2016 - 2017 READINGS at The Poetry Center at PCCC

The Poetry Center at PCCC offers readings as part of the Distinguished Poets Series five times a year.

The Center also hosts readings with featured poets and with the winners of contests and awards sponsored by the Center, including The Paterson Poetry Prize and The Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards.

There is also a 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.

All readings are free and open to the public. Open readings will follow the featured readers on 12/3, 3/4, 4/1, and 5/6.

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 12, 2016 - 1pm
Paterson Literary Review Celebration Reading

Join the Poetry Center in celebrating 37 years of publishing the Paterson Literary Review (PLR) with a reading featuring many contributors to issue #44.

PLR features unpublished work by well-known writers, as well as by writers whose work is so good it should be better known.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 anthologies. PLR 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 a best journal by the Montserrat Review.


Called by Sandra Cisneros “the Pablo Neruda of North American authors,” Martín Espada has published more than fifteen books as a poet, editor, essayist and translator. His newest collection of poems is called The Leaves of El Moriviví (W.W. Norton & Company, 2016). Other books of poetry include: The Trouble Ball (2011) and The Republic of Poetry (2006), which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His honors include the Shelley Memorial Award, the Robert Creeley Award, the National Hispanic Cultural Center Literary Award, an American Book Award, the PEN/Revson Fellowship and a Guggenheim Fellowship. A graduate of Northeastern University Law School and a former tenant lawyer in Greater Boston’s Latino community, Espada is a professor of English at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

Born a few years before the Khmer Rouge takeover of Cambodia in 1975, Bunkong Tuon remembered very little of the atrocities in Cambodia. In 1979, he escaped with his grandmother and extended family to live in refugee camps in Thailand before settling in Malden, Massachusetts in the 1980s. In his first full-length collection, Gruel (2015, NYQ Books), Bunkong Tuon documents the lives of Cambodian refugees and explores the poetic landscape of a Cambodian America. His poetry and nonfiction have appeared in The New York Quarterly, The Paterson Literary Review, Chiron Review, The Más Tequila Review, Nerve Cowboy, Numéro Cinq, Misfit Magazine, and The Massachusetts Review, among others. He is an associate professor of English at Union College, in Schenectady, NY.

Writing workshops with Martín Espada or Bunkong Tuon will be held at 10 am to 12 pm - registration information

February 4, 2017
A Reading with the Winners and Honorable Mention Recipients of the 2016 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards

First Prize: Ann Clark (Dexter, NY) and Annie Lanzillotto (Yonkers, NY)

Second Prize: Lynne McEniry (Morristown, NJ)

Third Prize: Maxine Susman (Princeton, NJ)

Honorable Mention: Stanley H. Barkan (Merrick, NY); R. Bremner (Glen Ridge, NJ); Linda A. Cronin (Cedar Grove, NJ); R. G. Evans (Elmer, NJ); James D. Gwyn (Clifton, NJ); Matt Hohner (Baltimore, MD); Jean Hollander (Hopewell, NJ); Barbara Krasner (Somerset, NJ); Annette Krizanich (Vestal, NY); Michelle Lerner (Flanders, NJ); Antoinette Libro (Sea Isle City, NJ); Bruce Lowry (Summit, NJ); Nancy Lubarsky (Cranford, NJ); Francesca Maxime (Brooklyn, NY); Greg Moglia (Huntington, NY); Edwin Romond (Wind Gap, PA); Robert A. Rosenbloom (Bound Brook, NJ); Arthur Russell (Nutley, NJ); Dave Seter (Petaluma, CA); Lydia Distefano Thiel (Mentor, OH); Arne Weingart (Chicago, IL); John Sibley Williams (Milwaukie, OR); Sherida Yoder (North Haledon, NJ); Neal Zirn (Denver, CO).


Marie Howe is the author of three volumes of poetry, The Kingdom of Ordinary Time; The Good Thief; and What the Living Do, and she is the co-editor of a book of essays, In the Company of My Solitude: American Writing from the AIDS Pandemic.

Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Poetry, Agni, Ploughshares, Harvard Review, and The Partisan Review, among others. She has been a fellow at the Bunting Institute at Radcliffe College and a recipient of NEA and Guggenheim fellowships, and Stanley Kunitz selected Howe for a Lavan Younger Poets Prize from the American Academy of Poets. In 2015, she received the Academy of American Poets Poetry Fellowship, which recognizes distinguished poetic achievement. From 2012-2014, she served as the Poet Laureate of New York State.


President Barack Obama selected Richard Blanco to serve as the fifth inaugural poet in the U.S. Most recently, he has been named a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow, and published a memoir, The Prince of Los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood (2014), which received the 2015 Main Literary Award and the 2015 Lambda Literary Award. His most recent book of poetry, Looking for The Gulf Motel, won the Paterson Poetry Prize, Maine Literary Poetry Award, and Thom Gunn Award. Blanco has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, NPR’s All Things Considered, CNN, Telemundo, and PBS, and his poems and essays have appeared in numerous publications, including: the Best American Poetry series, the Nation, the New Republic, and Condé Nast Traveler. A builder of cities, as well as poems, he holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and Master in Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Florida International University.

