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headshot of Maria M. Gillan

Maria M. Gillan

Professor Emeritus

English, General Literature and Rhetoric


Maria has published 22 books of and about poetry, and four anthologies. Her most recent books are the poetry and photography collaboration with Mark Hillringhouse, Paterson Light and Shadow (Serving House Books, 2017) and the poetry collection, What Blooms in Winter (NYQ, 2016). Her collection of poems along with some of her paintings is The Girls in the Chartreuse Jackets (Redux Consortium). Other recent publications are Ancestors' Song (Bordighera Press), Writing Poetry to Save Your Life: How to Find the Courage to Tell Your Stories (MiroLand, Guernica) and What We Pass On: Collected Poems 1980-2009. Maria is co-editor with her daughter Jennifer of four anthologies. She is the editor of the Paterson Literary Review.


  • MA, New York University
  • BA, Seton Hall University

Research Interests

  • Ecological Justice
  • Contemporary and modern poetry
  • Multicultural literature
  • Narrative poetry
  • Contemporary Women Poets
  • Working Class Literature
  • Modern American Literature
  • Poetry

Teaching Interests

  • Poetry


  • Writing Poetry to Save Your Life: How to Find the Courage to Tell Your Stories, Exemplars for National Poetry Month, The Washington Independent Review of Books, 2013
  • Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award from Poets & Writers, 2011
  • American Book Award for All That Lies Between Us, 2008
  • 2008 Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Endeavors
  • Sheila Motton Award for All That Lies Between Us, 2008
  • Primo Nazionale Belmoro, 2007
  • Named Honorary Citizen of San Mauro Cilento, Italy in recognition of contributions to literature, 2006
  • Governor's Award in Recognition of Community Literary Achievements, 2006
  • Author Award, New Jersey Academic Studies Alliance, 2004
  • Aniello Lauri Award, Voice in Italian American, 2002
  • First Annual John Fante and Pietro di Donato Award from Sons of Italy in America, 2002
  • Greatest Hits Chapbook Award, Pudding House Publishers, 2002
  • Firman Houghton Poetry Award, Poetry Club of New England, 2001
  • New York Public Library's Year 2000 Books List: Identity Lessons: Contemporary Writing About Learning to Be American, 2000
  • Things My Mother Told Me, Editor's Choice, Small Press Review, 1999
  • Growing Up Ethnic In America, Booklist, American Library Association, 1999
  • Unsettling America: An Anthology of Contemporary Multicultural Poetry, "Outstanding Book for the College Bound and Lifelong Learners" by YALSA/American Library Association, 1999
  • The May Sarton Award, New England Poetry Club, 1998
  • National Public Radio's "Poet and the Poem" Award for Literary Excellence, 1998
  • Geraldine R. Doge Foundation Fellowship, 1998
  • PEN Syndicated Fiction Competition Semifinalist, 1994
  • New Jersey State Council on the Arts Fellowships in Poetry, 1985 and 1980
  • The American Literary Translators Association Award, National Endowment for the Arts, 1987

Research Profile