Distinguished Poets Series 

and Reading Events


18-19 logo.JPG

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 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 3, 2018        PLR Celebration Reading


Join the Poetry Center in celebrating 39 years of publishing the Paterson Literary Review (PLR) with a reading featuring many contributors to issue #46.  

PLR features unpublished work by well-known writers, as well as by writers whose work is so good it should be better known.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


December 1, 2018      Tanya Olson & Patrick Rosal

Tanya Olson lives in Silver Spring, Maryland and is a Lecturer in English at University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC). Her first book, Boyishly, was published by YesYes Books in 2013 and was awarded a 2014 American Book Award. She has won the Discovery/Boston Review prize and was named a Lambda Emerging Writers Fellow by the Lambda Literary Foundation. Her poem "54 Prince" was included in Best American Poetry 2015.

Patrick Rosal is the author of four books of poetry, most recently Brooklyn Antediluvian, which was a finalist for the Kingsley Tufts Award and winner of the Lenore Marshall Prize from the Academy of American Poets. Rosal’s other three books are Boneshepherds, My American Kundiman, a winner of the Association of Asian American Studies Book Award, and Uprock Headspin Scramble and Dive, winner of the Asian American Writers Workshop Members’ Choice Award. His writing has appeared in Tin House, New England Review, Poetry, Best American Poetry, Grantland, and many other journals and anthologies. The recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Fulbright Research Program, Rosal has been a featured performer internationally in Greece, South Africa, the UK and at various spaces in the Caribbean, South America, and the Philippines. He is an Associate Professor of English at Rutgers University-Camden.

Workshop with Tanya Olson or Patrick Rosal 10 am to 12 pm - registration information

February 2, 2019             Allen Ginsberg Awards Winners Reading

A reading with the Allen Ginsberg Awards Winners
First Prize:        Jim Reese (Yankton, SD)
Second Prize:   Maria Fama (Philadelphia, PA)       
Third Prize:      Lorraine Conlin (Wantagh, NY)    
Honorable Mention:
Howard Berelson (Teaneck, NJ); R. Bremner (Glen Ridge, NJ); Shane Carreon (Binghamton, NY); David Crews (Warren, NJ); Anthony DeGregorio (Kent Lakes, NY); Gil Fagiani (Long Island City, NY); Christopher Fahy (Thomaston, ME); Mary Fitzpatrick (Pasadena, CA); Christie Grimes (Sackets Harbor, NY); James D. Gwyn (Clifton, NJ); Josh Humphrey (Kearny, NJ); Frances Lombardi-Grahl (Clifton, NJ); Nancy Lubarsky (Cranford, NJ); Francesca Maxime (Brooklyn, NY); Greg Moglia (Huntington, NY); Marilyn Mohr (West Orange, NJ); Gloria g. Murray (Deer Park, NY); Rachelle M. Parker (Montclair, NJ); Jennifer Poteet (Montclair, NJ); Natasha Rabin (Nyack, NY); Bernadette Roe (Endicott, NY); Edwin Romond (Wind Gap, PA); Arthur Russell (Nutley, NJ); Donna Baier Stein (Bernardsville, NJ); Maxine Susman (Princeton, NJ); Eileen Van Hook (Wanaque, NJ); Sherida Yoder (North Haledon, NJ); Neal Zirn (Denver, CO).

Editor’s Choice: Charles W. Brice (Pittsburgh, PA); Judith A. Brice (Pittsburgh, PA); Okey Chenoweth (Oakland, NJ); Linda Nemec Foster (Grand Rapids, MI); Deborah Gerrish (Murray Hill, NJ); Annie Lanzillotto (Yonkers, NY); Antoinette Libro (Sea Isle City, NJ); Maria Lisella (Long Island City, NY); Frank Niccoletti (West Orange, NJ); Christine Redman-Waldeyer (Manasquan, NJ); Kenneth Silvestri (Nyack, NY); Al Tacconelli (Wynnewood, PA);  
Bob Ward (Brooklyn, NY). 

Allen Ginsberg Awards Winners Reading press release (pdf)

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, 2019     Contest guidelines at    


March 2, 2019              Molly Peacock & Patricia Smith

Molly Peacock, a Binghamton alumna, is the author of seven books of poetry, including The Analyst and Cornucopia: New and Selected Poems from W.W. Norton. Her poems appear in leading literary journals such as Poetry and The Hudson Review and are anthologized in The Oxford Book of American Poetry.  Peacock was co-creator of Poetry in Motion on New York City’s subways and buses and inaugurated The Best Canadian Poetry series.  She is also the author of the noted biography The Paper Garden:  Mrs. Delany Begins Her Life’s Work at 72, named a Book of the Year by The Economist, Booklist, The London Evening Standard, and The Irish Times. She wrote and performed “The Shimmering Verge,” an Off-Broadway one-woman theatre piece in poems, and is a subject in the documentaries A Life Outside Convention and My So-Called Selfish Life, about women’s choices not to have children. Her literary papers are held at the Binghamton University Library.


Patricia Smith is the author of seven books of poetry, including: Incendiary Art (2017), winner of an NAACP Image Award and the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award; 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; Blood Dazzler, a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award and one of NPR’s Top 5 Books of 2008; 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 Pushcart Prizes for “Laugh Your Troubles Away” and “The Way Pilots Walk.”


Workshop with Molly Peacock or Patricia Smith 10 am to 12 pm - registration information


April 6, 2019   A Reading with the Winner and Finalists of the 2018 Paterson Poetry Prize

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, 2019; contest guidelines at

Winner:  Jan Beatty, Jackknife (University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, PA, 2017)

Finalists: 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).

Workshop with Jan Beatty or Jim Daniels 10 am to 12 pm - registration information

Jan Beatty’s books include Jackknife (2017), 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.

Jim Daniels’s recent books include Paterson Poetry Prize finalist, Rowing Inland (Wayne State University Press), Street Calligraphy (Steel Toe Books), and The Middle Ages (Red Mountain Press). He is also the author of five collections of fiction and four produced screenplays, and has edited five anthologies, including Challenges to the Dream: The Best of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Writing Awards, published in 2017.


May 4, 2019              Martín Espada & Quincy Troupe

Martín Espada has been called by Sandra Cisneros “the Pablo Neruda of North American authors.” He 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.

Quincy Troupe is the author of nine volumes of poetry, three children's books, and the author, co-author, or editor of six non-fiction works. He collaborated with Miles Davis on his autobiography, Miles: The Autobiography: Miles Davis with Quincy Troupe,  and with Chris Gardner on The Pursuit of Happyness, which spent more than forty weeks on the New York Times best-seller list and was made into a major motion picture starring Will Smith. Troupe has also written a screenplay for Miles and Me, the memoir of his friendship with Miles Davis. Poetry collections include Transcircularities: New and Selected Poems, winner of the 2003 Milt Kessler Poetry Award and selected by Publishers Weekly as one of the ten best books of poetry in 2002; The Architecture of Language, winner of the 2007 Paterson Award for Sustained Literary Achievement; and Errançities, published 2012.

Workshop with Martín Espada or Quincy Troupe from 10 am to 12 pm  - registration information