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

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

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

For bios of the featured poets and more information, go to

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Maria Gillan in San Mauro Cilento, Italy

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

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

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

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Poetry Workshop Retreat in Italy with Maria Mazziotti Gillan

Maria Mazziotti Gillan is pleased to announce a poetry writing intensive workshop to be held in San Mauro, Cilento, Italy, with daily excursions, and two days in Naples from June 22 to July 2, 2017.

Visit colorful, historic Naples and then write in the peaceful serenity of San Mauro, an ancient mountaintop village with gorgeous vistas and a view of the Mediterranean Sea.


June 22-23 Evening departure from USA; morning arrival in Naples

June 23 and 24 Naples (1 breakfast and 2 dinners included)

June 25 Leave Naples and arrive in San Mauro (1 breakfast and 1 dinner included)

June 26-30 San Mauro (5 breakfasts, 5 lunches, and 5 dinners included)

July 1 Leave San Mauro and arrive in Naples (1 breakfast and 1 dinner included)

July 2 Depart Naples for USA (1 breakfast included)


Naples: Starhotel Terminus

San Mauro: Villa Bernadette B&B;  La Tre Querce B&B

$1,999 excluding airfare to be paid in full by April 15, 2017  ($300 deposit required ASAP; reservations will be made on a first-come-first-served basis)


  • Hotel accommodations (3 nights in Naples; 6 nights in San Mauro)
  • 23 meals
  • Round trip transportation on air conditioned van from Naples to San Mauro and back. (Five hour trip with convenient rest stops)
  • Four afternoon excursions from San Mauro. Tour fees included.
  • Writing workshops and feedback sessions with Maria Mazziotti Gillan in San Mauro
  • Participation in poetry readings
  • Opportunity to meet an Italian-English translator/American Studies professor

NOT INCLUDED: Air fare, travel and medical insurance (proof of insurance required prior to departure), wine and alcoholic beverages, personal expenses, additional accommodations

AIRFARE INFO: We are attempting to negotiate a group rate for airfare, economy class. However it is still too soon for the airlines to give us fare information. It will take a few more months before we learn the specifics. If you prefer to use your frequent flyer miles, feel free to make your own arrangements.


Couples will share a double bed in your room; other companions will have their own rooms
Fee for companion is $1,499.  Fee includes everything except the writing workshops and tutorials.


  • You will be free to explore Naples on your own. Be sure to try their world-famous pizza
  • If you would like to extend your trip any other city in Italy, we will be happy to make suggestions.
  • Bring a swimsuit in case you want to take a dip in the Mediterranean Sea. We will arrange for a van to take you down to the beach at the foot of the mountain and pick you up (no extra charge)
  • Be sure to bring very strong sun block lotion
  • Be prepared to eat wonderfully well. The Southern Italians don’t fool around when it comes to food.

Please email for specific details. 

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

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Maria Mazziotti Gillan in Italy

Maria Mazziotti Gillan attended an international literary conference in May, RE-MAPPING ITALIAN AMERICA. PLACES, CULTURES, IDENTITIES at the Università degli Studi Roma Tre in Rome, Italy. It was sponsored by the Dipartimento di Lingue, Letterature e Culture Straniere.

A session was devoted to "A Conversation with Maria Mazziotti Gillan chaired by Cristina Giorcelli (Università Roma Tre).

Elisabetta Marino (Università di Roma Tor Vergata) conduct a live interview with Maria and presented a paper on Gillan's work.

Maria gave a reading of her poetry and featured her latest publication, the poetry and art collection The Girls in the Chartreuse Jackets.  

         MAGGIO FESTA DEI LAVORATORI                           MAY WORKER'S DAY

Le immagino camminar giù per rocciosi sentieri
verso di me, forti, donne italiane che tornano
al tramonto da campi dov’ han lavorato tutto un giorno
in poderi fatti a forma di gradini su per fianchi
scoscesi di montagne,
donne aggrazziate che portan acqua
in brocche di terracotta sul lor capo
"I imagine the other one strolling down rocky trails
towards me, strong, Italian women returning
at sunset from fields where they worked a whole day
on farms made of steps in the steep mountain

graceful women carrying water
in earthenware jugs on their head

Maria Mazziotti Gillan is the author of twenty books. Maria's official website is at

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Lips Journal Celebrates 35 Years


LIPS, a poetry journal edited by Laura Boss, will be celebrating its 35th Anniversary with its new issue, #44/45.

On Thursday, June 9th, an anniversary reading will be held as part of the monthly Montclair Poetry Series hosted by Laura Boss and Maria Gillan.

The event will be held at Montclair Public Library auditorium (50 South Fullerton Avenue, Montclair, NJ) at 7 PM. The reading is free and open to the public.

Contacts: Library: 973-744-0500; Laura Boss