2017 - 2018 READINGS at The Poetry Center at PCCC

The Poetry Center at PCCC offers readings as part of the Distinguished Poets Series,  and  also hosts readings with poets who have been finalists and winners of contests and awards sponsored by the Center, including The Paterson Poetry Prize and The Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards.

There is also an annual reading to celebrate the latest issue of the Paterson Literary Review and occasional anthologies sponsored by the Center.

Many of the readings and workshops offered at The Poetry Center are also featured on Maria Mazziotti Gillan's blog.

The Distinguished Poets Series of readings is held on Saturdays at 1 pm on the dates listed below at the Poetry Center, 32 Church Street, Paterson, New Jersey. (directions)

All readings are free and open to the public. Open readings follow the featured readers when time allows. 

Writing workshops are held on the mornings of these readings in the same location. Pre-registration is required for these workshops and a fee of $20 must be submitted with registration. For questions and to confirm that workshops are still open to registration, email sdesai@pccc.edu or call 973-684-6555.

The Poetry Center strives to maintain a barrier-free facility including complete access for patrons using wheelchairs, large print materials, and FM listening systems. Please contact 973-684-6555 for availability.



November 4, 2017    PLR Celebration Reading

Join the Poetry Center in celebrating 38 years of publishing the Paterson Literary Review (PLR) with a reading featuring many contributors to issue #45.  PLR features unpublished work by well-known writers, as well as by writers whose work is so good it should be better known.  Poems from PLR have appeared in Best American Poetry and the Pushcart Prize AnthologiesPLR has been chosen by the Library Journal, as one of the ten best literary journals in the country, and, in 2008, PLR was chosen as best journal by the Montserrat Review.

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December 2, 2017   Patricia Spears Jones & Diane Wakoski

Patricia Spears Jones is a Brooklyn-based African American poet and author of A Lucent Fire: New and Selected Poems (White Pine Press) and seven other collections and chapbooks. She is the 2017 Jackson Poetry Prize winner, a 2016 Pushcart Prize winner, and a recipient of a Barbara Deming Fund award. Her work is included in major anthologies, and two plays commissioned by Mabou Mines, the famed experimental theater company, were produced in New York City.  She is an emeritus fellow for the Black Earth Institute, and has read and led workshops at Poets House, St. Mark’s Poetry Project, and Naropa University.

Diane Wakoski is the author of over 60 published collections of poetry and prose, including Emerald Ice: Selected Poems 1962-1987 (Black Sparrow Press, 1988)—winner of the 1989 William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America—and her most recent book of poetry, Bay of Angels (Anhinga Press, 2013). Her honors include: a Fulbright fellowship, a Michigan Arts Foundation award, and grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Michigan Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York State Council on the Arts. Now retired, Wakoski was Poet in Residence and University Distinguished Professor at Michigan State University 1975-2012.

Workshop with Patricia Spears Jones or Diane Wakoski, 10 am to 12 pm- registration information

February 3, 2018   Allen Ginsberg Awards Winners Reading

First Prize:  Howard Berelson (Teaneck, NJ) & Robert A. Rosenbloom (Bound Brook, NJ) 

Second Prize:  Eileen Van Hook (Wanaque, NJ)                                                      

Third Prize:  Phillipa Scott (West Orange, NJ)                                          

Honorable Mention: Eric Berlin (Baldwinsville, NY); Roberta Bisgyer (Stamford, CT); Gina Bortolussi (Haworth, NJ); R. Bremner (Glen Ridge, NJ); Gil Fagiani (L.I.C., NY); Christopher Fahy (Thomaston, ME); Carlos Andrés Gómez (Forest Hills, NY); Eric Greinke (Rockford, MI); James D. Gwyn (Clifton, NJ); M.J. Harris (Upper Montclair, NJ); Josh Humphrey (Kearny, NJ); Leah Johnston-Rowbotham (Montclair, NJ); Adele Kenny (Fanwood, NJ); Barbara Krasner (Somerset, NJ); Leonard Kress (Bloomingdale, NJ); Stuart Leonard (Garwood, NJ); Antoinette Libro (Sea Isle City, NJ); Elizabeth Marchitti (Totowa, NJ); Pat Mottola (Cheshire, CT); John Smith (Frenchtown, NJ); Carole Stone (Verona, NJ); Muriel Harris Weinstein (Great Neck, NY); Sherida Yoder (North Haledon, NJ). 

Editor’s Choice: Donna L. Emerson (Petaluma, CA); Maria Fama (Philadelphia, PA); Nancy Lubarsky (Cranford, NJ); Kenneth Silvestri (Nyack, NY); Al Tacconelli (Wynnewood, PA); Kelly Terwilliger (Eugene, OR); Neal Zirn (Denver, CO).  

The Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards honor Allen Ginsberg’s contribution to American Literature.  Up to five unpublished poems may be submitted.  The awards are as follows:  first prize, $1,000; second prize, $200; third prize, $100.
Deadline: February 1, 2018.    Contest guidelines at www.poetrycenterpccc.com/awards/    

March 1, 2018  -  LOUDER THAN WORDS

The Poetry Center and the Office of Student Activities at Passaic County Community College present, “Louder Than Words,” a spoken word performance.  The free program will take place on Thursday, March 1 at 1:15 p.m. at the Founders Theater at PCCC (corner of Memorial Dr. and Ellison St.).  

reg e gaines, Angela Kariotis and Nicholas Rodriguez will perform their own original work.  All three performers have distinct professional backgrounds, and have worked extensively with underserved urban youth—using poetry, dance and music to address social change.  

reg e gaines is a two-time Tony Award-nominated playwright and Grammy Award-nominated lyricist, who has published four books of poetry, edited the 2015 poetry anthology, A Year In Ink, and scored the PBS documentary, Senior Year.  

