dead leg behind him.

All his life, he worked menial jobs, though he did income taxes
each year for half the Italians in Riverside by reading
the two hundred page income tax book, and he could add,
multiply and divide in his head faster than an adding machine.
He was fascinated by politics and read news magazines
and newspapers, and knew the details of world crises and war.

When I was a girl, I worked in factories during the summers
and I moaned and complained about how boring it was,
how dusty and tiring, how I’d shoot myself if I had to do this job
for one more day, and I think of my father with his sharp intelligence,
forced each day for fifty years to work eight hours a day at jobs
so repetitive they would have bored a mouse, and the way
he never complained, never said I can’t do this anymore,
instead he just kept working, knowing he had to do it
so his children would have the soft lives he never had.





Maria Mazziotti Gillan is the author of twenty books. Her latest publication is the poetry and art collection, The Girls in the Chartreuse Jackets. Maria's official website is at MariaGillan.com.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Maria Gillan's Twenty-First Book



NYQ Books will publish Maria Mazziotti Gillan's 21st book, What Blooms in Winter, in October 2016.

This book is a praise song for all that is human and that survives despair, grief and loss. It is one woman’s story of an immigrant girl growing up in the 1950s in Paterson, NJ, and seeing over a distance of so many years all that she was given to carry into her life as a woman—wife, mother, daughter, grandmother, widow, and arts and eco-activist.

These experiences and people have formed Maria into the indomitable woman she is today.

Laced with humor and optimism, this book leads us to believe that flowers that bloom in winter out of hard ground have their own audacious beauty.

What other poets have said about Maria Gillan's poetry:

Marge Piercy: “The power of these poems comes also from the truth in them that is moving and rare.”

Diane di Prima: “These poems...powerful in their honesty, their passion and their grief. They take us deep into the labyrinth of our humanity and—in the face of loss and death—show us the paradox of love in the center of our being.”

Jan Beatty: “Maria Mazziotti Gillan is one of the great poets and one of the great humans of all time. Anyone who has met her has come away changed by her fi re, her electricity, her boundless courage and laughter.... We see the great compassionate heart of this writer and the embrace of the diffi cult through precise, surprising detail.”

Denise Duhamel: “This is a voice that is graceful and purposeful, elegant and humane.”

The book can be pre-ordered on Amazon.com




NYQ Books was established in 2009 as an imprint of The New York Quarterly Foundation, Inc. Its mission is to augment the New York Quarterly poetry magazine by providing an additional venue for poets who are already published in the magazine.



Maria Mazziotti Gillan is the author of twenty books. Her latest publication is the poetry and art collection, The Girls in the Chartreuse Jackets. Maria's official website is at MariaGillan.com.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Distinguished Poets Series of Readings and Workshops Announced for 2016-2017


The Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College has announced the Distinguished Poets Series of Readings and Workshops for the 2016-2017 season.




Readings and workshops in the Distinguished Poets Series are held at the Hamilton Club Building, 32 Church St., 2nd Fl., Paterson, NJ,

All workshops are from 10 am to 12 pm and have a $20 fee with pre-registration required.
Please see the information and use the registration form at  poetrycenterpccc.com/workshops/

For bios of the featured poets and more information, go to poetrycenterpccc.com/readings


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Maria Gillan in San Mauro Cilento, Italy

Maria,
You have given us a dream through your writing: an unconditional love for your roots and for all the people of San Mauro. Please, let us be your dream come true: your great big family in this in-between world. Being Italian American is a large part of what you are so today. We are very proud to celebrate all the love you have given to us by showing all the love we have for you.
            ~ Maria Giovanna Barra, in San Mauro Cilento, Italy, May 2016






Maria Mazziotti Gillan is the author of twenty books. Her latest publication is the poetry and art collection, The Girls in the Chartreuse Jackets. Maria's official website is at MariaGillan.com.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Poem: I Want to Write a Poem to Celebrate

With Father's Day coming, we present this poem about which Maria Gillan says:

For me, memories are triggered by scents that bring me back to an earlier time. Here, while uncorking a bottle, the aroma of the wine transported me back to the cellar in the tenement in Paterson, NJ, where I grew up and where my father made wine. When I was a girl, I was often embarrassed by all the things that characterized my family as an immigrant family—that they weren’t American enough and too poor—and everything I wanted to deny in myself. The older I become, the more I celebrate the rituals and foods and people, who made my childhood so gloriously varied and so full of work crafted by loving hands.



I Want to Write a Poem to Celebrate

my father’s arms, bulging and straining while he carries
the wooden box of dark purple grapes down the crumbling,
uneven cement steps into the cellar of the old house
on 19th street. The cellar, whitewashed by my mother,
grows darker as my father lumbers past the big coal
furnace and into the windowless wine room
at the very back where he will feed the grapes,
ripe and perfect and smelling of earth,
into the wine press. The grape smell changes
as they are crushed and drawn out into the fat
wooden barrels, and for weeks the cellar
will be full to the brim with the sweet smell
of grapes fermenting into wine, a smell I recognize
even forty years later each time I uncork a bottle,
an aroma that brings back my father
and his friends gathering under Zio Gianni’s
grape arbor to play briscole through long July
nights, small glasses before them, peach slices
gleaming like amber in the ruby wine.

This poem was first published in the Haight Ashbury Literary Journal and is available in What We Pass On: Collected Poems 1980-2009 (Guernica Editions 2010). It was recently reprinted with commentary on womensvoicesforchange.org


Maria Mazziotti Gillan is the author of twenty books. Her latest publication is the poetry and art collection, The Girls in the Chartreuse Jackets. Maria's official website is at MariaGillan.com.