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Maria Mazziotti Gillan archive

Identifier: BUA-0006

Scope and Contents

The Maria Mazziotti Gillan Archive, spanning over fifty years, includes personal journals, drafts and manuscripts of her work, writings by and about Maria Mazziotti Gillan, correspondence, promotional material, invitations to read at various venues, and conferences, festivals and workshops hosted and/or attended by Gillan. There are professional and academic files from Gillan’s career at Passaic County Community College and Binghamton University. There are photographs from events in which Gillan participated, scrapbooks, numerous awards and recognition received, and audiovisual recordings from radio programs, readings and interviews given by Gillan.

Books written by Gillan, anthologies in which Gillan’s work appears, and some audiovisual materials have been catalogued. Information on these specific materials can be found using Binghamton University Libraries website,


  • 1955 - 2018

Biographical Note

Maria Mazziotti Gillan, a renowned poet and educator, was born in 1940 in Paterson, New Jersey to first-generation Italian immigrant parents. Gillan’s love of poetry began as a child and was supported by her teachers at PS 18 and Eastside High School. During her high school years Maria worked at a local library where she was also exposed to an extensive collection of literature enabling her to expand her knowledge and love of reading. She attended Seton Hall University, receiving a bachelor’s degree in English, and continued her education, earning a master’s degree in English from New York University and a Ph.D. at Drew University.

Her early works reflect the writing styles of English romantic poets to which she had been introduced during college. In the 1980’s Gillan's writing took another direction when a professor at Drew University encouraged her to use her work to tell a story, after reading a poem she had written about her father. Today Gillan’s work, influenced by the writing of Walt Whitman, Allen Ginsburg and William Carlos Williams, often focuses on her ethnicity with stories of her family, childhood, heritage and the Paterson community.

Since 1980 Maria Gillan has published over twenty books of and about poetry, and has edited and co-edited several anthologies. Her books have made it onto the New York Public Library Booklist, and the American Library Association’s Outstanding Books for Lifelong Learners, being selected as editor’s choice. They have also been included on state and national exams and used in teaching at academic institutions. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Prairie Schooner, The Christian Science Monitor, and Rattle, as well as numerous journals and anthologies. Gillan has been featured on programs, such as, National Public Radio’s (NPR) “The Poet and the Poem Series”and “All Things Considered,” as well as “Cover to Cover” with Jack Foley at Pacifica Radio. Garrison Keillor has read her poems on “The Writer’s Almanac.”

She is the founder and executive director of the Passaic County Community College Poetry Center and Passaic County Cultural and Heritage Council. At the Poetry Center, Gillan has created programs to foster an interest in poetry in the area, hosting poetry readings, workshops and conferences. In particular, she and her daughter, Jennifer Gillan, organized a three-day long conference in 1994 to correspond with their anthology Unsettling America. The conference celebrated the multicultural heritage of the United States. Under Gillan’s leadership, the Passaic County Cultural and Heritage Council serves as the county’s arts, cultural and heritage agency and is responsible for distributing state-funded grants to nonprofit organizations in Passaic County which preserve ethnic traditions and cultures through local arts and history programming.

Gillan, Professor Emerita of English and creative writing at Binghamton University, served as the director of the Creative Writing Program from 2000-2018. During her tenure at Binghamton University, Gillan established the Binghamton Center for Writers, a research center associated with the program. It offers assistance with college writing for all students and provides literary programs and events including creative writing awards, lecture and writing series and literary publications.

Throughout her long career as a poet and educator, Gillan has conducted intensive writing workshops, participated in literary conferences, and has given poetry readings at various universities, festivals, and poetry centers throughout the United States, as well as internationally in Italy, France, Wales, Canada, Yugoslavia and Ireland. Gillan is the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions, such as the 2008 Chancellor’s Award for Scholarship and Creative Endeavor from Binghamton University, Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award from Poets & Writers (2011) and the George Garrett Award for Outstanding Community Service in Literature from the Association of Writers & Writing Programs (2014). Her book, All That Lies Between Us, won the 2008 American Book Award. The Cultural Ministry of San Mauro, Cilento, Italy, her parent’s hometown, bestowed an honorary citizenship upon Gillan in 2014.


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Maria Mazziotti Gillan archive
Yvonne Deligato Leslie Cody Erika Grimminger
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Repository Details

Part of the Binghamton University Libraries Special Collections Repository

Binghamton NY 13902 USA