Discovering Paterson: The Silk City Project is led by two professors from Passaic County Community College (PCCC) - Dr. Martha Brozyna (History) and Prof. Alexandra Della Fera (English) - with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The project looks at the history of the city of Paterson as a microcosm of the history of the United States. Its foundation is linked to two of the country's Founding Fathers. Paterson was the fulfillment of Alexander Hamilton’s dream of creating an industrial center that would rival Great Britain’s by using the energy produced by the Great Falls on the Passaic River. It was named for William Paterson, who signed the Charter that established Paterson as a township in 1792, and who was also one of the signatories to the U.S. Constitution.
The project also has a blog with musings, insights, and observations from the students of PCCC about the many literary, historical, and cultural connections that center around Paterson, New Jersey. Additionally, students will share the many stories of the colorful Patersonians.
|Maria Mazziotti Gillan at the Great Falls (Photo by Mark Hillringhouse)|
One of those figures is Paterson native Maria Mazziotti Gillan. From Maria's childhood growing up in the city, to her current roles as the Founder and Executive Director of the Poetry Center at PCCC, as the editor of the Paterson Literary Review, and with her 22 books of and about poetry, she one of the literary giants of the city.
Maria will be involved in the project herself, and using the project blog, some students have selected to write about Maria and her poetry.
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 MariaGillan.com.