Grades Pre-K – 3 Winner
Lori Haskins Houran, Warts and All (Albert Whitman & Company, Chicago, IL)

Grades 4 – 6 Winner
Ruth Freeman, One Good Thing About America (Holiday House, New York, NY)

Grades 7 – 12 Winner
Mariko Tatsumoto, Gutless (Ichiban Books, Pagosa Springs, CO)


Grades Pre-K – 3
Gretchen Brandenburg McLellan, Mrs. McBee Leaves Room 3 (Peachtree, Atlanta, GA)
Larissa M. Mercado-López, Esteban de Luna, Baby Rescuer! (Arte Público Press, Houston, TX)
Barbara Nye, Somewhere A Bell Is Ringing (Penny Candy Books, Oklahoma City, OK)

Grades 4 – 6
Alison Hart, Leo, Dog of the Sea (Peachtree, Atlanta, GA)
Edward van de Vendel, Sam in Winter (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, Grand Rapids, MI)
Ellen Wittlinger, Saturdays with Hitchcock (Charlesbridge, Watertown, MA)

Grades 7 – 12
Michael Currinder, Running Full Tilt (Charlesbridge, Watertown, MA)
Seth Michelson, Dreaming America (Settlement House Books, Silver Spring, MD)
Donovan Mixon, Ahgottahandleonit (Cinco Puntos Press, El Paso TX)



Jim Reese, Yankton, SD “Dancing Room Only”
Maria Fama, Philadelphia, PA “Cu Tantu Si Cala ‘U Culu Si Para”
Lorraine Conlin, Wantagh, NY “New Suit”

Howard Berelson, Teaneck, NJ “My Father was a piece of paper”
R. Bremner, Glen Ridge, NJ “She wore a raspberry beret”
Shane Carreon, Binghamton, NY “Knock on wood”
David Crews, Warren, NJ “Sitting on the Floor at Poets House”
Anthony DeGregorio, Kent Lakes, NY “Poem”
Gil Fagiani, Long Island City, NY “Veal Cutlets”
Christopher Fahy, Thomaston, ME “The Limits of Song”
Mary Fitzpatrick, Pasadena, CA “Marie Josephine Dallaire, Ottawa, 1874”
Christie Grimes, Sackets Harbor, NY “Six months later”
James D. Gwyn, Clifton, NJ “Elvis Hair”
Josh Humphrey, Kearny, NJ “The Sweet Carpenter”
Frances Lombardi-Grahl, Clifton, NJ “Inheritance”
Nancy Lubarsky, Cranford, NJ “Vacation Bible School”
Francesca Maxime, Brooklyn, NY “The Man on the Train”
Greg Moglia, Huntington, NY “When I Was Young and Mother Wasn't Old”
Marilyn Mohr, West Orange, NJ “Convoy Number 34”
Gloria G. Murray, Deer Park, NY “My Sister Changed Her Name”
Rachelle M. Parker, Montclair, NJ “Momma's Eyes Are Half Full With Sadness
and I Will Have to Tell Her One Day When I Can Speak, How I Waited”
Jennifer Poteet, Montclair, NJ “Yuletide, 1976”
Natasha Rabin, Nyack, NY “Back to the Future”
Bernadette Roe, Endicott, NY “Family Secrets”
Edwin Romond, Wind Gap, PA “Night Sounds”
Arthur Russell, Nutley, NJ “The Heavier Stone”
Donna Baier Stein, Bernardsville, NJ “My Father in Pictures”
Maxine Susman, Princeton, NJ “What's Left”
Eileen Van Hook, Wanaque, NJ “Old Ladies”
Sherida Yoder, North Haledon, NJ “Physical Education”
Neal Zirn, Denver, CO “Your Eyes”

