Friday, March 27, 2015

Poetry Weekend Intensive May 29-31 with Maria Gillan and Laura Boss

Poets Laura Boss and Maria Mazziotti Gillan enter their 23rd year of the  twice-a-year Poetry Weekends in 2015.
Under the theme of "Writing Your Way Home," these two well-known poets spend a weekend with participants at the St. Marguerite's Retreat House in New Jersey.

The first weekend intensive for 2015 will be held from May 29 - 31. 

St. Marguerite's Retreat House (located at the convent of Saint John the Baptist, 82 West Main Street in Mendham, NJ) is set away from the pressures and distractions of daily life on 93 acres of wooded land with pathways (including a labyrinth) that lend themselves to the serene contemplation of nature and nurturing of your creative spirit.

Participants arrive before 6 pm on Friday evening, have dinner and settle into their own rooms. That evening, participants will be led into creating new work and after each of the weekend workshop sessions, participants have the opportunity to read their work in the group.

After Saturday breakfast, participants will move into two groups for morning workshops and writing session. There will be free time for socializing and exploring the grounds before lunch. In the afternoon, a third round of writing workshops will take place, followed by time to write.

Each participant will have a chance to sign up in advance with Maria or Laura for one-on-one help with revision.

After dinner on Saturday evening, participants will be invited to read their poems to the group, and the faculty will lead another workshop session on how to get published.

After Sunday breakfast, a fifth and final workshop will be followed by a concluding reading by all participants. The weekend will close with a lunch and last opportunity for socializing and networking.

The Poetry Weekend is an excellent opportunity to make space and time to focus totally on your writing in a serene and setting away from the pressures and distractions of daily life. You will find support and encouragement with the workshop leaders who are actively engaged in the writing life, and from your fellow workshop poets.

This writing intensive is open to all writers over the age of 18. Fifteen professional development credit hours are available for teachers.

The workshops will concentrate on "writing your way home" and the way writing can save our stories and our lives. Maria and Laura view this weekend as a retreat from the noise and bustle of daily life and see this retreat as both a spiritual and creative break from our usual lives.

The setting certainly allows us to take some time to look at life in a new light, to listen for our own voices, create a stillness, in a quiet community of contemplation that welcomes the muse.

Participants should bring papers, pens, and the willingness to take some risks. You may also bring previously-written work for a one-on-one session and for the readings.

The all-inclusive weekend fee of $425 includes the workshops, room, and meals from Friday evening dinner through Sunday lunch. A deposit of $300 is due by April 1, 2015 with the balance due  by  April 19, 2015. An Early Bird Discount of $25 may be deducted from the total if paid in full by April 1, 2015. (A full refund will be given prior to April 29, 2015.)

For more information, contact Maria Mazziotti Gillan by email at or phone 973-684-6555. You may register by sending your check, payable to Maria Mazziotti Gillan to: 40 Post Avenue, Hawthorne, NJ 07506. Include your name, address, a daytime & evening phone number and your email.

Late registration will be accepted on a first come, first served basis. Enrollment is limited, so please sign up as soon as possible.


LAURA BOSS is an award-winning poet. She was a first prize winner in Poetry Society of America’s Gordon Barber Poetry Contest. Laura was the sole representative of the United States in 1987 at the XXVI Annual International Struga Poetry Readings in Yugoslavia.  Awards for her writing also include an American Literary Translators Award (funded through the National Endowment for the Arts), and Fellowships in Creative Writing (Poetry) from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts in 1999, 1992, and 1986. In June 2011, she received the First International Poetry Award at the first International Poetry Festival at Swansea, Wales (sponsored by Cross-Cultural Communications and Seventh Quarry Magazine of Wales).

Her collections of poetry include  Stripping (Chantry Press, 1982) the award-winning On the Edge of the Hudson (Cross-Cultural Communications, 1986). Her book, Reports from the Front (CCC, 1995) was nominated for an American Book Award. 
Arms: New and Selected Poems was published by Guernica Editions in 1999. Flashlight, also published by Guernica, is her most recent collection.

Her poetry has appeared in The New York Times and in the anthology The Poets of New Jersey: From Colonial to Contemporary (Jersey Shore Publications). In 1998 her manuscript was a finalist in the Poetry Society of America’s Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award.

Laura is the founder and Editor of Lips poetry magazine

MARIA MAZZIOTTI GILLAN is a recipient of the 2014 George Garrett Award for Outstanding Community Service in Literature from AWP (Association of Writers & Writing Programs), the 2011 Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award from Poets & Writers and the 2008 American Book Award for her book, All That Lies Between Us (Guernica Editions).

She is the Founder /Executive Director of the Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College in Paterson, NJ, and editor of the Paterson Literary Review. She is also Director of the Creative Writing Program and Professor of Poetry at Binghamton University-SUNY.

Maria has published twenty books. Her most recent are the poetry and art collection,
The Girls in the Chartreuse Jackets (Redux Consortium). Ancestors' Song (Bordighera Press), Writing Poetry To Save Your Life: How To Find The Courage To Tell Your Stories (MiroLand, Guernica) and the bi-lingual poetry collection, In a Place of Flowers & Light (poems in English & Italian). Her book, What We Pass On collects her poems from 1980-2009.