Teresa Carson is the associate publisher at CavanKerry Press and the assistant director of the Frost Place Conference on Poetry and Teaching. She holds an MFA in Poetry and an MFA in Theatre, both from Sarah Lawrence College. She continues to live in the crooked house in Union City, NJ with her husband, John.
The pungent aroma of clementines lingers on my hands long after I have peeled the skin off them. The perfume of the fruit carries me back to my mother’s kitchen in the apartment on 17th Street when my mother peeled a tangerine for me, encouraging me, her sickly, skinny seven-year-old daughter to eat. My mother, hands quick and efficient, peeled the fruit and fed me one section at a time.
When I was a grown woman with children of my own, my mother sat with me at her kitchen table and sliced an apple for me, passing me one slice at a time, and my daughter, grown up now too, remembers her grandmother cutting up an orange or an apple and feeding it to her when she was a child. My mother never learned how to read and write English. When she wanted to go to night school, my father said, “No, women don’t need to go to school,” but my mother knew by instinct how to love, knew how to nurture plants and children so they’d thrive, knew how to offer the right word of comfort, the words to give us courage even when we were most afraid. No school could have taught her what she knew. She taught us how to reach out to others and feed them one slice of comfort at a time.
Maria Mazziotti Gillan is a recipient of the 2014 George Garrett Award for Outstanding Community Service in Literature from AWP, the 2011 Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award from Poets & Writers, and the 2008 American Book Award for her book, All That Lies Between Us (Guernica Editions). She is the founder /executive director of the Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College in Paterson, NJ, and editor of the Paterson Literary Review. She is also director of the Binghamton Center for Writers and the creative writing program, and professor of English at Binghamton University-SUNY. She has published 20 books, including The Girls in the Chartreuse Jackets (Cat in the Sun Books, 2014); Ancestors’ Song (Bordighera Press, 2013); The Silence in an Empty House (NYQ Books, 2013); Writing Poetry to Save Your Life: How to Find the Courage to Tell Your Stories (MiroLand, Guernica Editions, 2013); The Place I Call Home (NYQ Books, 2012); and What We Pass On: Collected Poems 1980-2009 (Guernica Editions, 2010). With her daughter Jennifer, she is co-editor of four anthologies. Visit her website at www.mariagillan.com.
Tara Betts is the author of Arc and Hue. Tara is a Ph.D. candidate at Binghamton University and a Cave Canem fellow. Tara’s work has appeared most recently in RHINO, Court Green, Bellevue Literary Review, Saul Williams’ CHORUS: A Literary Mixtape (MTV Books, 2012), VILLANELLES (Everyman Publishing, 2012) and A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poetry (The University of Akron Press, 2012). She is co-editor of with Afaa M. Weaver of “Bop, Strut, and Dance”.
Emily Vogel’s poetry has been published in numerous journals, most recently in Tiferet, Lyrelyre, Maggy, Lips, The San Pedro River Review, The Paterson Literary Review, The Comstock Review, [Spaces}, and The Journal of New Jersey Poets. She has published five chapbooks: most recently Digressions on God (Main Street Rag, author’s choice series, 2012). The Philosopher’s Wife, a full-length collection, was published in 2011 (Chester River Press). She has work forthcoming in New York Quarterly, Omniverse, and 2 Bridges Review. Recently, she collaborated with her husband, Joe Weil on a book of poetry, West of Home, which has been published by Blast Press. She is the poetry editor of the online journal Ragazine, and teaches writing at SUNY Oneonta and Hartwick College.
Joe Weil is currently a professor at Binghamton University, and has taught graduate courses in both poetry and fiction. Prior to Binghamton, Weil founded the summer program for interactive arts at Arts High in Middlesex County, New Jersey. During Weil’s tenure as a master instructor in both poetry and fiction, his students won the Rutgers’ awards eight times (the highest award in poetry in NJ), and six of Weil’s students were admitted into the Governor’s school. Weil was also recognized by the NFFAA (a national high school awards foundation) twice as an outstanding teacher of the arts. Weil has appeared on PBS as well as reading his poetry on both NPR and Pacifica Public radio. He has been a featured poet with Stephen Dunn (winner of the 2002 Pulitzer Prize), Allen Ginsberg, as well as Louise Gluck, Thomas Lux, Gerald Stern, and Philip Levine. As a pianist and composer, Weil has had many works commissioned and has performed with such noteworthy musicians as Sweet Sue Terry, Perry Robinson, and Vic Ruggerio. His full length collections of poetry include What Remains (Nightshade Books), Painting the Christmas Trees (Texas Review Press), and The Plumber’s Apprentice (New York Quarterly books).