Jack Foley's radio program on Public Radio (KPFA 94.1 FM in California), COVER TO COVER, will feature Maria Mazziotti Gillan on February 21st and again, along with Susan Lembo Balik, on February 28th.
"The show features the always delightful bundle of Poesia and New Jersey Italian-American energy, Maria Mazziotti Gillan. Maria, a much-published poet, is founder and director of the Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College and editor of The Paterson Literary Review. Among the many Mazziotti-Gillan books discussed on today’s program are What We Pass On, The Place I Call Home, Ancestors’ Song, The Silence in an Empty House, Writing Poetry to Save Your Life, and The Girls in the Chartreuse Jackets (which features the author’s paintings as well as her poems).
To me the meanest flower that blows can give
Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.
In one of the blurbs on the back cover of Maria Mazziotti Gillan’s book, Where I Come From, Liz Rosenberg writes that “Maria Mazziotti Gillan’s poems…always make me cry.”
Gillan’s poems are indeed like that. They deal with matters —primarily family matters— that do often elicit tears. One might say, in opposition to Wordsworth, that the “depth” of Gillan’s poetry is, precisely, tears."
On the January 28, 2015 show, Maria will read selections from of her books along with her friend and associate Susan Lembo Balik.
Balik is the Assistant Director of Cultural Affairs at Passaic County Community College and the author of the poetry collection, Sinatra, The Jeeperettes & Me. Susan is also an animal rights and environmental activist.
by Susan Lembo Balik
I love the quiet
of the woods on a weekday
of my kitchen at 4 a.m.
when I’m perched on a stool writing
of a roomful of yogis
on brightly colored mats meditating
There, I slip into the quiet
like a cozy sweater or a faded pair of jeans
But this small town quiet was different—it followed
me like a swarm of gnats into the Iowa nursing home
where I walked past bunches of purple lilacs,anticipating
the visit with my father-in-law
where I welcomed the drone of the TV in his room, a distraction
from the sharp angles of his face, skin stretched over bone
where he lay dying in a hospital bed, his once able farmer’s body
now limp like a spent corn husk
The programs will be archived at www.kpfa.org/archive/show/101
Maria's Official Site is at MariaGillan.com. Her latest publication is the poetry and art collection, The Girls in the Chartreuse Jackets.