In the spirit of National Poetry Month, and the English Department’s reading theme of “The Immigrant Experience,” poet Maria Mazziotti Gillan read selections of her work during an Upper School assembly on April 8.
Ms. Mazziotti Gillan is the Founder/Executive Director of the Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College in Paterson, New Jersey; Director of the Creative Writing Program and Professor of Poetry at SUNY Binghamton; and editor of the Paterson Literary Review. She has also published eleven books of poetry, including The Weather of Old Seasons, Where I Come From, Things My Mother Told Me, and Italian Women in Black Dresses.
Additionally, she is the co-editor, along with her daughter Jennifer, of four anthologies: Unsettling America, Identity Lessons,Growing Up Ethnic in America, and Italian-American Writers on New Jersey. Her latest book, All That Lies Between Us. won the American Book Award.
York Prep English teacher Leah Mandel, a former poetry student of Ms. Mazziotti Gillan at Binghamton University and now a published poet herself, said, “Not only have her poems on the themes of childhood, the immigrant experience, and family inspired me as a poet, but they have also inspired me professionally as an English teacher. Her warmth, kindness and determination are in her every breath and therefore are in her every poem.”
After the assembly, many students reacted favorably to the reading. “She really connected with me,” said Marco, a sophomore. Eleventh grader Stefan thought the reading was “powerful but sad.” Ms. Carel, Chair of the English Department said, “What a wonderful assembly that was! And our students responded so well! Her poetry came up in every class that I taught today. She is a treasure!