Friday, February 15, 2019

Poem: Everything We Don't Want Them to Know

Everything We Don't Want Them to Know

At eleven, my granddaughter looks like my daughter
did, that slender body, that thin face, the grace

with which she moves. When she visits, she sits
with my daughter; they have hot chocolate together

and talk. The way my granddaughter moves her hands,
the concentration with which she does everything,

knocks me back to the time when I sat with my daughter
at this table and we talked and I watched the grace

with which she moved her hands, the delicate way
she lifted the heavy hair back behind her ear.

My daughter is grown now, married
in a fairy-tale wedding, divorced, something inside

her broken, healing slowly. I look at my granddaughter
and I want to save her, as I was not able

to save my daughter. Nothing is that simple,
all our plans, carefully made, thrown into a cracked

pile by the way love betrays us.

by Maria Mazziotti Gillan

"Everything We Don't Want Them to Know" is from What We Pass On: Collected Poems 1980-2009, Guernica Editions. The poem was featured on The Writer's Almanac in January 2019.

Maria Mazziotti Gillan's most recent books are the poetry and photography collection, Paterson Light and Shadow  and the poetry collection, What Blooms in Winter . Her collection of poems along with some of her paintings is The Girls in the Chartreuse Jackets . Maria's official website is

Monday, February 11, 2019

Poetry Intensive Weekend March 29-31

with award-winning poets, Laura Boss & Maria Mazziotti Gillan
March 29 – 31, 2019
at an English Manor House in Mendham, New Jersey

Begins 5 p.m. Friday, March 29
Ends 1:30 p.m. Sunday, March 31

Location: English Manor House at the convent of Saint John the Baptist
82 West Main Street, Mendham, NJ.

The purpose of this retreat is to give poets the space and time to focus on their writing away from the pressures and distractions of everyday life. Participants will draft poems in the workshops and should bring paper or a notebook, pens, and the willingness to take risks. Please also bring previously-written work for one-on-one critiquing sessions and for group readings.

At this retreat, poets will find:
• support and encouragement;
• stimulating writing exercises/prompts leading to the creation of new work;
• workshop leaders who are actively engaged in the writing life;
• opportunities to read their work aloud to the group;
• a community of writers and networking opportunities.

Fifteen professional development credits granted.

This poetry weekend intensive is open to all writers over the age of 18.

St Marguerite’s Retreat House, located in Mendham, NJ — is situated on 93 acres of wooded land with pathways for exploring the property. This serene, beautiful setting is perfect for contemplating nature and nurturing the creative spirit.

Poetry Weekend Intensive Schedule:

Friday, March 29: Please arrive by 5 PM and settle into your rooms. After dinner, we will break into two groups (about 12 to 15 in each), where we will have the opportunity to write poetry and share the work we’ve just written.

Saturday, March 30: After breakfast, we will break into two groups for morning workshops. Lunch will be served, followed by one afternoon workshop and either free time or a critiquing session with the poet faculty. Interested participants can sign up in advance (at the retreat house) and may bring previously written, typed work for feedback. After dinner, there will be an additional workshop.

***On Friday and Saturday evenings, the two groups will come together and we will share our work—either something written on the weekend or previously.

Sunday, March 31: Breakfast followed by a workshop. A final reading by participants will serve as the “closing ceremony” to what we hope will be an inspiring and productive weekend. Lunch will offer another opportunity for socializing and networking.

We envision this intensive as a journey, allowing us to look at things differently, listen to our own inner voice, and create in stillness and community. This is an opportunity to retreat from the noise and busyness everyday life and invite the muse to inspire us. In the workshops, we will capture our stories and memories on paper, and discover how poetry can, so often, save our lives.

Deposit — February 15, 2019----------$300
Balance — March 15, 2019-------------$125

*Total fee includes room, meals, and workshops.
*Early Bird Discount: deduct $25 if paid in full by March 1, 2018.
*Full refund will be given prior to March 15, 2018.
*Late registration will be accepted on a first come, first served basis.
Enrollment is limited. We already have a list of people signed up for this workshop, so if you are interested, please sign up early.