Angela Kariotis is a writer, performer, and educator, who teaches at Seton Hall University.  Her work encapsulates the legacy of social protest theater.  Kariotis’ visceral and fluid presentations have resonated with audiences, and received favorable reviews, throughout the United States.  

Nicholas Rodriguez is a Juilliard graduate and Fulbright Scholar, who has taught and performed regionally and internationally.  His choreography has been presented at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Jacob’s Pillow and throughout South America. Rodriguez is also a playwright and his poems have been published in the Paterson Literary Review.

Parking is available in the PCCC Visitors Lot at the corner of Memorial Dr. and Ellison St. 

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March 3, 2018   Daniel Donaghy & reg e gaines

Daniel Donaghy is the author of two book-length collections of poems, Start with the Trouble (U of Arkansas Press) and Streetfighting (BkMk Press), and two chapbooks, Stadium Traffic and Kensington Avenue. Originally from Philadelphia, he is a Professor of English at Eastern Connecticut State University, where he teaches courses in poetry and poetry writing, and edits, with his students, a new poetry journal, called Here. While at Eastern, he has received the university's Connecticut State University System's Norton Mezvinsky Trustees Research Award and the Board of Regents Teaching Award. He is currently the Poet Laureate of Windham County in Connecticut.


reg e gaines is a two-time Tony Award-nominated playwright, Grammy Award-nominated lyricist, has published four books of poetry, is editor of the 2015 poetry anthology, A Year In Ink, and scored the PBS documentary, Senior Year. Recent projects include: director of Connect The Lots, a musical theater summer camp in Camden, New Jersey in 2014, director/creative writing workshop facilitator of “Through The Looking Glass,” Center Theater Group, Los Angeles California, 2014-2016, and director of Lyricist Fellowship Lab, Teaching Firm of America Charter School, Bedford Stuyvesant Brooklyn, in winter/spring 2017.


Workshop with Daniel Donaghy or reg e gaines, 10 am to 12 pm - registration information

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April 14, 2018
Reading by the Winner and Finalists of the 2017 Paterson Poetry Prize

Winner:  Kim Addonizio, Mortal Trash (W. W. Norton & Company, New York, NY)

Finalists: Kevin Carey, Jesus Was a Homeboy (CavanKerry Press, Fort Lee, NJ); Dante Di Stefano, Love Is a Stone Endlessly in Flight (Brighthorse Books, Omaha, NE); Gary Fincke, Bringing Back the Bones: New and Selected Poems (Stephen F. Austin State University Press, Nacogdoches, TX); M. L. Liebler, I Want to Be Once (Wayne State University Press, Detroit, MI); Colleen J. McElroy, Blood Memory (University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, PA); Yehoshua November, Two Worlds Exist (Orison Books, Asheville, NC); Brynn Saito, Power Made Us Swoon (Red Hen Press, Pasadena, CA).


The Paterson Poetry Prize of $1,000 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. Deadline: February 1, 2018.  Contest guidelines at www.poetrycenterpccc.com/awards/   


Kim Addonizio is the author of seven poetry collections, two novels, two story collections, and two books on writing poetry, The Poet’s Companion (with Dorianne Laux) and Ordinary Genius. She has received fellowships from the NEA and Guggenheim Foundation, two Pushcart Prizes, and was a National Book Award Finalist for her collection, Tell Me. Her latest books are Mortal Trash: Poems (W.W. Norton) and a memoir, Bukowski in a Sundress (Penguin). She recently collaborated on a chapbook, The Night Could Go in Either Direction (Slapering Hol) with poet Brittany Perham.


Colleen J. McElroy, Professor Emeritus, has published poems, fiction, and memoirs, including Here I Throw Down My Heart (2012), a finalist for the Binghamton University Milton Kessler Award, and the Phillis Wheatley/Harlem Book Award. In addition to the 1985 Before Columbus American Book Award, she has received fellowships from NEA, Dupont, and Fulbright.  Blood Memory from the University of Pittsburgh Press is her latest collection.


Workshop with Kim Addonizio or Colleen J. McElroy, 10 am to 12 pm - registration information

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May 5, 2018 Joseph Bathanti & Jill Bialosky

 Joseph Bathanti is former Poet Laureate of North Carolina (2012-14) and recipient of the 2016 North Carolina Award for Literature. He is author of 10 books of poetry, including The 13th Sunday after Pentecost (LSU, 2016). His books of fiction are East Liberty, CoventryThe High Heart, and The Life of the World to Come. His recent book of personal essays, Half of What I Say Is Meaningless, is the winner of the Will D. Campbell Award for Creative Nonfiction. Bathanti is Professor of Creative Writing at Appalachian State University, in North Carolina, and Writer-in-Residence in the University’s Watauga Residential College.


Jill Bialosky is the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir—History of a Suicide: My Sister’s Unfinished Life; four collections of poetry—The Players, Intruder, Subterranean, and The End of Desire; and three novels—The Prize, House Under Snow, and The Life Room. She is co-editor, with Helen Schulman, of the anthology, Wanting a Child.  Her poems and essays appear in The New Yorker, O Magazine, Paris Review, The Nation, The New Republic, Kenyon Review, and American Poetry Review, among other publications.


Workshop with Joseph Bathanti & Jill Bialosky, 10 am to 12 pm - registration information




"Celebrating the Poetic Legacy of Whitman, Williams and Ginsberg" - a literary festival and conference was held at the Poetry Center on June 3, 2017.

The event offered scholarly and creative panels that explored the legacy of Whitman, Williams, and Ginsberg and other American poets, who write in the same poetic tradition, as well as featured readings by Patricia Smith and Li-Young Lee.


More on this event

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