Professor/poet Maria Mazziotti Gillan discusses link with Ginsberg

English professor Maria Mazziotti Gillan talks about "William Carlos Williams, Allen Ginsberg and Paterson: Poets of the City" on Nov. 4 in the Casadesus Recital Hall. Photo by Jonathan Cohen

Another accomplishment can be added to the legacy of Beat Generation poet Allen Ginsburg: “courage teacher” of Maria Mazziotti Gillan.

“He is the one who taught me to have the courage to write the way I knew I had to write,” said Gillan, professor of English and creative writing. “He taught me to say, ‘Maybe people don’t need another English romantic poet. Maybe it’s OK to write as an Italian-American. Maybe it’s OK to write as a wife, mother, daughter, granddaughter, a citizen of Paterson, N.J., a citizen of the United States, a child of immigrants who loved to hang out in the public library.’

“I’ve made it my mission to do that and try to get students to think about how honest they are being in their writing, how much the world needs that honesty and how we need to form through writing a bridge between ourselves and other people.”

Gillan, the director of the University’s Creative Writing Program, delivered the Harpur College Dean’s Distinguished Lecture to a group of faculty members and students on Nov. 4 in the Casadesus Recital Hall.

Read the rest of the article in Inside Binghamton University