Renowned poet, author and educator Maria Mazziotti Gillan, visited Penn State Worthington Scranton recently to share some of her works as part of the UNICO Italian Heritage Series at Penn State Worthington Scranton.
Ms. Mazziotti Gillan is the founder and executive director of the Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College in Paterson, NJ and the editor of the Paterson Literary Review. She is also the director of the creative writing program and a professor of poetry at Binghamton University-SUNY.
She has published 14 books of poetry and her work has appeared in Prairie Schooner, New Letters, The New York Times, Poetry Ireland, Connecticut Review, The Los Angeles Review, The Christian Science Monitor, LIPS, and Rattle, as well as numerous other journals and anthologies.
Her poems have been read by Garrison Keillor on The Writer's Almanac, and she has been interviewed and read her poems on National Public Radio's (NPR) All Things Considered, The Brian Lehrer Show, The Poet and the Poem, and The Leonard Lopate Show, as well as In Honor of National Poetry Month, The Charles Osgood Show on CBS-Radio, Pacifica Radio, and the Voice of America.
She has been featured on several PBS-TV (Public Broadcasting System) programs and her books have been chosen as Editor's Choice by Booklist, New York Public Library Book List, and one of the American Library Association's Outstanding Books for Lifelong Learners.
Her poems are included on state and national tests in North Carolina, Tennessee, Minnesota, Texas and Italy.
In addition to her recent appearance at Penn State Worthington Scranton, she has read her poems numerous times at universities, festivals and poetry centers throughout the USA and in Italy, France, Yugoslavia, Finland, Wales and Ireland. The Maria Mazziotti Gillan Collection of her papers is housed at the Binghamton University Libraries.
The program that hosted Ms. Mazziotti Gillan was made possible thanks to a permanent endowment established by the Scranton Chapter of UNICO National. The endowment funds a three-tiered program in Italian Studies, Heritage and Culture at Worthington Scranton that focuses on academics, co-curricular and out-of-classroom experiences, as well as community outreach.
UNICO National is an Italian American, membership-based service organization that works to increase the prestige of the Italian American community through its activities and volunteer efforts in the community and for various charities, as well as scholarship awards, fundraising efforts and holiday observances.
Penn State Worthington Scranton and the Scranton Chapter of UNICO National have enjoyed a very positive relationship for the past several years by virtue of an endowed scholarship the group created in 2002. This fund has been of tremendous assistance in helping local students pursue a Penn State education close to home.