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Maria Mazziotti Gillan's Books

What We Pass On: Collected Poems: 1980-2009
Maria Mazziotti Gillan (Author) 

Guernica Editions, 2010
Trade Paperback
ISBN-13: 9781550713046 / ISBN-10: 1550713043

$ 30.00 (Canada)
$ 27.00 (United States)
Prices may vary

Browse other titles in Guernica Editions' Essential Poets Series 

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. {Guernica Editions}


All That Lies Between Us
Winner American Book Awards

ISBN 1-55071-261-6
$13 USA - $15 Canada

From the author of Italian Women in Black Dresses, Things My Mother Told Me, and Where I Come From comes this new volume, All That Lies Between Us, that continues the memoir in poetry that Maria Mazziotti Gillan has been constructing. Here we find the geography of the heart's home–not a physical but rather an emotional center around which she constructs the story of her life. Her world is populated by memories of growing up in the 1950's, her courtship and long marriage, her husband's illness, her children and grandchildren. But, at its center, is the woman she has become who struggles to deal with all the complexities of love and the difficulties of achieving compassion and tenderness in the face of adversity. Brave, honest, flat-out beautiful, these poems help us to understand what it means to be human.

Essays on Her Works

Edited by Sean Thomas Dougherty
ISBN 1-55071-250-0
$15 USA - $18 Canada

Cultural activist, teacher and editor Maria Mazziotti Gillan is one of the leaders of the multicultural turn in North American poetry. This volume of essays is the first to critically examine the poetry of this important writer and editor.

In a personal yet critical essay, her daughter, Jennifer Gillan, exhumes the role of kin and kinship networks in her mother's poetry. Tony Vallone examines the Italian-Americanness of Gillan's poems, while Joe Weil attempts to place Gillan's work in relation to a number of schools of American poetics. Rachel Guido DeVries articulates the Italian American feminist ingredients of Gillan's poems, and editor Sean Thomas Dougherty reads her work through contemporary theories of whiteness, class formation, and resistance.


Translation and preface by Elisabetta Marino
ISBN 88-7841-242

Talismans are objects marked with magical signs that confer protection. The poems' magical protection is in images evoked by Maria Mazziotti Gillan's lyrics. When remembering her mother in "Heritage" she writes, "This is the way it is with me/you are nested inside me/your voice a whisper that grows clearer/with each day." The hidden strength of a whisper reappears in "Black Dresses" a poem about old ladies of her youth, "and the women's whispers and laughter became/the music of a time when the world was small/enough to carry in their hands."

Where I Come from

"This is an intensely compelling poetry of all the human places we are given to live in. Her fellow poets have long known the remarkable heart Maria Mazziotti Gillan brings to all the commitments of her life. Here she tells the old time truths with a characteristic and indomitable wisdom"

To see some poems from Where I Come from click here.

Published 1995, 1997, Toronto, Canada;
Guernica Editions
Paul & Co, Publishers Consortium
2 Christie Heights St., Leonia, NJ 07605
Phone: 1-201-840-4748
Fax: 1-201-840-7148

Unsettling America

A powerful and moving collection of poems, Unsettling America stretches across the boundaries of skin color, language, ethnicity, and religion to redefine what it means to be an American by giving voice to experiences that have been denied, silenced and ignored. With extraordinary honesty, dignity, and insight, the poems in this anthology speak for people who are outside the main-stream of American life and who traditionally have been too poor or powerless to give adequate expression to their rage and humiliation. As these poets move between cultures, countries, and selves, they explode the myth that there is a single identity called "American".

New York: Viking Penguin
Books, 1994, 95, 96, 97, 98.
Available at all bookstores.

Identity Lessons:

Contemporary Writing About Learning to Be American, edited by Maria Mazziotti Gillan and Jennifer Gillan.

Identity Lessons
, which Penguin published as a paperback original in February of 1999 ($16.95), is a sweeping new anthology that gathers together the best contemporary writing on the different ways we were taught to be Americans. Featuring prose and poetry by Amiri Baraka, Robert Creeley, Edwidge Danticat, Allen Ginsberg, Grace Paley, Diane di Prima, and others Identity Lessons looks at the wide range of American experiences and the way they shape both our individual and cultural identities.

Identity Lessons
A Penguin Paperback Original $16.95
ISBN: 0140271678

Things my mother told me

ISBN I-5507I-02I-4. 128 Pages.
$15 Canada - $13 U.S.A.

Maria Mazziotti Gillan's Things My Mother Told Me is luminous, feisty, heartbreaking, and fiercely honest, often all in the space of a single poem. Her voice has the vigor 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 mysterious of the mother-daughter bond. "This is an intensely compelling poetry of all the human places we are given to live in" – Robert Creeley. Director of the Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College. Maria Mazziotti Gillan she published Where I Come From (Selected and New Poems) in 1994 with Guernica. She co-edited with Jennifer Gillan, Unsettling America (Penguin, 1994) and Idmtity Lcrsons (Penguin, 1999).

Growing up ethnic in America

Contemporary Fiction About Learning to Be American, edited by Maria Mazziotti Gillan and Jennifer Gillan.

Filled with humor, passion, and grace, Growing Up Ethnic in America features some of America's brightest voices in pieces that shed lights on the many ways individuals from distinctly ethnic backgrounds come to terms with the multicultural terrain that is America. These stories depict a variety of experiences, including poignant but failed attempts at conformity and the alienation often felt by ethnic Americans. But they also tell of the strength gained through the preservation of their communities, and the realization that it is often the difference from the norm that helps them to succeed.

A Penguin Paperback Original $16.95

Italian Women in Black Dresses

Illustration by Hono Lulu.
ISBN I-5507I-156-3.
$15 Canada - $13 U.S.A.

Italian Women in Black Dresses
reads like a memoir, detailing the life of a family across generations and giving us a moving and haunting portrait of the Italian mother who is the center around which the family revolves. The mother's stories and words shape the lives of her daughter and granddaughter, but this book is about much moiré than ethnicity. Gillan succeeds in transcending any single identity category and explores instead the multiple ways in which each of us learns to identify him or herself.