Friday, March 16, 2018

31st Anniversary of Poetry Weekend Intensive Weekends

Poets at work

Maria Mazziotti Gillan and Laura Boss celebrate the 31st Anniversary of their Poetry Weekend Intensives held at at St. Marguerite’s Retreat House with their 2018 spring weekend.

These events are held at the English-style manor house at St. Marguerite’s Retreat, part of the Convent of St. John the Baptist in Mendham, NJ. The spring weekend will be Friday, May 25, Saturday, May 26, and Sunday, May 27, 2018. The weekend begins on Friday evening and continues through Sunday lunch.

St. Marguerite’s Retreat House      (Photo:Mark Hillringhouse)

The $425 fee (deduct $25 early bird discount if you pay by 4/1/18) includes all workshop sessions, 1:1 conferencing, your own room, and all meals.

At this weekend writing retreat, poets will find:
• support and encouragement;
• stimulating writing exercises/prompts leading to the creation of new work;
• workshop leaders who are actively engaged in the writing life;
• opportunities to read their work aloud to the group;
• a community of writers and networking opportunities.

This poetry weekend is open to all writers over the age of 18.

For teachers and others, 15 professional development credits are available.

The weekend schedule:

Friday: Please arrive early because of the holiday weekend, between 2 pm and 5 pm, and settle into your rooms. Both Friday and Saturday before dinner, we will meet and greet at 5 pm in the lounge at the end of the hallway on the 1st floor (feel free to BYOB). After dinner, we will break into two groups (about 12 to 15 in each), where we will have the opportunity to write poetry and share the work we’ve just written.

Saturday: After breakfast, we will break into two groups for morning workshops. Lunch will be served, followed by one afternoon workshop and either free time or a critiquing session with the poet faculty. Interested participants can sign up in advance at the retreat house and may bring previously written, typed work for feedback. After dinner, there will be an additional workshop.

On Friday and Saturday evenings, the two groups will come together and we will share our work— either something written on the weekend or previously.

Sunday: Breakfast will be followed by a workshop. A final reading by participants will serve as the “closing ceremony” to what we hope will be an inspiring and productive weekend. Lunch will offer another opportunity for socializing and networking.

Download a printable information sheet and registration form

For further information, email Maria Gillan
or send a SASE to Maria Gillan, 40 Post Avenue, Hawthorne, NJ 07506.

Laura Boss is a first-place winner of PSA’s Gordon Barber Poetry Contest. Founder and editor of Lips, she is the recipient of three NJSCA Poetry Fellowships, and in June 2011 received the first International Poetry Award at the International Poetry Festival in Swansea, Wales. Her books include: Reports from the Front, Arms: New and Selected Poems, Flashlight and her latest collection, The Best Lover. She co-edited with John Gallaher, Time Is a Toy: Selected Poems of Michael Benedikt . Her poems have appeared in The New York Times. Visit her website:

In Maria's book on writing poetry, she says what she hoped to accomplish, much like during the weekend sessions, is:
"to give writing prompts that will help you to get past all the outside influences that keep you from believing in yourself and in your ability to write. In order to write, you need to get rid of notions about language, poetic form, and esoteric subject matter ? all the things that the poetry police have told you are essential if you are to write. I wanted to start from a different place, a place controlled by instinct rather than by intelligence. Revision, the shaping and honing of the poem, should come later, and, in revising, care always needs to be taken to retain the vitality and electricity of the poem. Anyone can learn to craft a capable poem, but it is the poems that retain that initial vitality that we remember; these are the poems that teach us how to be human."

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

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Book Release Reading: 'Misrepresented People: Poetic Responses to Trump's America' Anthology

For the release of Misrepresented People: Poetic Responses to Trump's America, Maria Gillan will be one of the readers on Sunday, March 18, 2018 at 03:30 PM at Bowery Poetry, 308 Bowery in New York City.

The poets anthologized in this book bear witness to, rage against, and defy the misogyny, racism, homophobia, xenophobia, and authoritarian impulses that have always surrounded us, but that are incarnated in the 45th president.

Readers include Dante Di Stefano, Brian Fanelli, Leah Umansky, George Guida, Rosebud Ben-Oni, Bruce Bennett, Maria Mazziotti Gillan, Tony Gleogger, Vincent Toro, Ranea Shirali, Christine Gelineau and Nicole Santalucia.

Misrepresented People: Poetic Responses to Trump's America (NYQ Books) was edited by Dante Di Stefano and Maria Isabel Alvarez. At a time when large swaths of the nation, and of the world, have succumbed to a reality television ontology, the poems collected in this volume offer the terra firma of imaginative empathy only available to us through poetry.

