Monday, June 1, 2020

New Jersey Is the Poetry State



New Jersey is nicknamed the Garden State but for Maria Gillan and many others it is also the Poetry State. 

In this video from stateoftheartsnj.com you hear New Jersey poet natives Maria Mazziotti Gillan, Joe Weil, BJ Ward, and three-time poet laureate Robert Pinsky. They all acknowledge their NJ predecessors such as Allen Ginsberg, William Carlos Williams, and Walt Whitman.

A group of Jersey poets shared the stage at “Jersey Voices” – part of the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival programming at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark. 

Maria talks about the Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College in historic Paterson which she has directed for over 35 years. Like the Dodge Poetry Festival, it’s a beloved hub of the poetry world rooted in New Jersey.



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 artist's website is MariaMazziottiGillan.com and her poetry website is MariaGillan.com.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

The Things I Didn't Know to Wish For by Linda Hillringhouse



"The poems in Linda Hillringhouse's new collection, The Things I Didn't Know to Wish For, are beautifully polished and glow like jewels. Most importantly, these poems are so brave and bold they will blow the top of your head off. No matter how many times I read this book, I am moved to tears and laughter. These poems make the hair on the back of my neck stand up, and that is my ultimate test for great poetry." - Maria Mazziotti Gillan 


Photo by Mark Hillringhouse

Linda Hillringhouse holds an MFA from Columbia University in Poetry. She was a first-place winner of the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award (2014) and the second-place winner of Nimrod's Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry (2012), which was judged by 2011-2012 United States Poet Laureate Philip Levine. She has received fellowships from the Macdowell Colony, Yaddo, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Her work has appeared in Lips; New Ohio Review; Nimrod International Journal of Prose and Poetry; Oberon Poetry Magazine; Prairie Schooner; The Paterson Literary Review, and elsewhere. 

Hillringhouse is a self-taught painter who has shown her work at the Newark Museum; Paterson Museum; the Yale School of Art, among other venues. Her work is included in the Hamilton Club Art Collection, Paterson, NJ. She was selected for inclusion in the 20th Century Self-Taught Artists Archive Collection at The Museum of American Folk Art in New York City.

In Linda's new poetry collection, The Things I Didn't Know to Wish For, (NYQ Books), she follows May Sarton's dictate to "dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be." 

The first poem of the book, "New Dress," serves as the origin story for the poems that follow. The young girl of the poem is confronted with a truth that will govern her life. It is the devastating fallout from this truth that drives many of the poems in this collection. Hillringhouse comes out from behind her language to face what must be faced if she is to make meaning of her life. And it is in the dangerous beating heart of her poems where she finds meaning and even glimpses of salvation. 


"Linda Hillringhouse's poems are lovely to read and beautifully crafted, at times bitter, ironic and unforgiving, as well as honest and original. She is a truth-sayer and she refuses to compromise, and the poems are emblazoned with this refusal. Whether she is being critical of the culture she grew up in, or tenderly remembers the love and friendship, the voice is the same, and more than anything else, she is seized by the sheer mystery that underlies and permeates her reality. A good way to begin is with the very last poem, "Nieves Penitentes," an example of the broken world she writes so much about. Start there, or start with "...I couldn't stop wondering how it would feel to be that / at home in the universe" in "The Royal Mineral Water Hospital, Bath." Or just start at the beginning and read through, with great delight, as I did."  -  Gerald Stern



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 artist's website is MariaMazziottiGillan.com and her poetry website is MariaGillan.com.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Maria Gillan on The Living Room Online Literary Series

Join Maria Mazziotti Gillan, Linda Nemec Foster and Rodney Torreson on Sunday, May 17, at 2:00pm EDT via Zoom online for a free poetry reading.


Maria Mazziotti Gillan is an artist, poet and professor. She is the Founder and Executive Director of the Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College in Paterson, NJ, and editor of the Paterson Literary Review. Maria is a Bartle Professor and Professor Emerita of English and creative writing and is the Director of the Creative Writing Program and Professor of Poetry at Binghamton University-SUNY. She has published 22 books of and about poetry and four literature anthologies.   She is the 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). 
 