Make check payable to Maria Mazziotti Gillan and mail to: 40 Post Ave., Hawthorne, NJ 07506.

Other questions? Call (973) 684-6555 or (973) 943-6548 or email to

Laura Boss is a first-place winner of PSA’s Gordon Barber Poetry Contest. Founder and editor of Lips, she is the recipient of three NJSCA Poetry Fellowships, and in June 2011 received the first International Poetry Award at the International Poetry Festival in Swansea, Wales. Her books include: Reports from the Front (CCC), Arms: New and Selected Poems and Flashlight (both Guernica). She co-edited with John Gallaher, Time Is a Toy: Selected Poems of Michael Benedikt (University of Akron, 2014). Her most recent book of poems is The Last Lover (NYQ, 2017). Her poems have appeared in The New York Times. Visit her website:

Boss and Gillan

Maria Mazziotti Gillan is winner of the 2014 George Garrett Award for Outstanding Community Service in Literature from AWP, 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. She is the Founder/Executive Director of the Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College, editor of the Paterson Literary Review, and starting September 2018, has been appointed a Bartle Professor at Binghamton University—SUNY and Professor Emerita of English and creative writing. She has published 23 books, including What Blooms in Winter (NYQ Books, 2016) and Girls in the Chartreuse Jackets (Cat in the Sun Books, 2014). Visit her website at

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Art and Poetry at the Hamilton Club in Paterson

Allen Ginsberg Award First Place Winner Jim Reese
and Poetry Center Director Maria Mazziotti Gillan

Winners of the Allen Ginsberg Award for poetry read their poems at an event on February 2, 2019. The reading was preceded by the opening reception for the gallery show, "Women Dreaming of Doors: Paintings and Prints" by Linda Hillringhouse. With both events being held in the Hamilton Club Gallery, a "full house" crowd generally came to not only view the paintings, but also to hear the poetry.

Readers included first prize winner Jim Reese (Yankton, SD), second prize winner Maria Fama (Philadelphia, PA) and third prize winner Lorraine Conlin (Wantagh, NY) . Also  reading were a number of Honorable Mention and Editor's Choice recipients.

Conjurer with Six Rings - Linda Hillringhouse
Linda Hillringhouse told that the show's title, "Women Dreaming of Doors," was inspired by her belief that "women in general, at least historically, have had doors shut in their faces and have had to find other doors, or backdoors. For me personally, I really spent a lifetime struggling to open internal doors to know myself and I was often surprised by what was behind them."

Hillringhouse's artwork is featured at The Museum of American Folk Art in New York City as part of the 20th Century Self-Taught Artists Archive Collection. Locally, her work has been featured at the Newark Museum, Paterson Museum, Belskie Museum and at universities, including William Paterson University’s Ben Shahn Center for Visual Arts, the Weinstein Gallery at Fairleigh Dickinson University and Yale School of Art.

Linda Hillringhouse discussing her paintings at the gallery show.
Linda is also a published poet with an MFA in poetry from Columbia University. She taught at Passaic County Community College for 25 years.

“I thought the connection between her as a poet and her as an artist was a very interesting connection,” said Maria Mazziotti Gillan, founder and executive director of the poetry center at Passaic County Community College. “Her paintings are so vibrant and alive, and she’s very much like that,” Gillan said.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Maria Gillan at Carlow University

Jan Beatty, Maria Gillan, Anne Rashid
In January, Maria Gillan was the guest of Jan Beatty, Director of the MFA in Creative Writing at Carlow University, for workshops and readings at the campus in Pittsburgh.

Beatty also direct the series "The Madwomen in the Attic Writing Workshops" which are semester-long creative writing workshops that are open to undergraduates and community writers. Taught by working writers, these small, supportive, and intergenerational workshops allow participants to develop and strengthen their creative voices in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction.

