Thursday, January 23, 2020

Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards Reading February 1


The winners of the 2019 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards will read their poems on Saturday, February 1, 2020 at the Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College (PCCC).

This free program will take place at 1:00 PM in the historic Hamilton Club Building, 32 Church Street, corner of Ellison, downtown Paterson. Free parking is available at the PCCC open lot at the corner of Church St. and College Blvd.

Readers will include:
1st prize winners, Francesca Maxime, Brooklyn, NY, and Marc Harshman, Wheeling, WV;
2nd prize winner, Edwin Romond, Wind Gap, PA;
3rd prize winner, June Avignone, Rochester, NY.

Honorable mention recipients
Howard Berelson, Teaneck, NJ; Norma Bernstock, Milford, PA; Bill Van Buskirk, Bryn Mawr, PA; Helen Marie Casey, Sudbury, MA; George Drew, Poestenkill, NY; James D. Gwyn, Clifton, NJ; Charles H. Johnson and Laine Sutton Johnson, Hillsborough, NJ; Diane Kerr, Pittsburgh, PA; Mary Makofske, Warwick, NY; Marie M. Marchand, Cheyenne, WY; Elizabeth Marchitti, Totowa, NJ; Marilyn Mohr, West Orange, NJ; Gloria g. Murray, Deer Park, NY; Frank Niccoletti, West Orange, NJ; Lisa Coll Nicolaou, Fair Lawn, NJ; Wanda S. Praisner, Bedminster, NJ; Maude Carolan Pych, Totowa Borough, NJ; Ellyn Joyce Rabinowitz, Nyack, NY; Robert A Rosenbloom, Bound Brook, NJ; Arthur Russell, Nutley, NJ; Matthew J. Spireng, Kingston, NY; Barrett Warner, Aiken, SC; Tamara Watson, Brooktondale, NY; Sherida Yoder, North Haledon, NJ; and James K. Zimmerman, Pleasantville, NY.

Editor’s choice recipients—Dianne Alvine, Barnegat, NJ; Charles W. Brice and Judith A. Brice, Pittsburgh, PA; Lorraine Conlin, Wantagh, NY; D. M. Dutcher, Highland Park, NJ; Linda Nemec Foster, Grand Rapids, MI; Michael S. Glaser, St. Mary's City, MD; Christie Grimes, Sackets Harbor, NY; Diane Khoury, Cresskill, NJ; Don Lynch, Kinnelon, NJ; Sheila O'Neill Massoni, Hackensack, NJ; Marion Paganello, Fair Lawn, NJ; Natasha Rabin, Nyack, NY; Kenneth Silvestri, Nyack, NY.


You are also invited to come to the Poetry Center early that day for a celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Poetry Center.

A ceremony and reception in the parlor on the first floor of the Hamilton Club Building on beginning at 11:30 a.m. The Poetry Center was founded in 1980 by Maria Mazziotti Gillan, who is its executive director. The center has hosted thousands of poets over the years at readings, workshops and conferences. These include poet laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners, and others of national and international reputation, such as Allen Ginsberg, Amiri Baraka, Lucille Clifton, Stanley Kunitz, Gerald Stern, William Stafford, Martin Espada, and Marge Piercy. The event is free, though we ask that you kindly RSVP to sdesai@pccc.edu

The Hamilton Club Building is wheelchair accessible, and other services, including large print materials and FM assistive listening devices, are available on request (call 973-684-5444). Parking is at the PCCC parking lot on College Blvd., between Memorial Dr. and Church St. For more information, visit our website at www.poetrycenterpccc.com.

The Poetry Center is funded, in part, by Passaic County Community College, individual and legacy donations, and a grant from the NJ State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Dual Events Saturday February 1 at the Poetry Center in Paterson

Hamilton Club - Photo by Mark Hillringhouse

On Saturday, February 1, 2020, at the Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College will host two programs.

At 11 a.m., there will be a celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Poetry Center at PCCC. Founded in 1980 by Maria Mazziotti Gillan, the Center has brought poetry to Paterson for 40 years through readings, workshops, and conferences. A ceremony and reception will be held on the first floor of the Hamilton Club Building.

Following the celebration, please move to the second floor and enjoy a reading by the winners of the 2019 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards starting at 1 p.m.

Both programs are free and open to the public.

The historic Hamilton Club Building is located at 32 Church Street, corner of Ellison, in downtown Paterson. Free parking is available at the PCCC open lot at the corner of Church St. and College Blvd.

