Monday, December 10, 2018

Poem: Clementines

It is the season for this fruit that might bring back memories...



Clementines

The pungent aroma of clementines lingers on my hands
long after I have peeled the skin off them. The perfume
of the fruit carries me back to my mother’s kitchen
in the apartment on 17th Street when my mother
peeled a tangerine for me, encouraging me,
her sickly, skinny seven-year-old daughter to eat.
My mother, hands quick and efficient, peeled
the fruit and fed me one section at a time.

When I was a grown woman with children of my own,
my mother sat with me at her kitchen table and sliced
an apple for me, passing me one slice at a time,
and my daughter, grown up now too, remembers
her grandmother cutting up an orange or an apple
and feeding it to her when she was a child. My mother
never learned how to read and write English.
When she wanted to go to night school, my father said,
“No, women don’t need to go to school,” but my mother
knew by instinct how to love, knew how to nurture plants
and children so they’d thrive, knew how to offer
the right word of comfort, the words to give us courage
even when we were most afraid. No school could have
taught her what she knew. She taught us how to
reach out to others and feed them
one slice of comfort at a time.


by Maria Gillan, from Ancestors' Song 





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.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Opportunity to Write in Italy with Maria Gillan

Morano Calabro, Italy


Maria Mazziotti Gillan offers you a unique opportunity to write in Italy. Maria will be teaching for the first week of a two-week seminar in the Calabria-Lucania region of Italy from May 15-29, 2019.

The University of Calabria’s Italian Diaspora Studies Seminar is pleased to launch a new residential program dedicated to the topic of Cultural Heritage and Memory. Whether you are of Italian origin or not, this program offers you an incomparable opportunity to live a unique experience than will enhance your life, enrich your culture and stimulate your creativity.

Have you ever fancied wanting to write your history, or the history of your family, sifting through childhood memories, digging into your roots and past lives of people close to you?
Have you ever started a writing project of any type, but could not complete? 
Have ever wanted to explore hidden parts of South Italy and its rich culture, and to learn more about the Italian diaspora?


With the Patronage of the Canadian Embassy of Rome, and with the expected renewal of the Patronage of the US Consulate Naples, this seminar will be held in the northern part of Calabria and in Lucania, with a day-trip in Matera, the European Capital of Culture 2019, from May 15th to May 29th, 2019.

It is a two-week program. The first week with maria is held in Morano Calabro (CS), in the National Park of Mount Pollino. The second week will be in Albidona (CS), on the Ionian Coast of Calabria, at the border with Lucania, with several planned field trips in the surrounding areas.

More Info, Bios and Photos at:


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.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Holiday Poetry Reading in Montclair December 6


On Thursday, December 6, 2018, the Montclair Monthly Poetry Series will be a special year-end Holiday Reading.

Poets who will be reading include Sue Balik, R. Bremner, Dutch, Martin Golan, Jim Gwyn, Elizabeth Marchetti, Lisa Coll Nicolaou, Marion Paganello, Rachelle Parker, Ken Ronkowitz and Robert Rosenbloom.

6 –7 PM Brief Reception and Open Reading
7 – 8 PM Featured Poets


This series is held at the Montclair Public Library Auditorium and hosted by Maria Gillan and and Laura Boss.

All readings in this series are free and open to the public.

Location: Montclair Public Library (Auditorium), 50 South Fullerton Avenue, Montclair, NJ    For location information, contact the library at 973-744-0500.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Tanya Olson and Patrick Rosal in Distinguished Poets Series December 1

The Distinguished Poets Series of readings are held on Saturdays at 1 pm at the Poetry Center, 32 Church Street, Paterson, New Jersey. Directions and parking information. The distinguished poets reading on December 1, 2018 are Tanya Olson and Patrick Rosal.

