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In WHAT WE PASS ON: COLLECTED POEMS: 1980-2009, Maria Mazziotti Gillan weaves a tapestry of one woman's life—wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, grand-daughter, Italian American. Reading these poems in one volume makes us acutely aware of how memory is layered, each new poem adding another detail, another color, another perspective so that we watch as the poet and the people around her change. With increasing clarity and honesty, Gillan peels away all the self-protective layers and invites us in so we can see in her story a reflection of our own. Her work in all its texture and exuberance, its passion and power, forces us to care about what matters and teaches us to be human. This is a poet who, in these courageous poems, teaches us why poetry matters and why it can change us.
This book is luminous, feisty, heart breaking, and fiercely honest, often all in the space of a single poem. Her voice has the vigour and industrial strength grit of Grace Paley's, and there is genuine wisdom here, an intelligence born of direct experience. These poems are a breath of fresh air in contrast to the fetid self obsession of so much contemporary verse... a real pleasure...a must read for anyone who has ever experienced the deep joys, agonies, and mysteries of the mother, daughter bond.
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.
Poetry. In THE SILENCE OF AN EMPTY HOUSE, Maria Mazziotti Gillan comes to the limit of human experience, stares death in the face, and struggles to keep moving. These moments she faces and speaks of so clearly are unavoidable, and the long illness and death of her husband, Dennis, is her personal version of the fundamental struggle we all face. THE SILENCE OF AN EMPTY HOUSE speaks of forgiveness, guilt and grace. With courage and a stubborn refusal to look away from the terrors that surround her on so many levels, Gillan documents the parallels between our own struggles with mortality and the struggles being played out on the world stage today. From wars to climate change to the death of whole species to her own struggles with the deaths of her husband, family and friends, she makes each of these battles the reader's own, and gives order and meaning to those fundamental things that otherwise threaten to capsize us.
Collects poetry from the author's eleven published collections along with over fifty previously unpublished poems.
Constructed in the form of a memoir, these poems take on an emotional tone as the author details the story of her life. The collection is populated by her memories of childhood, courtships and marriage, family illness, children, and grandchildren. At its core is a woman struggling to deal with all the complexities of love and the difficulties of achieving compassion and tenderness in the face of adversity. Brave, honest, and beautiful, these poems shed new light on what it means to be human.
In WHAT BLOOMS IN WINTER, Maria Mazziotti Gillan finds cause to celebrate the clarity and comfort of people and times past. This book is a praise song for all that is human and that survives despite grief and loss. It is one woman's story of an immigrant girl growing up in the 1950s in Paterson, NJ, and seeing over a distance of so many years all that she was given to carry into her life as a woman--wife, mother, daughter, grandmother, widow, and arts and eco-activist. All these experiences and people have formed her into the indomitable woman she is. Laced with humor and optimism, this book leads us to believe that flowers that bloom in winter out of hard ground have their own audacious beauty.

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