Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A Letter from Joanna Kurowska

Dear Friends and Readers:

The spring is a fact! The weather treats us mild. I hope you have lots of energy for
outdoor activities. Metaphorically, “outdoors” is not just the woods or lakeshore but also
some much-needed FRESH AIR IN LANGUAGE! If you need a break from forms,
commercials and the (typically bad) TV news, come to poetry! It’s a different world, for


An event to recommend is THE POETRY PENTATHLON: NORTH SHORE EDITION at Highland
Park Poetry. Please come and support the contestants, and meet the fellow poetry lovers! The 2014 Pentathlon will take place at Art Center of Highland Park, 1957, Sheridan Road Friday, June 13, 8:00–10:00 PM. (I will be one of the judges).

And a few reminders…

 Inclusions is out, now available both at Cervena Barva Press and Amazon.  If you would like to receive a signed copy, please contact me directly via e-mail or my website.

The Wall & Beyond has earned fourteen 5-star only reviews on Amazon  (twelve on Amazon US and two on Amazon UK). The book has been  earning outstanding reviews also in journals, both scholarly and literary;  most recently Debbie Young’s review in Vine Leaves. More reviews are  coming! I’ll keep you posted.

 My In-Print radio interview will be broadcast again this Saturday at  11:00. To listen, go to www.rockfordcollegeradio.com; or listen to the  podcast (available on my website, in the ABOUT section).

How did I become a poet writing in my second language?  I talk about it in my recent interview at Cervena Barva Press

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Ron Paul Salutsky's Romeo Bones

Steel Toe Books is one of the best small presses around.  Since 2003, publisher and oet Tom Hunley has been lovingly producing a series of books showcasing a number of excellent writers.

He's brought out books by poets like Mary Biddinger, Jeannine Hall Galley, Allison Joseph, and Michael Meyerhofer.  (And I'm happy to say Steel Toe publishes my book Lightning and Ashes.)

Last year, Steel Toe published a first book by a young Polish American poet, Ron Salutsky.

What I like about his poetry is the gift he has for opening up a moment to the complex mash-up of sorrows and joys, fears and wonderings that exist in it.  For me, that's the gift that all true poets share.

Here are a couple of Ron Salutsky's poems, the title poem "Romeo Bones" and "In Praise of Kool Filter Kings."


Allergies today are puffed up
with caterpillar bones, old loves
and arbor tidings, pushed
by a humid wind,
moisture as fleeting as grief
for the death of second cousin Emma,
whom you used to play Lawn Darts
with on sunny summer holidays
when the family gathered
and gawked at the grill, as they do
now, talking of investments
in appetite, the politics
of meteorology, the state
of affairs of beer, the
demise of demise now
that everything's okay.
It's not okay you want to say,
and you do say, but you're
the youngest so no one listens.
Emma hears you and laughs
through the smoke, slings
a Lawn Dart so close
to your feet your toes tingle
with the expectation of pain
and the utter desire
for utter attention. Romeo Bones,
Romeo Bones
, she says
and you laugh but you have
no idea why. Pretty soon,
everyone's laughing and you don't
know why, but you laugh,
pretend to be in on the joke,
in on the whole thing, the punch line
missed, the world you're afraid
might be getting away
from you, the parents
who might not be your own,
the sky that might not really
be blue, the blue that might
not really be blue, the grassy
rug that might one day be
pulled out from under
your tiny feet.


If the sea had skin
you could roll it up over Florida

like a condom, prevent what you only
in the comfort of others’ mishaps call

the spread of Florida. And what’s so wrong
with Florida, then? There’s none

more existential crisis than 6:30 pm in Florida,
and you need not have driven there drunk

the night before, parked on the street
outside the Daytona Beach YMCA, rusty harmonica

on the dashboard and God knows what
looks like donut glaze on the jeans you cut

into jean shorts with a buck knife
just south of Valdosta. We’ve come to the shore,

by God, so we’ve conquered the shore,
quoth you, for puking-on

is 51% of ownership in business-friendly
Florida. The sea is not indifferent,

but rather calms you roaring in your ear.
There’s still half a tank of gas

and an unopened pack of menthols
you must have bought at a Gate

in St. Cloud, now what? You gave
a homeless girl four menthols

and a five-spot and she swore
she’d spend it on bean burritos

and she didn’t even cheapen the deal
by proffering a blowjob. The liquor stores

here never close because it’s the beach
and you know by the way your eyeballs burn

the sun will come up soon and you feel you should pray
but you don’t know what to pray to

and a blue crane perched on the arm
of a lifeguard chair somehow reminds you

there’s love in the world. Now what?