Tanya Olson lives in Silver Spring, Maryland and is a Lecturer in English at University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC). Her first book, Boyishly, was published by YesYes Books in 2013 and was awarded an 2014 American Book Award. She has won the Discovery/Boston Review prize and was named a Lambda Emerging Writers Fellow by the Lambda Literary Foundation. Her poem "54 Prince" was included in Best American Poetry 2015.



Patrick Rosal is the author of four books of poetry, most recently Brooklyn Antediluvian, which was a finalist for the Kingsley Tufts Award and winner of the Lenore Marshall Prize from the Academy of American Poets. Rosal’s other three books are Boneshepherds, My American Kundiman, a winner of the Association of Asian American Studies Book Award, and Uprock Headspin Scramble and Dive, winner of the Asian American Writers Workshop Members’ Choice Award. His writing has appeared in Tin House, New England Review, Poetry, Best American Poetry, Grantland, and many other journals and anthologies. The recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Fulbright Research Program, Rosal has been a featured performer internationally in Greece, South Africa, the UK and at various spaces in the Caribbean, South America, and the Philippines. He is an Associate Professor of English at Rutgers University-Camden.

Writing workshops with Tanya Olson and Patrick Rosal will be held at 10 am to 12 pm that day -  to confirm that workshops are still open to registration, email sdesai@pccc.edu or call 973-684-6555.

         

Monday, November 26, 2018

Boss, Gillan, and Hillringhouse in Clifton



On November 17, poets Laura Boss, Maria Mazziotti Gillan, and Mark Hillringhouse gave readings at the ANT Bookstore and CafĂ© as part of the monthly series.

Featured was Maria's most recent book, a poetry and photography collection, Paterson Light and Shadow  in a collaboration with fine art photographer Mark Hillringhouse.  Laura Boss featured poems from 2018 poetry collection, The Best Lover.

This free monthly series is hosted by poet Jim Gwyn and occurs on the third Saturday evening of each month and includes a featured musician, open microphone session and refreshments.


Laura Boss, Mark Hillringhouse, Jim Gwyn and Maria Gillan







Maria Mazziotti Gillan's  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.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Poem: The Italian Pilgrim

You have probably seen, if not played a role in, a school Thanksgiving play.


THE ITALIAN PILGRIM

In the old photograph, we are standing
in front of PS18. Charlie Linfante, handsome,
athletic, blond, I am standing next to him.
We must have been in a play. We are dressed
as pilgrims, he in a hat made of cardboard,
and I in a long skirt, a frilly apron, a white
blouse, a paper Pilgrim collar. My hair
reaches my shoulders, my face long and narrow,
my eyes enormous in my thin face. Charlie,
who is Italian but doesn’t look it with his
blond hair and blue eyes, could actually
have been a pilgrim but I look ridiculous.
I look foreign. My head is bent.
I look up at the camera as though
I am drowning.

I am the only Italian pilgrim you’ve ever seen.
I looked like I have just stepped off the boat
from Italy. Whose idea was it to turn the class
of immigrant children into pilgrims? I hate
to have people look at me but there I am.
One teacher must have said hold out your apron
and I did. I look like I’m about to curtsey.

Oh, you poor inarticulate dolt, how you wanted
to be an American, though even you in your naiveté
could not have thought you could be a pilgrim.
Years later, you will fall in love instantly with the man
you would later marry, his blond hair, his large
gray eyes, the high cheekbones of his handsome face,
but I wonder now, looking back,
if that was part of the attraction, his educated parents,
his large white colonial house like the ones
in the Dick and Jane books. Did I think he would
turn me from that Italian girl I was into an American,
that no one would notice my Italian face,
my lower class accent, my long curly hair
that frizzed up in the rain?

How I wanted to erase everything about myself
that I hated. I had my nose done, needing to get rid
of my Italian nose, believed if I could just have a small
nose all the parts of me that didn’t fit would vanish.
It would be years before I’d recognize all I’d lost
in trying to leave behind the Italian that was
in my blood, electric and necessary,
and a part of me
I could never change.

by Maria Mazziotti Gillan

This poem originally appeared in The Place I Call Home




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.