Mark Doty Is the 2016 Paterson Poetry Prize Winner

The Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College is pleased to announce that the 2016 Paterson Poetry Prize winner is Mark Doty for Deep Lane (W. W. Norton & Company, New York, NY).

In Deep Lane, Mark Doty writes of "the wild unsayable," yet manages in this brilliant book to find the precise words to describe what it means to be alive and human with all our flaws. He leads us on a brave journey through grief and loss and joy, to all that lies below the surface of our lives, all the hard-earned moments that redeem us.

FINALISTS for 2016 are:

  • Reginald Dwayne Betts, Bastards of the Reagan Era (Four Way Books, New York, NY)
  • Tony Hoagland, Application for Release from the Dream (Graywolf Press, Minneapolis, MN)
  • Patricia Spears Jones, A Lucent Fire: New & Selected Poems (White Pine Press, Buffalo, NY)
  • Adele Kenny, A Lightness, A Thirst, or Nothing at All (Welcome Rain Publishers, New York, NY)
  • Richard Michelson, More Money Than God (University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, PA)
  • Vivian Shipley, Perennial (Negative Capability Press, Mobile, AL)

The Paterson Poetry Prize of $1000 is given annually by the Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College to a book of poetry (48 pages or more) published in the previous year, with a minimum press run of 500 copies.

The Poetry Center was named a Distinguished Arts Project and awarded several Citations of Excellence, and is funded, in part, by a grant from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.

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Carlton D. Fisher, Watertown, NY, “The Young Suicide’s World Atlas”

Lisa Coll Nicolaou, Fair Lawn, NJ, “My true religion is kindness”


Mary Makofske, Warwick, NY, “In My Mother’s Kitchen”

Carole Stone, Verona, NJ, “Knowledge”


Gail Fishman Gerwin, Morristown, NJ, “A State in Mind”

Donna Baier Stein, Bernardsville, NJ, “Cover-Ups”



  • Howard Berelson, Teaneck, NJ, “Kaddish for You”
  • Ann Clark, Dexter, NY, “Permanent Record”
  • Mary Crosby, Ringwood, NJ, “Big Sky Country”
  • Mary Kennedy Eastham, San Jose, CA “A Hy,mn for Wish”
  • Donna L. Emerson, Petaluma, CA, “First Day of Kindergarten and Eleven Years Later”
  • Brian Faneilli, Carbondale, PA, “Immigrant Names”
  • Deborah Gerrish, Murray Hill, NJ, “The Anointed Cow”
  • James D. Gwyn, Clifton, NJ, “Madison Avenue Doesn’t Speak to Me”
  • Barbara Hoffman, West Babylon, NY, “Burnt Offerings”
  • Josh Humphrey, Kearny, NJ, “Rena Stoll on the Titanic”
  • Annette Krizanich, Vestal, NY, “Apology to my Mother”
  • Annie Lanzillotto, Yonkers, NY, “My Grandmother’s Handwriting “
  • Greg Moglia, Huntington, NY, “The Lover’s Gift”
  • Gloria G. Murray, Deer Park, NY, “Rejection alamode”
  • Howard Nelson, Moravia, NY ,“Morning Mass”
  • Edwin Romond, Wind Gap, PA, “Coda”
  • Penelope Scambly Schott, Portland, OR, “Dahlia”
  • Al Tacconelli, Wynnewood, PA, “Foraging Frittata”
  • Lynne Viti, Westwood, MA, “Pa tissie re”
  • Neal Zirn, Denver, CO “New to Single Parenting”



  • Linda A. Cronin, Cedar Grove, NJ, “My Father Teaches Me About Desire”
  • Suzanne Rae Deshchidn, Swartswood, NJ, “Cradleboards”
  • Maria Fama, Philadelphia, PA, “Cuore Di Leone”
  • Martin Golan, Verona, NJ, “Glimpse of a Father, Hiding”
  • Charles H. Johnson, Hillsborough, NJ, “Cezanne in a Dumpster”
  • Antoinette Libro, Sea Isle City, NJ, “Adonis of the Discarded”
  • Maria Lisella, Long Island City, NY, “Gyroscope”
  • Elizabeth Marchitti, Totowa, NJ, “Mother’s Snuggies”
  • Frank L. Niccoletti, West Orange, NJ, “Grade 5: The Poem About The Blue Leaf”
  • Joan Page-Durante, Ringwood, NJ, “Ode to Yo-Yo Ma”
  • Maude Carolan Pych, Totowa Borough, NJ, “The Other Woman”
  • Jim Reese, Yankton, SD, “This isn’t Dress Rehearsal”
  • Myra Shapiro, New York, NY, “Chenille//Caterpillar//Chenille”
  • Donna Spector, Warwick, NY, “All That Remains”
  • Eileen VanHook, Wanaque, NJ, “Uncle Jim”
  • Peggy Vassalo, West Orange, NJ, “I Remember Louis at the Funeral Home…”
  • Edytta Anna Wojnar, Ringwood, NJ, “Doing Dishes with My Son”
  • Sherida Yodar, North Haledon, NJ ,“Mrs. Bennett”