Romeo Bones is available from Steel Toe Books and Amazon.  Just click on either.

You can find out more about Ron Salutsky at his website.  Just click here.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Polish American Historical Association Conference, Jan 2014

Polish American Historical Association to Examine Critical Issues in the Past and Present of Polish Immigrant Communities
On January 2-4, 2014 in Washington D.C., PAHA will explore social, historical, and cultural aspects in the lives of Polish émigré communities in America  

Los Angeles, December 10, 2013 – On January 3 and 4, 2014, one of Polonia’s most venerable organizations will hold its Annual Meeting at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington D.C. The conference will gather over 30 scholars presenting their current research during eight scholarly sessions dedicated to such topics as: Protest and Exile, Polish Immigrant and Ethnic Women, Between the Revolutionary War and World War II, Polish Immigrant and Ethnic Identities, Religious Leaders and Communities, and Stories of World War II. Individual presenters will discuss: Pułaski’s burial, Polish troops in the American Civil War, General Bolesław Wieniawa-Długoszowski, Pope John Paul II in America, World War II mementos and family histories, Polish children in exile, Polish-Jewish émigré composers and their inclusion into Polish music history, writings by women, American support for Warsaw in 1944, Polish-American press in Canada and the U.S., careers of second generation émigrés, Polish documents at the Library of Congress, dialects in Polish folk theater, and much more. 

A special book forum will be dedicated to Mieczysław B.B. Biskupski’s The United States and the Rebirth of Poland, 1914–18 (with comments by noted historians Prof. Neal Pease, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee and Prof. James Pula, Purdue University North Central). The Conference will end with a screening of Mariusz Kotkowski’s Pola Negri: Life is a Dream in Cinema  held on Saturday, January 4, 2014: 5:30 PM Marriott Wardman Park, Jefferson Room. 

PAHA Annual Awards for research in the field of Polish American Studies will be announced during the Annual Awards Banquet on Friday, January 3, 2014. Registration is open on PAHA Website: www.polishamericanstudies.org.

About PAHA
The Polish American Historical Association is a non-profit, tax-exempt, interdisciplinary organization devoted to the study of Polish American history and culture. Founded in 1942 as part of the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences in America, PAHA became an autonomous scholarly society in 1948. As an affiliate of the American Historical Association, PAHA promotes research and dissemination of scholarly materials focused on Polish American history and culture, and its European origins.  PAHA publishes a biannual scholarly journal, Polish American Studies and a quarterly newsletter. The organization sponsors an annual conference, in conjunction with the American Historical Association, which serves as a forum for research in the field of ethnic studies.  The organization confers the annual Haiman Award for sustained scholarly effort in the field of Polish American Studies, awards the annual Halecki Prize for the best book on a Polish American topic and the annual Swastek Prize for the best article appearing in Polish American Studies, as well as sponsors many other awards. PAHA has over 600 international members, including both individual and institutional memberships; membership is open to all individuals interested in the fields of Polish American history and culture, and immigration studies. In 2011, PAHA sponsored the critically acclaimed Polish American Encyclopedia, published by McFarland and edited by Prof. James Pula.