Charles W. Brice, Pittsburgh, PA “Deal Me In”
Judith A. Brice, Pittsburgh, PA “The Circle Closes”
Okey Chenoweth, Oakland, NJ “The Rain Has Never Been to School”
Linda Nemec Foster, Grand Rapids, MI “Memories of an Immigrant Childhood”
Deborah Gerrish, Murray Hill, NJ “A Secret Correspondence”
Annie Lanzillotto, Yonkers, NY “Three Italians on The Block”
Antoinette Libro, Sea Isle City, NJ “Imagining America”
Maria Lisella, Long Island City, NY “Couple on the curb”
Frank Niccoletti, West Orange, NJ “My Watch In a Sow's Ear”
Christine Redman-Waldeyer, Manasquan, NJ “Napkins and Chinatown”
Kenneth Silvestri, Nyack, NY “When my now adult children were young”
Al Tacconelli, Wynnewood, PA “Objects of Memories”
Bob Ward, Brooklyn, NY “I Will Be Grateful”

Jan Beatty is the 2018 Paterson Poetry Prize Winner

The Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College is pleased to announce that the 2018 Paterson Poetry Prize winner is Jan Beatty for her book, Jackknife: New and Selected Poems (University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, PA). 

"Jackknife is a book that secures Jan’s place in American literature
as one of the fiercest and bravest poets writing today." — Maria Mazziotti Gillan

Cheryl Boyce-Taylor, Arrival: Poems (Northwestern University Press, Evanston, IL)
Jim Daniels, Rowing Inland (Wayne State University Press, Detroit, MI)
Judy Grahn, Hanging on Our Own Bones (Red Hen Press, Pasadena, CA)
Nicole Homer, Pecking Order (Write Bloody Publishing, Los Angeles, CA)
Christine Kitano, Sky Country (BOA Editions, Ltd., Rochester, NY)
Meghan O’Rourke, Sun in Days (W. W. Norton & Co., New York, NY)
Benjamin Alire Sáenz, The Last Cigarette on Earth (Cinco Puntos Press, El Paso, TX)
Cindy Veach, Gloved Against Blood (CavanKerry Press, Fort Lee, NJ)

The Paterson Poetry Prize of $1,000 is given annually by the Poetry Center to a book of poetry (48 pages or more) published in the previous year.

The submission deadline for books published in 2018 is February 1, 2019. For 2019 award rules and application forms, visit www.poetrycenterpccc.com/awards/. For questions, contact sdesai@pccc.edu.

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 State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Download a printable pdf winner’s flyer

The Alin Papazian Poetry Center Memorial Fund Honors Former Arts Administrator

The Poetry Center at Passaic County Community (PCCC) received a $10,000 donation from Albert Papazian in honor of his wife, Alin, who worked at the Center as an arts administrator for nineteen years. The Alin Papazian Poetry Center Memorial Fund, set up as an endowment through the College Foundation, will support Poetry Center programming. 

A trailblazer in her family, Alin emigrated from Turkey to the U.S. in 1956, at the age of 17, to attend Vassar College on scholarship.  After graduating from college, Alin moved to New York City and worked as a physical chemist for ten years at the Thomas J. Watson IBM Research Center in Yorktown Heights, NY, at a time when it was unusual for a women to get a research job in the hard sciences. She holds two patents.

Alin married Albert in 1965, and had two children, Elizabeth and Gregory. While her children were young, she held part-time jobs in computer programming and in a lab specializing in AIDS research.  A former resident of Ridgewood, NJ, Alin gave back to her community through volunteer work, which included organizing performing arts events. This led to her taking a job in 1991, as an assistant director in the Cultural Affairs Department at PCCC, where she worked until her retirement in 2010. She loved working in the department, especially on Poetry Center programming, and her energy and organizational skills were legendary throughout the College. 

Alin Papazian with her husband, Albert, at her retirement party from Passaic County Community College on June 8, 2010. The Alin Papazian Poetry Center Memorial Fund, set up by Albert as an endowment through the College Foundation, will support Poetry Center programming, including workshops, readings, a literary magazine and contests. 

Alin Papazian with her husband, Albert, at her retirement party from Passaic County Community College on June 8, 2010. The Alin Papazian Poetry Center Memorial Fund, set up by Albert as an endowment through the College Foundation, will support Poetry Center programming, including workshops, readings, a literary magazine and contests. 

