Saturday, October 4, 2014

Poem: The Subjunctive Tense

The Subjunctive Tense

Mary whispers, "I'm glad you still use the subjunctive tense."

If I were tall and slender and upper class,
If I were able to walk miles without getting tired,
If I were able to do somersaults and salsa dance,

If I were able to eat buckets of wings in hot sauce,
If I were able to pour hot red pepper on my spaghetti,

I would be a different person,

but I am short and squat and lower class,
an Italian-American who cannot stomach garlic and peppers,
one who falls sleep after half a glass of wine,
one with a nervous stomach and klutzy feet,
one who could never climb the rope in gym,
one who is afraid of water and heights,
one who prefers her adventures secondhand,
reading books about British detectives,
women who are afraid of nothing,
not even the subjunctive tense.

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

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Talking With Maria Mazziotti Gillan

Maria with poet Mark Doty

Loren Kleinman interviewed Maria Mazziotti Gillan for the

Here is an excerpt.
When I first started to write, I imitated the British and American poets I was studying. I thought I had to prove how brilliant I was by mentioning Greek gods and mythology. I started writing when I was seven years old, but my first book was not published until I was 40. My graduate school professor told me that it was in the poem about my father that I found the story I have to tell.

He gave me the courage to feel that people might be interested in reading narrative poems written by an Italian American, working class woman, reading poems about ordinary life. I'm shy and introverted, but my poems allowed me to say things I could not have said to anyone in person. I think poems build a bridge between us as human beings and that's why I think poetry is so important. It gives us the courage to say the unsayable.

Poetry matters because it teaches us about what it means to be human. It clarifies all those emotions we all share -- love, loss, longing. It helps us to make emotional sense of our lives and to see ourselves and the world more clearly. When poetry works, it moves us to laughter or tears or to having the hair on our arms stand up. It is not just pretty words; it is rooted in the body and we respond with our bodies to it. For me, poetry is so important, because I can carry it in my mind and I can recite it and I am comforted. That's why I've spent so much of my life organizing readings and workshops and conferences and contests and awards. I want to share my love of poetry the way my mother shared food.

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

Monday, September 29, 2014

On Tour In California With Maria Gillan

Jan Beatty and Maria at Bird and Beckett
in San Francisco before their reading. 9/23/14

Maria reading at Copperfield's Books to a full audience
during the Petaluma Poetry Walk. 9/21/14

Maria with Jack and Adele Foley. Jack taped an interview with Maria
for his radio program to be aired in Northern California.

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

Monday, September 22, 2014

Review of Gillan's The Girls In The Chartreuse Jackets

The Washington Independent Review of Books recently reviewed The Girls In The Chartreuse Jackets by Maria Mazziotti Gillan which was published by Cat in the Sun Books.

"These poems make up more of Maria Mazziotti Gillan’s rich mythology – growing up in Paterson, New Jersey with her Italian family—her initial wishes to be “other than”—her pride in what she finds as her true self, poet, teacher, curator. Now, visual artist. The “sense of self” is found in the writing with a directness and passion, but made better by paintings, water colors and mixed media, conveying a biography more nuanced and delicate. In both, her keynote is honesty, and a simplicity that can only come from a seasoned artist..."
                              continue reading

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

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Winter 2014 Writing Your Way Home Poetry Weekend Intensive

Poets Laura Boss and Maria Mazziotti Gillan celebrate 22 years of their Poetry Weekends this year. The "Writing Your Way Home Poetry Weekend Intensive" is held twice a year at the St. Marguerite's Retreat House in Mendham, NJ.

The 2014 winter retreat will be held Friday evening through Sunday, December 12, 13, and 14.

This is an excellent opportunity to make space and time to focus totally on your writing in a serene and setting away from the pressures and distractions of daily life. You will find support and encouragement with workshop leaders who are actively engaged in the writing life and from fellow workshop poets.

This writing intensive is open to all writers over the age of 18. Fifteen professional development credit hours are available for teachers.

St. Marguerite's Retreat House (located at the convent of Saint John the Baptist, 82 West Main Street in Mendham, NJ) is set away from the pressures and distractions of daily life on 93 acres of wooded land with pathways (including a labyrinth) that lend themselves to the serene contemplation of nature and nurturing of your creative spirit.

The workshops will concentrate on "writing your way home" and the way writing can save our stories and our lives. 

Maria and Laura view this weekend as a retreat from the noise and bustle of daily life and see this retreat as both a spiritual and creative break from our usual lives.

The setting certainly allows us to take some time to look at life in a new light, to listen for our own voices, create a stillness, in a quiet community of contemplation that welcomes the muse.

Participants arrive before 6 PM on Friday evening, have dinner and settle into their own rooms. That evening, participants will be led into creating new work and after each of the weekend workshop sessions, participants have the opportunity to read their work in the group.

After Saturday breakfast, participants will move into two groups for morning workshops and writing session. There will be free time for socializing and exploring the grounds before lunch. In the afternoon, a third round of writing workshops will take place, followed by time to write.

Each participant will have a chance to sign up in advance with Maria or Laura for one-on-one help with revision.

After dinner on Saturday evening, participants will be invited to read their poems to the group, and the faculty will lead another workshop session on how to get published.

After Sunday breakfast, a fifth and final workshop will be followed by a concluding reading by all participants. The weekend will close with a lunch and last opportunity for socializing and networking.

Participants should bring papers, pens, and the willingness to take some risks. You may also bring previously-written work for one-on-one sessions and for the readings.

The retreat is from Friday evening through Sunday – December 12, 13, and 14, 2014.
St. Marguerite’s is one hour from NYC and accessible by public transportation.
Cost: $425 for room, meals and all workshops.

Late registration will be accepted on a first come, first served basis. Enrollment is limited and we already have registrants, so please sign up as soon as possible.
For additional information, call 973-684-6555 or email
Mail your check, payable to Maria Mazziotti Gillan, to: 40 Post Ave., Hawthorne, NJ 07506 along with your name, address, a day and night phone number and your email.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Maria Gillan To Read With Jan Beatty in San Francisco


Tuesday, September 23, 2014
7:00 PM

653 Chenery Street
San Francisco, CA

Maria Mazziotti Gillan is in California from her home back east for the Petaluma Poetry Walk. 

Her most recent volume of poetry is The Girls in the Chartreuse Jackets, which is illustrated with her watercolor paintings. 

She is a recipient of the 2014 George Garrett Award for Outstanding Community Service in Literature from AWP (Association of Writers & Writing Programs) and the 2011 Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award from Poets & Writers. She received the 2008 American Book Award for her book, All That Lies Between Us (Guernica Editions), and is the Founder /Executive Director of the Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College in Paterson, NJ, and editor of the Paterson Literary Review.

Maria will be reading along with Jan Beatty. Jan’s book, The Switching/Yard, was named by Library Journal as one of …30 New Books That Will Help You Rediscover Poetry. The Huffington Post called her one of ten “advanced women poets for required reading.”

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

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Maria Mazziotti Gillan Reads Poems and Talks About Her Writing

In this video, Maria Mazziotti Gillan talks about her life and reads several of her poems, including "Nighties," "Daddy We Called You".

The recording was made in her office 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.