Maria Mazziotti Gillan, director of Paterson's Poetry Center and recipient of the American Book Award and Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award will be one of the poets, musicians, fans, and an award-winning chef to celebrate American folk music legend Woody Guthrie in this 100th anniversary year of his birth. Maria's brand new book, The Place I Call Home (NYQ Books), will be for sale and signature.
On Saturday, September 8 at 1 p.m. at Ridgewood Christian Reformed Church (271 Lincoln Avenue, Ridgewood, NJ, at West End Avenue) this celebration will feature an open mic session welcoming any poets to offer readings on Woody's themes of social, political, and spiritual justice. Drop-in musicians are also invited to perform. Attendees are encouraged to bring nonperishable food to support the food bank work of the church. A free-will offering will also aid Disaster Response Services of World Renew (formerly CRWRC) in light of drought issues in the Mid-West. The event follows area poets' and musicians' rousing Fats Domino and Elvis Presley celebrations held previously at the same church.
Woody Guthrie wrote nearly 3,000 songs. His music influenced his son Arlo, Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, the Weavers, and countless other performers.
The distinguished lineup of poets scheduled to appear includes:
Laura Boss of Guttenberg, NJ, editor of Lips literary magazine and first-place winner in the Poetry Society of America contest.
Charles H. Johnson of Hillsborough, NJ, winner of the New Jersey Poets Prize and the Paterson Poetry Prize for Literary Excellence.
Laine Sutton Johnson of Hillsborough, NJ, published poet and recipient of the New Jersey Governor's Award as outstanding speech and theater teacher.
James Gwyn of Clifton, first prize winner in the Allen Ginsberg poetry contest and recipient of five Pushcart Prize nominations.
Francesca Maxime of Brooklyn, NY, TV and radio journalist and published poet whose book of poetry, Rooted, is nearing release from NYQ Books.
The Clifton-based Victoria Warne Band will perform the beloved "This Land Is Your Land" and other songs by Guthrie.
Celebrity Chef Jesse Jones of Chef Jesse Concepts from South Orange will visit to share some of his special chili and other toppings for the Woody Guthrie favorite -- Nathan's hot dogs! The All-American food spread is provided at no charge.