“Alin’s intelligence, patience and devotion were treasured by the Cultural Affairs family, as she called us.  I am grateful for all that she contributed to the Poetry Center and my life,” said Maria Mazziotti Gillan, executive director of Cultural Affairs at PCCC and founder of the Poetry Center.  Since its founding in 1980, the Center has hosted thousands of poets of national and international reputation through workshops, readings and conferences, publishes the Paterson Literary Review and other anthologies, coordinates four literary contests, and partners with community organizations to run arts programming.

2017 Paterson Poetry Prize Winner & Honor Books

The 2017 Paterson Poetry Prize winner is Kim Addonizio for her collection Mortal Trash (W. W. Norton & Company, New York, NY).


Honor Books

  • 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)

Winners of the 2017 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards

2017 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards


First Prize: Howard Berelson, Teaneck, NJ, “Last Night”

Robert A. Rosenbloom, Bound Brook, NJ, “Dear Amy”


Second Prize:  Eileen Van Hook, Wanaque, NJ “Thanksgiving Memory”

Third Prize: Phillipa Scott, West Orange, NJ, “Hoboken, 1990”

Honorable Mention:

  • Eric Berlin, Baldwinsville, NY, “The Binding”

  • Roberta Bisgyer, Stamford, CT, “pretty is as pretty does”

  • Gina Bortolussi, Haworth, NJ, “Barnes Avenue”

  • R. Bremner, Glen Ridge, NJ, “Uncle Harold and Uncle Raymond”

  • Gil Fagiani, L.I.C., NY, “Passing”

  • Christopher Fahy, Thomaston, ME, “Departure”

  • Carlos Andrés Gómez, Forest Hills, NY, ”The Afternoon You Moved Out”

  • Eric Greinke, Rockford, Michigan, “Paternity”

  • James D. Gwyn, Clifton, NJ, ”My Father Plays the Trombone”

  • M.J. Harris, Upper Montclair, NJ, “Humanity”

  • Josh Humphrey, Kearny, NJ, “River Jumpers”

  • Leah Johnston, Montclair, NJ, “The Old Photo”

  • Adele Kenny, Fanwood, NJ, “The Way”

  • Barbara Krasner, Somerset, NJ, “Because I’m Jewish”

  • Leonard Kress, Bloomingdale, NJ, “I Was There Before I Wasn’t”

  • Stuart Leonard, Garwood, NJ, ”Liberty Halves”

  • Antoinette Libro, Sea Isle City, NJ, “Diner Daydreams”

  • Elizabeth Marchitti, Totowa, NJ, “My Sister Doesn’t Write Poems”

  • Pat Mottola, Cheshire, CT, "I Go Back”

  • John Smith, Frenchtown, NJ,  “Would Be Sam”

  • Carole Stone, Verona, NJ, “Being Old”

  • Muriel Harris Weinstein, Great Neck, NY, “Momma’s Last Stand”

  • Sherida Yoder, North Haledon, NJ,  “As Usual”

Editor’s Choice:

  • Donna L. Emerson, Petaluma, CA, “Shining Brown Hair”

  • Maria Fama, Philadelphia, PA, “Cu Gesù Mi Curcu”

  • Nancy Lubarsky, Cranford, NJ, ”Origin Story”

  • Kenneth Silvestri, Nyack, NY,  “The fate of my maternal side”

  • Al Tacconelli, Wynnewood, PA, “Surprise Pizzelle”

  • Kelly Terwilliger, Eugene, OR, “Some Winter”

  • Neal Zirn, Denver, CO,  “Don’t Tell Anyone I’m in Mensa”

Winners and Finalists for the 2017 Paterson Fiction Prize

The 2017 Paterson Fiction Prize winner for 2017 is Swimming in Hong Kong by Stephanie Han (Willow Springs Books, Spokane, WA).



  • Swallowed by the Cold by Jensen Beach (Graywolf Press, Minneapolis, MN)

  • The Loss of All Lost Things by Amina Gautier (Elixir Press, Denver, CO)

  • Scary Old Sex by Arlene Heyman (Bloomsbury USA, New York, NY)

  • Black Deutschland by Darryl Pinckney (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, NY)

  • The Silver Baron's Wife by Donna Baier Stein (Serving House Books, Florham Park, NJ)

  • The Good Life by Marian Thurm (The Permanent Press, Sag Harbor, NY)