This anthology contains work from a variety of aesthetic stances, from poets whose personal backgrounds reflect the vibrant multiplicity of our democratic vistas at their most resplendent. These voices counter alternative facts and fake news with the earned communion and the restorative utterance of the lyric and of the narrative.

Proceeds from this anthology will be donated to The National Immigration Law Center.

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

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Forgotten Women: A Tribute in Poetry

Grace Cavalieri, in her monthly poetry book review for Washington Independent Review of Books, named Forgotten Women "Best Anthology."  The anthology includes poetry by Maria Mazziotti Gillan.

Forgotten Women: A Tribute in Poetry,
edited by Ginny Lowe Connors, introduction by Marilyn Kallet. Grayson Books. 191 pages.

It’s not so much that the poems are about women unknown or unsung – the book’s beauty is because there’re so many women we simply forget to honor – and these poems do that. There are also women figures not famous, maybe family members, in poems by such notables as Rita Dove and Ted Kooser. This book is a treasure chest of great poems; it just happens to be about women known and unknown. There’s more talent in this book than stars in a jar, multiple voices representing the best of human values – each poem chosen is a well-made thing about a notable female. There’s nothing we can’t do with words, like bringing to life Susan Erickson’s POW Nurses of Bataan, or Maria Mazziotti Gillan’s women in the factory ‘where my mother worked,’ or Vivian Shipley’s Radium Girls.

The book is divided into sections: Hard Work; Unknown to the World, the World to Someone; In the Shadows of Their Men; Making Herstory; Happy Is How I’ll Look.
I learned a lot about these women I should have known. And we love the book’s epigraph, said by Ann Richards: “After all, Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did. She just did it backwards and in high heels.”

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

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Daniel Donaghy and reg e gaines Reading in Paterson - March 3

The Distinguished Poets Series  at the Poetry Center at PCCC presents a reading with Daniel Donaghy and reg e gaines on Saturday, March 3 at 1 pm.

The free reading will take place at the historic Hamilton Club Building, 32 Church St. in Paterson, NJ. Parking is available at the PCCC lot on College Blvd., between Memorial Dr. and Church St.

Daniel Donaghy is the author of five poetry collections, most recently Somerset: Start with the Trouble, which won the Paterson Prize for Literary Excellence and was a finalist for the Connecticut Book Award, and his collection Streetfighting, was a finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize.

Raised in the Kensington section of Philadelphia, he is a professor of English at Eastern Connecticut State University and poet laureate of Windham County.

reg e gaines is a two-time Tony Award-nominated playwright including Best Book of a Musical in 1996 for Bring in 'da Noise, Bring in 'da Funk, and a Grammy Award-nominated lyricist. He has published four books of poetry as well as the editor of the 2015 poetry anthology, A Year In Ink.

He scored the PBS documentary, Senior Year and other projects include directing the Connect The Lots musical theater summer camp in Camden, New Jersey, as director/creative writing workshop facilitator of “Through The Looking Glass,” Center Theater Group, Los Angeles California, 2014-2016, and as director of Lyricist Fellowship Lab and Teaching Firm of America Charter School, Bedford Stuyvesant Brooklyn, in winter/spring 2017.

Poetry workshops with Donaghy or gaines will be held from 10 am to 12 pm on the day of the reading. Pre-registration is required for workshops and there is a fee of $20. Please contact Smita at or (973) 684-6555 about registration availability.

Visit for more information on the Center's readings and workshops.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Celebrating North Jersey Poets in Montclair

On Thursday, March 1, 2018, the Montclair Monthly Poetry Series will celebrate North Jersey Poets. In this special theme night, the featured poets will be R. Bremner, Lisa Dahlborg, Martin Golan, Jim Gwyn, Elizabeth Marchitti, Marilyn Mohr, Marion Paganella,Rachelle Parker, Ken Ronkowitz and Robert Rosenbloom.

This series is held at the Montclair Public Library Auditorium and hosted by Maria Gillan and Laura Boss. All readings are free and open to the public and begin at 6 pm with refreshments and an open reading first, followed by the featured readers from 7 - 8pm.

Location: Montclair Public Library (Auditorium), 50 South Fullerton Avenue, Montclair, NJ

For information, contact the library at 973-744-0500 or contact Laura Boss or Maria Mazziotti Gillan.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Spoken Word in Paterson

Spoken word performers, reg e gaines, Angela Kariotis and Nicholas Rodriguez will share the spotlight on Thursday, March 1, 1:15 pm in PCCC’s Founders Theater (corner of Memorial Dr. and Ellison St.).

Each will perform their own original work.  All three artists have distinct professional backgrounds, and have worked extensively with underserved urban youth, using poetry, dance and music to address social change.

This free event is sponsored by the Poetry Center at and the Office of Student Activities at Passaic County Community College.

See for more information