Workshops with Marie Howe or Richard Blanco will be held from 10 am to 12 pm - registration information

April 1, 2017
A Reading by the Winner and Finalists of the 2016 Paterson Poetry Prize

Winner: Mark Doty, for Deep Lane (W. W. Norton & Company, New York, NY)

Mark Doty is the author of nine books of poetry, including Deep Lane, Fire to Fire: New and Selected Poems, which won the 2008 National Book Award, and My Alexandria, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the T.S. Eliot Prize in the UK. He is also the author of three memoirs: the New York Times-bestselling Dog Years, Firebird, and Heaven’s Coast, as well as a book about craft and criticism, The Art of Description: World into Word. Doty has received two NEA fellowships, Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundation Fellowships, a Lila Wallace/Readers Digest Award and the Witter Byner Prize. In 2011, Doty was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. Doty is a Distinguished Professor at Rutgers University, and also teaches in NYU’s low-residency MFA program in Paris.

Finalist: Richard Michelson, More Money Than God (Univ. of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, PA)

Richard Michelson’s many books for children, teens and adults have been listed among the Ten Best of the Year by The New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and The New Yorker; and among the best Dozen of the Decade by Amazon.com. He has been a finalist for the Massachusetts Book Award, the National Jewish Book Award, the Harlem Book Fest Wheatley Award, and he is the only author ever awarded both the Sydney Taylor Gold and Silver Medals in a single year from the Association of Jewish Librarians. Other awards include three Skipping Stones Multicultural Book Awards, a National Parenting Publication Gold Medal and an International Reading Association Teacher’s Choice Award.  Michelson hosts Northampton Poetry Radio, and served two terms as Poet Laureate of Northampton, MA.

Other Finalists: 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), Vivian Shipley, Perennial (Negative Capability Press, Mobile, AL)  

Workshops with Mark Doty or Richard Michelson will be held 10 am to 12 pm - registration information


Jan Beatty’s books include The Switching Yard (2013), Red Sugar (2008, Finalist, Paterson Prize), Boneshaker (2002, Finalist, Milton Kessler Award), and Mad River (1994 Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize), all published by the University of Pittsburgh Press. For the past twenty years, Beatty has hosted and produced Prosody, a public radio show featuring national writers on NPR affiliate WESA-FM. Awards include publication in Best American Poetry 2013, the Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry, two PCA fellowships, and the Creative Achievement Award from the Heinz Foundation. She is a professor of English at Carlow University, where she directs the creative writing program, runs the Madwomen in the Attic Writing Workshops, and teaches in the MFA program.

Major Jackson is the author of four collections of poetry:  Roll Deep (2015); Holding Company (2010); Hoops (2006); and Leaving Saturn (2002), which was awarded the Cave Canem Poetry Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry.  His poems and essays have appeared in AGNI, American Poetry Review, Callaloo, The New Yorker, Ploughshares, Poetry, Tin House and in Best American Poetry.  He is a recipient of a Pushcart Prize, a Whiting Writers’ Award, and has been honored by the Pew Fellowship in the Arts and the Witter Bynner Foundation in conjunction with the Library of Congress. Jackson lives in South Burlington, Vermont, where he is the Richard Dennis Green and Gold Professor at the University of Vermont.  He serves as the Poetry Editor of the Harvard Review.  

Registration information for the workshop with Jan Beatty or Major Jackson at 10 am to 12 pm


June 3, 2017   Celebrating the Poetic Legacy of Whitman, Williams and Ginsberg: A Literary Festival and Conference

The festival will include readings and workshops by Patricia Smith and Li-Young Lee, and offer a series of scholarly and creative panels that explore the legacy of Whitman, Williams, and Ginsberg or other American poets, who write in the same poetic tradition.  Please see our Festival site for further information.


Patricia Smith is the author of six books of poetry, including: Blood Dazzler, a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award and one of NPR’s Top 5 Books of 2008; Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah (2012), winner of the 2013 Lenore Marshall Prize from the Academy of American Poets, the 2014 Bobbitt National Prize from the Library of Congress, and finalist for the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America; and Teahouse of the Almighty (2006), a National Poetry Series selection and winner of the Hurston/Wright Award.  Smith is winner of the Chautauqua Literary Journal Award and two Push-cart Prizes for “Laugh Your Troubles Away” and “The Way Pilots Walk.” Current projects include:  Gotta Go Gotta Flow Gotta Blow, Smith’s poetry combined with photography by Michael Abrasion; a coffee table book of poetry and 19th-century photos of African Americans; and her seventh volume of collected work.


Li-Young Lee is the author of the book of poetry, Behind My Eyes (2008), and a chapbook, The Word from His Song (2016).  His earlier collections are Book of My Nights (2001); Rose (1986), winner of the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award from New York University; The City in Which I Love You (1991), the 1990 Lamont Poetry Selection; and a memoir entitled The Winged Seed: A Remembrance (1995), which received an American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation and will be reissued by BOA Editions in 2012.  Honors include: fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Lannan Foundation, and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, as well as grants from the Illinois Arts Council, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. He lives in Chicago with his wife and two sons.


You may register for a workshop with Patricia Smith or Li-Young Lee at 10 am – 12 pm