Award Winners’ Reading — February 6, 2016, at the Hamilton Club Building, 32 Church Street, 2nd Floor, Paterson, NJ



B. H. Fairchild, The Blue Buick: New and Selected Poems (W. W. Norton & Company, New York, NY)
In The Blue Buick: New and Selected Poems, B.H. Fairchild displays a candidness and spontaneity that is rare. There is an excitement that ripples through his work. His voice is unflinchingly direct but tender, and he is fearless in his willingness to engage in even the most controversial subjects.


  • Ellen Bass, Like a Beggar (Copper Canyon Press, Port Townsend, WA)
  • Teresa Carson, My Crooked House (CavanKerry Press, Fort Lee, NJ)
  • Linda Hogan, Dark. Sweet. New & Selected Poems (Coffee House Press, Minneapolis, MN)
  • Teresa Leo, Bloom in Reverse (University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, PA)
  • Alison Luterman, Desire Zoo (Tia Chucha Press, San Fernando, CA)


Paterson Award for Sustained Literary Achievement for Previous Winners of the Paterson Poetry Prize

  • Sherman Alexie, What I’ve Stolen, What I’ve Earned (Hanging Loose Press, Brooklyn, NY)
  • Stephen Dunn, Lines of Defense (W. W. Norton & Company, New York, NY)
  • Louise Glück, Faithful and Virtuous Night (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, NY)
  • Maxine Kumin, And Short the Season (W. W. Norton & Company, New York, NY)
  • Alicia Suskin Ostriker, The Old Woman, the Tulip, and the Dog (University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, PA)
  • Luis J. Rodriguez, Poems Across the Pavement (Tia Chucha Press, San Fernando, CA)
  • Gerald Stern, Divine Nothingness (W. W. Norton & Company, New York, NY)


Paterson Award for Literary Excellence for Previous Finalists of the Paterson Poetry Prize

  • Eavan Boland, A Woman Without a Country (W. W. Norton & Company, New York, NY)
  • Jericho Brown, The New Testament (Copper Canyon Press, Port Townsend, WA)
  • Grace Cavalieri, The Mandate of Heaven (Bordighera Press, New York, NY)
  • Sean Thomas Dougherty, All You Ask for Is Longing: New and Selected Poems 1994-2014 (BOA Editions, Ltd., Rochester, NY)
  • January Gill O’Neil, Misery Islands (CavanKerry Press, Fort Lee, NJ)
  • Afaa Michael Weaver, City of Eternal Spring (University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, PA)



Marilynne Robinson, Lila (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, NY)

Marilynne Robinson's Lila is a haunting and mesmerizing novel of grit and grace and of the way our past impacts our present. Robinson is a literary archaeologist who delves the deepest levels of her protagonist's psychological landscape to create a profoundly moving work of fiction.
— Laura Boss, Judge


  • Michael Cunningham, The Snow Queen (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, NY)
  • Jim Ray Daniels, Eight Mile High (Michigan State University Press, East Lansing, MI)
  • Murray Farish, Inappropriate Behavior (Milkweed Editions, Minneapolis, MN)
  • Lisa Lenzo, Strange Love (Wayne State University Press, Detroit, MI)
  • Helen Oyeyemi, Boy, Snow, Bird (Riverhead Books, New York, NY)
  • Lee Upton, The Tao of Humiliation (BOA Editions, Ltd., Rochester, NY)
  • Sarah Waters, The Paying Guests (Riverhead Books, New York, NY)




Grades Pre-K – 3
Jean-François Dumont, The Sheep Go On Strike (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, Grand Rapids, MI)
Edith Hope Fine, Sleepytime Me (Random House Children’s Books, New York, NY)

Grades 4 – 6
Kwame Alexander, The Crossover (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books, New York, NY)
Amy Gordon, Painting the Rainbow (Holiday House, New York, NY)

Grades 7 – 12
Isabel Quintero, Gabi, A Girl in Pieces (Cinco Puntos Press, El Paso, TX)
Lydia Millet, Pills and Starships (Black Sheep/Akashic Books, New York, NY)

