Maria Lisella


Author's Bio

Native New Yorker, and Queens born and bred, Maria Lisella is the sixth winner in the competition for Queens Poet Laureate and the first Italian American. She is the author of the collection, Thieves in the Family (NYQ Books), and two chapbooks Amore on Hope Street (Finishing Line Press) and Two Naked Feet (Poets Wear Prada).

She is the Poetry Editor for VIA: Voices in Italian Americana (Bordighera Press), co-curates the Italian American Writers Association reading series now in its 31st year, and is a charter member of the online poetry circle, brevitas.

Cited for Honorable Mention for the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award several times, Lisella has led several series of Writing Workshops for the Queens Public Library, SAGE with the Teachers and Writers Collaborative, Heights & Hills Brooklyn Older Adults Program, the The Noguchi Museum, Greater Astoria Historical Association and the Writers Guild Initiative with the Body Politic.

She is an award-winning travel and culture writer whose work appears in Never Stop Traveling, the bilingual La Voce di New York, USA TODAY and The Jerusalem Post.

Publications & Prizes

NYC From the Inside: Through the Eyes of the Poets Who Live Here (Blue Light Press, 2022)
Stronger than Fear: Poems of Empowerment, Compassion, and Social Justice (Cave Moon Press, 2022)
Delirious: A Tribute to Prince (NightBallet Press, 2016)
The Traveler's Vade Mecum (Red Hen Press, 2016)
What Does It Mean to Be White in America (2Leaf Press, 2016)
Writing Cultural Difference: Italian-Canadian Creative and Critical Works (Guernica Editions, 2015)
Writing Our Way Home (Guernica Editions, 2013)
Sweet Lemons 2 (Legas Publishing, 2011)
Long Island Sound Anthology (North Sea Poetry Scene Press, 2010)
Avanti Popolo: Italian-American Writers Sail Beyond Columbus (Manic D Press, 2008)
Passing (PoetWorks Press, 2006)
For Better or For Worse: Anthology of Poetry on Marriage and Other Foibles (PoetWorks Press, 2005)
Curaggia: An Anthology of Writing by Women of Italian Descent (Women's Press, Canada, 1998)
Thieves in the Family (NYQ Books, 2014)
Amore on Hope Street (Finishing Line Press, 2009)
Two Naked Feet (Poets Wear Prada, 2009)
Journals: ,
First Literary Review-East
Gradiva: International Journal of Italian Poetry
Italian Americana
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New York Quarterly
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Performance Poets Literary Association
Philadelphia Poets
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Skidrow Penthouse
The Fox Chase Review
The New People
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Prizes won: 

Allen Ginsberg Honorable Mention Award, 2022 and other years

Poet Laureate Fellowship from the Academy of American Poets, 2020

Queens Poet Laureate, 2015-2019

Personal Favorites

Favorite authors: 
Mary Oliver, Lucia Perillo, Maria Mazziotti Gillan, Gwendolyn Brooks, Rita Dove, Julia de Burgos.

More Information

Gives readings: 
Travels for readings: 
Identifies as: 
Italian American
Prefers to work with: 
Fluent in: 
Born in: 
Jamaica, NY
New York
Raised in: 
Queens and Long Island, NY
New York
Please note: All information in the Directory is provided by the listed writers or their representatives.
Last update: May 18, 2022