The Poetry Center is funded, in part, by Passaic County Community College, individual and legacy donations, and a grant from the NJ State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Poem: I See Myself at Fifteen

I See Myself at Fifteen

I see myself at fifteen, white oxford cloth shirt, gray wool
skirt hanging past my knees, white bobby socks,
saddle shoes, so shy and uncomfortable in my own skin
that I am invisible. My sister with her Marilyn Monroe body
couldn’t walk through a room without men staring.
I could have been a ghost for all the gazes that followed me,
my body pencil-thin, my behind non-existent. That was
an era when women were supposed to have figures.

One of the girls in my class got pads for her hips in addition
to her padded bra. Today my granddaughter starves herself
so she is one, long, slender bone. I was ashamed of my body
or lack of it as I walked the halls of Eastside High School
in Paterson, New Jersey, those halls that terrified me
with their clumps of popular kids, loud boys and giggling girls,
all in on a secret I didn’t know. I learned to hide, to keep my eyes
downcast, to choose the seat in the back corner hoping

no one would notice me. Even today, though I’ve read my poems
to thousands of people in Italy and Yugoslavia, read in amphitheaters,
in Macedonia on a bridge covered with white bunting where ten thousand
people lined both sides of the river, at a party, I still choose a seat
in a corner and I don’t move. I wait for people to come to me.

I pretend to be composed and satisfied. A few weeks ago I was too shy
to get up from the sofa and go into the dining room to help myself to food
so I sat there through the whole party, as hungry and uncomfortable
as I was when I was fifteen and I opened the waxed paper wrapped
around my spinach and oil sandwich on homemade bread, the aroma
of garlic rising around me at those worn wooden tables in the cafeteria
at Eastside, my head bent as everyone turned to stare. It is that girl,

so introverted she cannot speak, who has followed me my whole
life, that girl, who hides behind my bluster and courage,
my facade of power that deserts me the moment I am at a party
or in rooms crowded with people I don’t know.

by Maria Mazziotti Gillan, from The Place I Call Home





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 paired with some of her paintings is The Girls in the Chartreuse Jackets. Her new artist website is at MariaMazziottiGillan.com. Maria's poetry website is MariaGillan.com.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the Poetry Center



In celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College, there will be a ceremony and reception in the parlor on the first floor of the Hamilton Club Building on February 1, 2020, beginning at 11:30 a.m.

The Poetry Center, founded in 1980 by award-winning poet, Maria Mazziotti Gillan, its executive director, has hosted thousands of poets over the years at readings, workshops, and conferences. These include poet laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners, and others of national and international reputation, such as Allen Ginsberg, Amiri Baraka, Lucille Clifton, Stanley Kunitz, Gerald Stern, William Stafford, Martin Espada, and Marge Piercy.

The event is free, though we ask that you kindly RSVP to sdesai@pccc.edu

Following the reception at 1:00 p.m. on the second floor of the Hamilton Club, the winners of the 2019 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards will read their poems.

The historic Hamilton Club Building is located at 32 Church Street in Paterson.
The building is wheelchair accessible, and other services, including large print materials and FM assistive listening devices, are available on request (call 973-684-5444).
 Parking is at the PCCC parking lot on College Blvd., between Memorial Dr. and Church St.

For more information, visit the Poetry Center website

The Poetry Center is funded, in part, by Passaic County Community College,
individual and legacy donations, and a grant from the NJ State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Maria Mazziotti Gillan and State of the Arts

Cat Woman With Leaf Hat
In addition to being an award-winning poet, Maria Mazziotti Gillan is a visual artist as well. In their December newsletter, State of the Arts featured her new website dedicated to her painting portfolio and where her artworks are also for sale.

One viewer, who learned of Maria Mazziotti Gillan on an earlier State of the Arts broadcast, then discovered her visual art and bought a piece: "I feel blessed to have a visual expression of [Maria's] thoughts in my very home."

The television program State of the Arts, which covers creative people in New Jersey is a New York and Mid-Atlantic Emmy Award-winning program that features documentary shorts about artists, musicians, dancers, playwrights, and poets.

Below is an earlier episode of the program featuring Maria talking about her childhood memories of Paterson, New Jersey in its Italian immigrant neighborhood, and how she found her way into poetry and found her own voice - and then returned to Paterson to share it with others.




Video produced by Susan Wallner; Narrated by Dan Gordon; Videography by Joe Conlon.
State of the Arts debuted on NJN Public Television in 1981, and aired as a co-production of NJN and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts until 2011. It is now a cornerstone program of NJTV, with new episodes co-produced by the Arts Council and Stockton University in cooperation with PCK Media. Tune in every week on NJTVWNET, and WHYY, and ALL ARTS.



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 paired with some of her paintings is The Girls in the Chartreuse Jackets. Her new artist website is at MariaMazziottiGillan.com. Maria's poetry website is MariaGillan.com.