On November 18th at Passaic County Community College’s Hamilton Club Gallery a poetry reading, and art reception were hosted. The event was hosted by PCCC’s Executive Director of the Poetry center Maria Mazziotti Gillian.
The event was put on to display art pieces made by the self taught artists Maria Mazziotti Gillian, and Linda Hillringhouse, as well as for a live poetry reading. The poetry reading was presented by authors of poems that made it into the latest edition of Paterson Literary Review, as well as the two artists on display. All poems read during the reading came straight from the Literary Review from various talented poets.
Before the poetry reading portion of the event was an open viewing of the art pieces made by the pair of women. On display were pieces such as Woman in Veil, by Linda Hillringhouse, and Turban with roses, by Maria Mazziotti Gillian.
As the two women are both self-taught artists you can see a lot of creativity in their work, and some pieces you can see are pretty similar stylistically. There is a reason for this as said by Gillian “We’ve influenced each other's art”.
Gillian described memories of painting together with Hillringhouse, how they would inspire one another with new and different ways to explore their art.
Hillringhouse specifically had a deep connection between her poems and paintings stating, “Those poems got represented in my painting without me even knowing.”
The first poem in her most recent book The Things I Didn’t Know to Wish For “New Dress” had a particular impact on many of her paintings. Specifically in the poem it features a clock that is stuck on the time of 7:00, in which she said many of her paintings involving clocks unknowingly were set on the time of 7:00.
Gillian, who hosted the event was the first to read during the poetry event, also recently published a book of poetry, titled When the Stars Were Still Visible. In her words this book is about “Tracing back to a time when she was a kid”, as well as “What it was like growing up as an immigrant.”
“When I was a kid you could see the stars, now because of light pollution and normal pollution you can only see one or two.”
Gillian has a hope that her books can connect people “I want to build a bridge between myself and others with my poetry.”
Mazziotti Gillian hosted the poetry portion of the event. It started out by thanking all the poets who contributed to the Paterson literary review. A thank you to Event Curator Susan Balik and everyone that continues to help the Literary magazine.
The Paterson Literary review is a journal where poets from all over the country had their poetry chosen for the magazine. According to the Paterson Literary Review website, The Paterson Literary Review is a well respected publisher of poetry.
For the past forty years they have provided publishing for many poets like Allen Ginsberg, William Stafford, Sonia Sanchez, and many more.
The poets were on stage alphabetically to read one piece of their work. The subject matter of the poems were distinct for each person. Some involve family stories, events that have happened in their life, or something they are really passionate about.
An open mic for poetry was available at the end for anyone interested. The event was well organized, engaging for anyone interested in poetry, and gave information for people who aren’t familiar with poetry.
In interviewing Mazziotti Gillian, she wanted to let the people that “The magazine is written by people who happen to be poets for other people. Not necessarily for poets, academics, or intellectuals but for people. Poems about Mothers and Fathers, Mothers and Daughters, poems about ordinary life”
Overall the exhibit not only showed poetry and art, it inspires people to keep creating this type of literature and art