Monday, July 9, 2012

The Place I Call Home Reviewed by Grace Cavalieri

In the July issue of The Washington Independent Review of Books, poet Grace Cavalieri includes in her reviews of outstanding poetry books Maria Mazziotti Gillan’s The Place I Call Home (NYQ Books.

Sometimes a book is a meaningful end from a meaningful journey. So is Maria Mazziotti Gillan’s The Place I Call Home. These are high quality memories Gillan secures with a sharp mind. Only the truth can turn a shy 15-year-old’s story into a great drama— because a simple assembly of facts and feelings would be nothing without the backlight of authenticity and compassion. Gillan teaches her writing students “be who you are.” She proves the point. For a child of immigrants, it can be a cold climate outside of the family; events can be devastating—Gillan turns imbedded secrets into historical period pieces. What is confessional poetry? It can be passionate self-absorption, or intrusion. Gillan avoids this, elevating the art by drawing connections we can recognize. In spirit, there is equity. This is her genre. In The Place I Call Home each poem paints a scene, leads up to a revelation, is a picture of daily life without pretention. And your writing students will not say “But what does it mean?”

Grace Cavalieri is the author of several books, chapbooks of poetry; and 23 staged plays. She founded "The Poet and the Poem" on public radio, and now produces the series from the Library of Congress, in its 34th year on-air.To hear Grace Cavalieri’s interviews with Michael Collier and Maria Mazziotti Gillan, go to

Grace’s recent books, Sounds Like Something I Would Say, Millie’s Sunshine Tiki Villas and Anna Nicole: Poems are also available free on Kindle’s Lending Library.