Monday, January 17, 2022

Conversation with Maria Gillan January 18

LISTEN LIVE TUESDAY, January 18th, at 1PM EST to Planet Poet-Words in Space for Sharon Israel's conversation with Maria Mazziotti Gillan, poet, teacher, artist, and visionary founder of the renowned Poetry Center at the Passaic Community College, on her new book, When the Stars Were Still Visible. 

For live streaming, click on www.WIOXradio.org or http://tinyurl.com/wioxcatskills. Best on Chrome and Firefox.  
On When the Stars Were Still Visible “… It is as if this book rose out of an alchemist’s compound comprised of Calabrian limestone and the cement of the back stoop on 17th Street in Paterson, New Jersey, where Mazziotti Gillan grew up.  By the end of this poignant and resonant book, the poet accepts her double heritage with all is pain and obstacles and with all its beauty and grace.” – Stephen F Austin State University Press

Sharon Israel hosts Planet Poet - Words In Space, which airs bi-weekly on WIOX radio Tuesdays at 1pm EST. on 91.3 FM.  The show is also available as a podcast ​on Google podcasts, Spotify podcasts & Apple Podcasts.




Maria Mazziotti Gillan's new poetry collection is When the Stars Were Still Visible (2021). Other recent publications are the poetry and photography collection, Paterson Light and Shadow and the poetry collections What Blooms in Winter and The Girls in the Chartreuse Jackets which pairs her poems with her paintings. Maria's artist's website is MariaMazziottiGillan.com and her poetry website is MariaGillan.com.

Friday, January 14, 2022

Deadline for the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award February 1, 2022

Allen Ginsberg - Photo by Ellen Denuto


Honoring Allen Ginsberg’s contribution to American literature and his Paterson upbringing, this annual poetry competition awards a first prize of $1000, a second prize of $600, and a third prize of $400. 

Poems by the Winners, Honorable Mentions, and Editor's Choice recipients are included in the Paterson Literary Review and the poets are invited to read at The Poetry Center in historic downtown Paterson.

Follow this link for the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards submission rules for 2022 (pdf)

See the 2021 Award Winners (pdf)

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Virtual Reading with Toi Derricotte January 8

Toi Derricotte


The Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College presents a virtual Poetry Reading by Toi Derricotte on Saturday, January 8, 22 via zoom at 2:30 PM – 3 PM (EST).  If you want to watch the reading live, go to https://youtu.be/Kg5BxA50tsw  The reading will also be archived at that link later.

The Distinguished Poets Series, Virtual Reading with Toi Derricotte

Toi Derricotte is the recipient of the 2021 Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American poets, for outstanding artistic achievement in the art of poetry over a poet’s career, and the 2020 Frost Medal from the Poetry Society of America for distinguished lifetime service to American poetry. 

Her sixth collection of poetry, I: New and Selected Poems, was published in 2019 and shortlisted for the 2019 National Book Award. Other books of poetry include The Undertaker’s Daughter, Tender, Captivity, Natural Birth, and The Empress of the Death House. Her literary memoir, The Black Notebooks, won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Non-Fiction and was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. 

With Cornelius Eady, Derricotte co-founded the Cave Canem Foundation in 1996. She is Professor Emerita at the University of Pittsburgh and a former Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

Monday, January 3, 2022

Poem: The Children of Immigrants

Maria, brother Alex, and sister Laura

The Children of Immigrants  

The children of immigrants don't know their ancestors
except through blue airmail letters—
my father's mother, my mother's mother.
They are vague outlines that will never be filled in
except in a photograph.
They are all dressed in black, always in mourning,
so they had to wear black for a year or two
even if they were young women,
black through hot Italian summers, even black stockings.
My mother's mother was thin and frail-looking
with a sweet face. My father's mother was sturdy
and full-faced, her long thick hair pulled back
in a knot at the back of her head. She was not smiling.
We have another picture of her,
a studio photograph in a mahogany frame
where she is posed next to my grandfather.
They do not touch. She is wearing a black dress
with a small lace collar. He is dressed in a black suit,
a shirt with a stiffly starched collar, dark tie.
They are both staring into the camera.

At ninety-two, my father told me his father had deserted
my grandmother and their children when she was twenty-four,
that he had gone to Argentina and had never come back.
My grandmother's face had revealed nothing.
Pride had kept her head held high in that mountain village
where everyone knew her husband had forgotten her,
where she had to support her children by doing fine needlework
while the priest's housekeeper brought them food from the rectory.

Children of immigrants pick up bits and pieces
over the years to create a picture.
My father had tried to protect his sisters
from my grandmother's rage. She would beat them,
his sisters who were all six feet tall.
My five-foot-three-inch father would step
between his mother and sisters
and he would end up tied to the bed.

My father was blessed with a forgiving nature—
he never was angry with my grandmother.
My father wrote to her often,
sent packages of food and clothes
that my mother would wrap in white cloth,

then sew together and seal the edges with red sealing wax,
so no one at the post office could open the package
before it reached my grandmother.

We also heard my grandfather had a new wife in Argentina.
What part of these women might also be a part of me, part of my children?
What did they love? How much had they cried
when their own children left home for America 
and they never saw them again? 

This poem also appeared on versedaily.org



Maria Mazziotti Gillan's new poetry collection is When the Stars Were Still Visible (2021). Other recent publications are the poetry and photography collection, Paterson Light and Shadow and the poetry collections What Blooms in Winter and The Girls in the Chartreuse Jackets which pairs her poems with her paintings. Maria's artist's website is MariaMazziottiGillan.com and her poetry website is MariaGillan.com.

Monday, December 27, 2021

Poetry, Tuscany and Moments That Shine


Did you find yourself doing more cooking for the end-of-year holidays? Maybe the winter weather finds you indoors and cooking more at home than going out to eat. If you want to combine some Italian Tuscan cooking with poetry, The Poet's Cookbook might be a good choice.

There are recipes, stories, and poetry by Italian and American poets in both Italian and English.

Maria Mazziotti Gillan's contribution is this prose poem about the part of Italy where her parents were born and lived before coming to America.








Maria Mazziotti Gillan's new poetry collection is When the Stars Were Still Visible (2021). Other recent publications are the poetry and photography collection, Paterson Light and Shadow and the poetry collections What Blooms in Winter and The Girls in the Chartreuse Jackets which pairs her poems with her paintings. Maria's artist's website is MariaMazziottiGillan.com and her poetry website is MariaGillan.com.