Poet and Carlow professor Jan Beatty directs the workshops, which are taught by working writers which include Sarah Williams-Devereux, Joy Katz, Nancy Kirkwood, Nancy Krygowski, Ellen McGrath Smith, Evelyn Pierce, and Anne Rashid.

Maria Mazziotti Gillan's most recent books are the poetry and photography collection, Paterson Light and Shadow  and the poetry collection, What Blooms in Winter . Her collection of poems along with some of her paintings is The Girls in the Chartreuse Jackets . Maria's official website is

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Charles Johnson and Donna Baier Stein Poetry Reading February 7

On Thursday, February 7, the Montclair Monthly Poetry Series will feature the poetry of Charles Johnson and Donna Baier Stein starting at 7 pm..

Charles Johnson is a former 1st (Air) Cavalry Division infantry lieutenant who fought in the Vietnam War. He is a Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation poet and a poetry reviewer and night editor for the Home News Tribune in New Jersey. He conducts weekly poetry workshops for the Middlesex County Youth Shelter and monthly workshops for the Paterson school district.

His third collection Smoke Signals received a 2010 Paterson Poetry Prize for Literary Excellence for previous winners of that contest. He was a first-place winner of the 1998 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards and is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee. His website is

Donna Baier Stein was a Founding Editor of Bellevue Literary Review and founded and publishes Tiferet Journal. Donna’s stories and poems have appeared in Virginia Quarterly Review, Confrontation, Prairie Schooner, New York Quarterly, Washingtonian, New Ohio Review, Ascent, Puerto del Sol, Gargoyle, and many other journals and anthologies.

She is the author of The Silver Baron’s Wife (PEN/New England Discovery Award, Bronze Winner in Foreword Reviews 2017 Book of the Year, and Finalist in Paterson Prize for Fiction), Sympathetic People (Iowa Fiction Award Finalist and 2015 Next Generation Indie Book Awards Finalist in Short Fiction), and her poetry is collected in Sometimes You Sense the Difference and Letting Rain Have Its Say.  Her website is


An open reading from 6-7 pm will precede the featured readers who will read from 7 – 8 pm.

This series is held at the Montclair Public Library Auditorium and hosted by Maria Gillan and and Laura Boss.

All readings in this series are free and open to the public.

Location: Montclair Public Library (Auditorium), 50 South Fullerton Avenue, Montclair, NJ    For location information, contact the library at 973-744-0500.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Poem: Bell Bottoms and Platform Shoes

Bell Bottoms and Platform Shoes

A friend sends me a picture of herself
from the 70s—bell bottoms, platform shoes
a patterned button down shirt,
hair puffed up from a perm.

I can see the outline of the person she is now
and she reminds me of myself in the 70s—
married for eight years to a man
I knew I loved the moment I saw him,
two children who seem to me exquisitely
beautiful because they look like my husband
and not me.

The picture reminded me of all those evenings
When I dressed in bell bottoms and silky patterned shirts
and shoes with chunky heels. Those evenings
we’d invite friends over for drinks and conversation,
our children asleep upstairs. Those clothes, the perm
I got, because I wanted to be cool, though my hair
was already kinky, so the perm made me look
like I’d stuck my finger in a light socket.

I look at a picture of us from that time—Dennis and I
standing together at the head of the dining room table,
friends seated around us. Dennis’s face is flushed,
his eyes shining. I wonder if he is tipsy.
He is wearing a fitted shirt with little flowers on it.
I am grinning and looking up at him. I might as well be
wearing a neon sign that says I love you.

Looking back at us. I would like to tell
my younger self—look how fortunate you are,
the man you love beside you, your children sleeping
in their safe beds, your friends around you.
Listen, be grateful for the moments
caught in these photographs,
the world full of possibility,
the sky not yet darkened.

by Maria Mazziotti Gillan, from What Blooms in Winter, NYQ Books, 2016.

Maria Mazziotti Gillan's most recent books are the poetry and photography collection, Paterson Light and Shadow  and the poetry collection, What Blooms in Winter . Her collection of poems along with some of her paintings is The Girls in the Chartreuse Jackets . Maria's official website is