|The Hamilton Club|
Barry Singer, a contributor to the Huffington Post on the arts and literature, wrote about "Paterson, Poetry, Patricia Jones and Her Prize." In the piece, he tells the story of accompanying his friend Patricia Jones to her poetry reading at the Hamilton Club at Passaic County Community College, home to the Poetry Center.
It’s a grand old place. I was tickled to discover it. I was even more tickled to find a crowd of nearly a hundred waiting for Patricia on the second floor. Who knew that Passaic County Community College possesses one of this country’s most vibrant poetry programs? Not me.
Patricia’s reading would feature most of the finalists for the college’s 2016 Paterson Poetry Prize... This is a roll call of some of the finest poets in America. Quite an assemblage for a tired old Jersey mill town on a Saturday morning. Of course, this tired old Jersey mill town also boasts a deep poetic patrimony, including William Carlos Williams, who wrote an epic poem called “Paterson," and Allen Ginsberg, who grew up there.
The reading was a joy – literate, bracingly political (both overtly and covertly), poetically varied, at times richly moving and at times funny as hell. Ms. Maria Mazziotti Gillan hosted, the executive director who founded the Poetry Center in 1980 and has kept the place going, in part, with grants from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. In other words, if Trump’s new budget goes through, killing the N.E.A., here is one regional arts bastion that would be its victim.
I doubt that the feisty Ms. Mazziotti Gillan will ever let that stop her. Still, days after Patricia’s reading, I found myself thinking protectively of Paterson and poetry, which I had certainly never done before.
Read the full article at huffingtonpost.com
Maria Mazziotti Gillan is the author of twenty-one books. Her latest publications are the poetry collection, What Blooms in Winter and the poetry and art collection, The Girls in the Chartreuse Jackets . Maria's official website is at MariaGillan.com.