What I hope to accomplish in this book is to give writing prompts that will help you to get past all the outside influences that keep you from believing in yourself and in your ability to write. In order to write, you need to get rid of notions about language, poetic form, and esoteric subject matter ? all the things that the poetry police have told you are essential if you are to write. I wanted to start from a different place, a place controlled by instinct rather than by intelligence. Revision, the shaping and honing of the poem, should come later, and, in revising, care always needs to be taken to retain the vitality and electricity of the poem. Anyone can learn to craft a capable poem, but it is the poems that retain that initial vitality that we remember; these are the poems that teach us how to be human.
Maria Mazziotti Gillan is a recipient of the Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award from Poets & Writers, and the American Book Award for her book, All That Lies Between Us (Guernica Editions). Her latest book is The Place I Call Home (NY Quarterly Books). Her webpage is www.mariagillan.com. She is the Director of the Creative Writing Program/The Binghamton Center for Writers, and a Professor of Poetry at Binghamton University-State University of New York. In addition, she received the Chancellor?s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities from Binghamton University. Maria is the Founder and the Executive Director of the Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College in Paterson, NJ, and editor of the Paterson Literary Review. She has published fifteen books of poetry, including The Weather of Old Seasons (Cross-Cultural Communications), Where I Come From, Things My Mother Told Me, Italian Women in Black Dresses, and What We Pass On: Collected Poems 1980-2009 (all by Guernica Editions). She is co-editor with her daughter Jennifer of four anthologies: Unsettling America, Identity Lessons, and Growing Up Ethnic in America (Penguin/Putnam) and Italian-American Writers on New Jersey (Rutgers). She is the editor of the Paterson Literary Review. Her work has appeared in Prairie Schooner, New Letters, The New York Times, Paddlefish, Connecticut River Review, Poetry Ireland, Connecticut Review, The Los Angeles Review, The Christian Science Monitor, LIPS, and Rattle, as well as in numerous other journals and anthologies. Maria has won the 2008 Sheila Motton Award, Primo Nazionale Belmoro, the First Annual John Fante and Pietro di Donato Award, the Aniello Lauri Award, the May Sarton Award, the Fearing Houghton Award, New Jersey State Council on the Arts Fellowships in Poetry, and the American Literary Translators Association Award through a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. She has also received the New Jersey Governor?s Award for Literar
Praise for THE PLACE I CALL HOME: "The Place I Call Home by Maria Mazziotti Gillan contains some of the most honest poems about marriage and family a reader is likely ever to come across. The craft is there, the well chosen word or phrase, but the power of these poems comes also from the truth in them that is moving and rare. "--Marge Piercy Praise for ALL THAT LIES BETWEEN US: "These poems are powerful in their honesty, their passion and their grief. They take us deep into the labyrinth of our humanity and -- in the face of loss and death -- show us the paradox of love in the center of our being. "--Diane di Prima