More information:

Dr. Maja Trochimczyk, Ph.D.
Online Communications Director
& PAHA News editor
818 384 8944

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Today the Poles are Burning -- "Dziś Polacy się palą"

Dear Friends,

Those who live in Warsaw or its surroundings may be interested in attending
the poetry reading associated with the publication of a bilingual
poetry chapbook 
of Polish American poets, by Antraktcafe Press: "Dziś Polacy się palą" -
"Today the Poles are Burning" - poems of Phil Boiarski, Linda Nemec Foster,
John Guzlowski, Leonard Kress, Mark Pawlak, and Cecilia Woloch.

The event will occur at the Aktraktcafe, Warsaw, Pl. Pilsudskiego 9, Thursday, November 28, 10:00pm.

Poems will be read by Elżbieta Wojnowska and Andrzej Seweryn.  
There will also be a briefing on publishing poetry, by Guido Zlatkes, 2013 Fulbright Fellow.  For more details, please go to to http://antraktcafe.pl/

If we are lucky, we may also have a bite of free turkey that evening!

With Kind Regards

Janusz Zalewski
poems translator -- http://antraktcafe.pl/

Friday, November 22, 2013

Video of the Magical Polishness Celebration at Teatr Polski

On November 17, the works of 13 Polish American writers were celebrated at Teatr Polski in Warsaw, Poland.

The writers were Michael Basinski, Phil Boiarski, Stuart Dybek, John Guzlowski, Leonard Kress, Linda Nemec Foster, Karen Kovacik, John Minczeski, Elisabeth Murawski, Mark Pawlak, Thad Rutkowski, Laura Ulewicz and Cecilia Woloch. 

Their works were read by Magdalena Cielecka and Cezary Kosinski and translated by Janusz Zalewski, the organizer of the event.

Here's a youtube in Polish of the event.

Friday, November 15, 2013

13 Polish American Poets Celebrate Magical Polishness at Teatr Polski

This Sunday, November 17, at noon, the Teatr Polski in Warsaw will celebrate the works of 13 Polish American writers who celebrate their deep and often “magical” relationship with Poland.

The event, organized and translated by Janusz Zalewski, will feature the works of Michael Basinski, Phil Boiarski, Stuart Dybek, John Guzlowski, Leonard Kress, Linda Nemec Foster, Karen Kovacik, John Minczeski, Elisabeth Murawski, Mark Pawlak, Thad Rutkowski, Laura Ulewicz and Cecilia Woloch. 
Their work will be read by Magdalena Cielecka and Cezary Kosinski.
For those unable to attend the event, it will be broadcast live at the following sites:

Broadcast organizers:

Broadcast sponsors:

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Magical Polish American Poets

Polish Theatre them.  Arnold Szyfman in Warsaw

Designed as a continuation of last year's Poetry Salon devoted to the Beat Generation, the Salon "Magic Polish identity - poetry of Polish Americans" introduces the audience to a wider circle of poetry of Polish Americans.
Among the poets presented will be Michael Basinski, Phil Boiarski, Stuart Dybek, John Guzlowski, Leonard Kress, Linda Nemec Foster, Karen Kovacik, John Minczeski, Elisabeth Murawski, Mark Pawlak, Thad Rutkowski, Laura Ulewicz and Cecilia Woloch. 
The poems will  be read by Magdalena Cielecka and Jan Nowicki.
The event will take place on Nov. 17, noon.  

Here is a poem by one of the poets who will be presented at the Poetry Salon

Linda Nemec Foster

The Countries That Claim Me

I am from America and Poland.
I wonder how I came to have hazel eyes:
flecks of earth, sky, and sea in my gaze.
I hear the low pitch of the moon
as it swings above the roof.
I see crows, their blue-black emblem of regret:
I want to touch that regrret, to kiss it.

I pretend to be a cloud, a shadow,
a fragment of some distant past.
I feel lucky and American, Polish and cursed.
I touch the old and the new – mother, daughter.
I worry about really not knowing either.
I cry because my son will never dance
the mazurka, polonaise, oberek.
I am from America and Poland.

I understand English – nothing more.
I say it is not enough, not enough.
I dream in a foreign language thick
with the sound of dark trees.
I try to translate the words of each leaf.
I hope the wind will carry my response.
I am from America and Poland.

More information is available at the Teatr Polski's website: