By Bern Mulligan
Professor Maria Mazziotti Gillan, Director of the Creative Writing Program, recently donated her papers to the Binghamton University Libraries. Professor Gillan, a renowned poet, short story writer, and essayist, has been a member of the Binghamton University faculty since Fall 2001. Prior to that, she was the Director of the Poetry Center and the Cultural Affairs Department at Passaic County Community College in Paterson, New Jersey for twenty years.
Professor Gillan has written eleven books of poetry and co-edited four poetry and fiction anthologies with her daughter, Jennifer. She has both written poems in Italian and translated poems into Italian. Her poetry, stories, and essays have appeared in dozens of anthologies and numerous magazines and journals. Her papers include her personal journals from 1954 to 2007; nearly all of her published work; drafts of poems and stories from 1957 to the present; DVDs, CDs, and audio tapes of programs on which she was featured; forty years of correspondence with well-known poets, fiction writers, editors, and scholars; feature articles on her and reviews of her work; photographs of her with many of the most prominent poets of the last thirty years; and the Poetry Center and Cultural Affairs Department archives.
Much of Professor Gillan’s work deals with her Italian-American heritage. Her poetry collection, Italian Women in Black Dresses, has appeared in three editions. She has also been heavily involved in promoting multicultural writing in her classes and publishing multicultural writers in her anthologies.
Since 2002, Professor Gillan and the Creative Writing Department have held two annual contests, the Milton Kessler Poetry Book Award and the John Gardner Fiction Book Award. From the submitted entries to these contests, she has donated more than 100 poetry and fiction titles each year to the Libraries’ literature collection. She has also donated titles to the Broome County Public Library and the Elmira Correctional Facility Library.