Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Ristorante Italiano


Northern New Jersey has no shortage of Italian restaurants ranging from fine dining to the local pizza place, but it also has a good number of restaurants with mobster-themed names.

An article at northjersey.com reported on Mob Burger and GoodFellas Pizzeria (Wood-Ridge), GoodFellas restaurant (Garfield), Corleone’s Pizzeria (Hasbrouck Heights), Godfather pizza restaurants (Morristown and East Hanover) and Soprano’s pizzerias (New Milford and Totowa). The story even included the multiple Little Caesars chain of pizza restaurants across NJ and in 5000 other North American locations because though their logo features a cartoon version of the Roman emperor, it also recalls the classic 1931 mobster film Little Caesar.

The article's writer asked for an opinion from the Northern New Jersey born and raised poet Maria Mazziotti Gillan. As a poet and professor at Binghamton University, Gillan has written extensively about the Italian-American experience.

Maria has co-edited with her daughter Jennifer Gillan, also a professor, four anthologies focusing on the immigrant experience in America including Italian American Writers on New Jersey: An Anthology of Poetry and Prose.

Maria said that she finds the use of the mob names on restaurants “just so annoying. Other ethnic groups would never take a slur used against them and repeat it and magnify it in this way.”

Gillan lived in Kansas City in the early 1970s, when the first Godfather film was released.

“You wouldn’t believe the prejudiced ideas people in other parts of the country have about Italians. Back then, people said the most insulting things to me and thought nothing of it. I’m a professor. My husband is a professor. Why are you talking to me like I’m a mobster?

Unfortunately, the Godfather movies were brilliant. So was The Sopranos, especially the first season. The mother [Livia, played by the late Nancy Marchand] could have stepped right out of Shakespeare. But [these works] solidified, in the minds of many Americans, that we’re all bums and crooks.”

Gillan's perspective is shared with people like Andre DiMino, communications director of the New Jersey-based Italian-American One Voice Coalition, who feels the problem is that these restaurant names "perpetuate the connection between the Italian identity and the mob. They cement in people’s mind that Italian culture equals criminals and mafiosos.”

Though he supports small businesses, DiMino would prefer owners to realize that the names do continue the modern era connection of Italian Americans and the mob.







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.

Friday, May 18, 2018

The Maria Issue

Shrew Literary Magazine has devoted their latest issue to Maria Mazziotti Gillan. The issue features three poems by Maria, some of her artwork and several appreciations of Maria's work.

Read the issue online at shrewlitmag.com/issue5






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.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Maria Mazziotti Gillan Gallery Show in Paterson

Book cover featuring Women in Japanese Robes, 2005,
by Maria Mazziotti Gillan, mixed media on paper, 12” x 9”,
part of the PCCC Contemporary Art Collection


Watercolor paintings by Maria Mazziotti Gillan are now on display at the Hamilton Club Gallery at Passaic County Community College and will be there through the end of the year.

The exhibit features paintings from her book The Girls in the Chartreuse Jackets.

The gallery features changing exhibits throughout the year and is located on the second floor of the Hamilton Club at 32 Church St. at Ellison St. in Paterson NJ. (Phone: (973) 684-5444)

Forties Woman

About her paintings, Maria says:

My art comes from an instinctive place. In my watercolors and collages I try to do what I do in poetry—that is to let go, to allow the old wise woman who lives in my belly to take over. Often when I’m writing a poem, after the first few lines it is as though the pen moves across the page almost by itself, operating out of the subconscious mind. I don’t allow my conscious mind to control what is going on in the poem. For me, the same thing happens when I am painting or building a collage. Allowing my imagination to take over, gives me the freedom to paint people or birds or flowers as they exist in my mind rather than in reality. 
Whereas in my poetry, I try to root my work in the details and specificity of ordinary life, in my art I am not attempting to achieve realistic portrayals of people or birds or flowers. Rather I am trying to capture energy and feeling. I am trying to get the essence of the subject down on paper, to convey joy or sadness, exuberance or loss.

Pensive Woman and Roses

To learn more about Maria's poetry and paintings, visit www.mariagillan.com


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.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Maria Mazziotti Gillan & Edwin Romond Reading May 15


click image to enlarge

On May 15, ­Maria Mazziotti Gillan will be reading along with Edwin Romond as part of the Carriage House Poetry Series.

This series is held at the Kuran Arts Center, Watson Road (GPS Use 75 N. Martine Ave.) in Fanwood, NJ and will begin at 8 pm.