Linda Nemec Foster is the author of eleven poetry collections, including the critically acclaimed books Amber Necklace from Gdansk and Talking Diamonds: her most recent book is The Lake Michigan Mermaid (2019 Michigan Notable Book). She has been published in over 350 magazines and journals such as The Georgia Review, Nimrod, North American Review, New American Writing, Witness, Quarterly West, and Paterson Literary Review.  She has received nominations for the Pushcart Prize, and has been honored by the Arts Foundation of Michigan, ArtServe Michigan, the National Writer’s Voice, and the Academy of American Poets. From 2003-2005, Foster was selected to serve as the first Poet Laureate of Grand Rapids, Michigan. In 2015, she was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Dyer-Ives Foundation for her poetry and advocacy of the literary arts in Michigan. In 2018 and 2019, she won the Editor’s Choice Award in the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Contest sponsored by the Paterson Literary Review. Foster is the founder of the Contemporary Writers Series at Aquinas College.

Rodney Torreson grew up on an Iowa farm, and his plainspoken yet mystical poems draw on the landscapes and traditions of the Midwest. He earned MFA from Western Michigan University, and his poetry collections include A Breathable Light (2002) and The Ripening of Pinstripes: Called Shots on the New York Yankees (1998). The former poet laureate of Grand Rapids, Michigan, Torreson has won the Seattle Review’s Bentley Prize, and his poems have been featured in former US poet laureate Ted Kooser’s syndicated newspaper column “American Life in Poetry.” Torreson lives in Grand Rapids, where he has taught creative writing at Immanuel St. James Lutheran School since 1978. In 2008, he created the online youth poetry journal Through the Third Eye.

M. L. Liebler's Living Room Online Literary Series # 4
May 17, 2020 02:00 PM America/Detroit

Join Zoom Meeting via this link
Meeting ID: 691 965 6609
Password: 447625


Information on the Facebook page (This is a Zoom event and NOT a Facebook event)




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 artist's website is MariaMazziottiGillan.com and her poetry website is MariaGillan.com.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Poetry Intensive Retreats with Maria Gillan and Laura Boss



Dear Writers:

Laura and I hope you and your family are well. 

We wanted to let everyone know that the Poetry Intensive Retreat at Saint Marguerite's Retreat House in Mendham, NJ is canceled for September 2020 because of the coronavirus.

We have booked the weekend of December 18, 19, 20 and we hope to be able to have that retreat. Of course, this will depend on what is happening with the virus.

I feel sad to have to announce this from myself and Laura Boss. Please know you will be missed and, hopefully, we will get together in December.

Meanwhile, please stay well and safe.

Love, 

Maria



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 artist's website is MariaMazziottiGillan.com and her poetry website is MariaGillan.com.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Poem: Ghost Voices


Ghost Voices

Ghost voices trail behind me like silk scarves,
all my dead still live inside me
even years after they have passed
over to that other world.
My mother's voice, sardonic and practical,
my mother, who spent a lot of time criticizing everything I did,
although she said if she didn't tell me, who would?
My mother, who held me at her round kitchen table,
patting my back, saying, Cry, cry. It will do you good,
though she told me she had forgotten how to cry.

My father's voice telling stories of his younger days
after he arrived from Italy at 16,
stories of how he met my mother,
stories of the heroes he'd so admired—
JFK and FDR, my political, radical father
sitting with me every night after my mother died
until he, himself, passed at 92.

My sister, her voice wobbly, calling me at 7 PM,
asking when I was going to be at her house,
my sister, who was ill and frightened, so much so,
she needed me to just sit and hold her fragile hand every night
while she talked about her life and all she remembered.

My husband, so athletic and strong, beset by illness
that robbed him of everything he cherished—
swimming, running, riding his bike, driving a car,
even his mind,
and his voice, softer and softer, almost a whisper,
his voice saying I love you into my ear,
his world populated by ghosts
who came to visit him in the months before he died,
ghosts, who told him they were saving a place for him.

The others that I have lost
now wait their turn to speak,
but my ancestors' voices
I can only imagine since I never met them,
left behind in Italy,
where the only words they had for me were
blue air mail letters
that made my mother's heart ache.

They too, have become ghosts.
Is that the fate of all of us?
All we can hope is that our own voices
will remain inside those who loved us
and comfort them for as long as they need to hear us.

by Maria Mazziotti Gillan

This poem was published in Here: a poetry journal from the Department of English at Eastern Connecticut State University and was reprinted online at Verse Daily.




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 artist's website is MariaMazziottiGillan.com and her poetry website is MariaGillan.com.