Honor Books – 2015 Paterson Prize for Books for Young People

  • Skila Brown, Caminar (Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA)
  • Mary Newell DePalma, Two Little Birds (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, Grand Rapids, MI)
  • Russell Freedman, Because They Marched: The People’s Campaign for Voting Rights That Changed America (Holiday House, New York, NY)
  • Susan Kuklin, Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out (Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA)
  • Bobbi Miller, The Girls of Gettysburg (Holiday House, New York, NY)
  • Linda Vigen Phillips, Crazy (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, Grand Rapids, MI)
  • Chris Platt, Wind Dancer (Peachtree Publishers, Atlanta, GA)
  • Mara Rockliff, The Grudge Keeper (Peachtree Publishers, Atlanta, GA)
  • Julie Sternberg, The Top-Secret Diary of Celie Valentine: Friendship Over (Boyds Mills Press, Honesdale, PA)
  • Giovanna Zoboli & Simona Mulazzani, The Big Book of Slumber (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, Grand Rapids, MI)
  • CeCelia R. Zorn, Angels Don’t Get Tattoos (Dog Ear Publishing, Indianapolis, IN)


Paterson Poetry Prize 2014: Billy Collins

The Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College annually gives the Paterson Poetry Prize for a book of poems, selected by the judges as the strongest collection of poems published in that year.

The winning book for 2014 is Billy Collins latest collection, Aimless Love: New and Selected Poems (Random House, New York, NY).

Paterson Poetry Prize Finalists for 2014

Billy Collins is the author of many books of poetry and has become one of the best known and best-selling poets in America. His books include Horoscopes for the Dead: Poems (Random House, 2012); Ballistics: Poems (2008); She Was Just Seventeen, a 2006 haiku collection; The Trouble with Poetry (2005); Nine Horses (2002); Sailing Alone Around the Room: New and Selected Poems (2001); Picnic, Lightning (1998); The Art of Drowning (1995), which was a finalist for the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize; Questions About Angels (1991), which was selected by Edward Hirsch for the National Poetry Series; The Apple That Astonished Paris (1988); Video Poems (1980); and Pokerface (1977).

Collins has edited Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry (Random House, 2003), an anthology of contemporary poems for use in schools and was a guest editor for the 2006 edition of The Best American Poetry.

Collins served as U.S. Poet Laureate from 2001 to 2003, and as the New York State Poet Laureate from 2004 to 2006. His other honors and awards include the Mark Twain Prize for Humor in Poetry, as well as fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation. In 1992, he was chosen by the New York Public Library to serve as “Literary Lion.” He has conducted summer poetry workshops in Ireland at University College Galway, and taught at Columbia University, Sarah Lawrence, and taught for many years at Lehman College (CUNY). He lives in New York and Florida.

Billy Collins was the featured reader on May 9, 2015 at the Poetry Center along with all the finalists (except Charles Simic) at the historic Hamilton Club Building in Paterson, NJ.


Announcing The Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards for 2014

The Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards, honoring Allen Ginsberg’s contributions to American Literature, are given annually to poets, both established and emerging.

The winning poets for 2014 are:

First Prize—Linda A. Cronin, Cedar Grove, NJ, “Because It’s Mine,” and Linda Hillringhouse, Englewood, NJ, “The Bristol Plaza Hotel, Wildwood;”

Second Prize—Dante Di Stefano, Endwell, NY, “A Morning Prayer While Pumping Gas at the Gulf Gas Station,” and Abby E. Murray, Endicott, NY, “A Poem for Ugly People;”

Third Prize—Jason Allen, Binghamton, NY, “Pop,” and Kenneth Ronkowitz, Cedar Grove, NJ, “That Summer Between.”


Honorable Mention recipients, some also participating in the awards reading, include:

Jane Bridges, Ann Arbor, MI; Suzanne Rae Deshchidn, Newton, NJ; Daniel Donaghy, Willington, CT; George Drew, Poestenkill, NY; Gil Fagiani, Long Island City, NY; Brian Fanelli, Kingston, PA; Gail Fishman Gerwin, Morristown, NJ; Deborah Gerrish, Murray Hill, NJ; James D. Gwyn, Clifton, NJ; Pat Hardigree, Bordentown, NJ; Annette Krizanich, Vestal, NY; Antoinette Libro, Sea Isle City, NJ; Maria Lisella, Long Island City, NY; Nancy Lubarsky, Cranford, NJ; Mary Makofske, Warwick, NY; Greg Moglia, Huntington, NY; Colleen Michaels, Beverly,MA; Pat Mottola, Cheshire, CT; Frank Niccoletti, West Orange, NJ; Christopher Parker, Montclair, NJ; Vittoria Repetto, New York, NY; Robert A. Rosenbloom, Bound Brook, NJ; Susan Rothbard, Fairfield, NJ; Lori Ruzich, Verona, NJ; Donna Spector, Warwick, NY; and Al Tacconelli, Wynnewood, PA.

The winners of the 2014 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards each gave a reading at the awards ceremony on February 7, 2015, at the Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College.