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.

Edwin Romond is a poet, playwright, and composer. He has written eight books of poetry and two musical plays. Ed was a public school teacher for 32 years in Wisconsin and New Jersey. His work has appeared in numerous literary journals, college textbooks and anthologies. His website is edwinromond.com

         



Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Film: All That Lies Between Us

Blending interviews, poetry, photography, and music, All That Lies Between Us is a moving account of the life and work of Maria Mazziotti Gillan, the award-winning author and poet whose humble upbringing in an Italian-American enclave of Paterson inspired much of her writing and led her to establish innovative and highly respected literary ventures in that historic city, including the Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College.

The film features interviews with Maria as she reminisces and shares insights about her life, including her student days in Paterson when being Italian was sometimes ridiculed, and when she had the same teacher who taught one of the city’s most celebrated literary figures, poet Allen Ginsberg.

The documentary, which is written, produced and directed by Kevin Carey and Mark Hillringhouse, incorporates images of Paterson that juxtapose sad urban decay with thrilling natural wonders, and remnants of an industrial past with scenes from contemporary life. It also includes footage of Ms. Gillan’s class at Binghamton University-SUNY, and scenes of the campus and city.

Maria Mazziotti Gillan used poetry as a way out of an urban childhood that was happy but lower class to success in the writing world.


Watch the film here (56 minutes)



Kevin Carey has won "Best of the Net 2011," "Best Screenplay" (2009) at The New Hampshire Film Festival and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

His one act plays have been staged at The New Hampshire Theater Project and The New Works Festival in Newburyport, Ma. The One Fifteen To Penn Station is his first book of poetry. He teaches Writing at Salem State University, and is also a seventh grade basketball coach in Beverly, MA.
Visit his website at www.kevincareywriter.com

Mark Hillringhouse is a published poet, essayist, and photographer whose works have been published in The American Poetry Review, The Paterson Literary Review, The New York Times, The New Jersey Monthly, The Paris Review, and many other anthologies, books and magazines.

His photographs, which have won many awards, have been widely exhibited in area galleries. He has recently published a book of photographs and poems, titled Between Frames (Serving House Books). He is a member of the English Department at Passaic County Community College.  Visit his photography website at mhillringhouse.zenfolio.com.




Sunday, April 29, 2018

Poetry in Montclair for May With Hughes and Gash

On Thursday, May 3, SONDRA GASH and PAMELA HUGHES will be the featured readers for the Montclair Monthly Poetry Series. The series is held at the Montclair Public Library (Auditorium) at 50 South Fullerton Avenue in Montclair, NJ. This free reading series starts at 6 pm with an open reading, followed by the featured poets at 7 pm.


Pamela Hughes
Pamela Hughes' collection of poetry, Meadowland Take My Hand was published in 2017 by Three Mile Harbor Press. She is the editor of Narrative Northeast, a literary and arts magazine that supports diverse voices and visions (LBGTQ and straight) as well as the environment.

She has been nominated for three Pushcart awards and her poetry has appeared in Canary; The Brooklyn Review; Literary Mama ; PANK; The Paterson Literary Review; The Red Wheelbarrow, Thema, and elsewhere.

She graduated from Brooklyn College with an MFA in Creative Writing.




Sondra Gash

Sondra Gash's Silk Elegy (CavanKerry Press) is set in Paterson, New Jersey, once the silk weaving capital of the United States and a center of radical unionism. Through these connected poems, told in the voices of three members of a Jewish family at the start of the last century, Gash weaves a story about the immigrant sweatshop laborers who left their indelible mark on this mill town, while she unravels a story of family madness, love and sacrifice.

Sondra grew up in Paterson, NJ. Her poems have appeared in The New York Times, Calyx, The Paterson Literary Review, and U.S. 1 Worksheets. She has received grants from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and the Corporation of Yaddo, and won first prize in the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Competition. In 1999, the Geraldine Dodge Foundation awarded her a fellowship to the Virginia Center for the Arts. She lives with her husband in New Jersey, where she teaches writing and directs the poetry program at the Women’s Resource Center in Summit.




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

All readings are free and open to the public and begin at 6 pm with an open reading, followed by the featured readers at 7 pm.

Location: Montclair Public Library (Auditorium), 50 South Fullerton Avenue, Montclair, NJ. Street parking is available surrounding the library. For information, contact the library at 973-744-0500 or contact Laura Boss or Maria Mazziotti Gillan.