Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Special Issue Devoted to Contemporary Polish and Polish-American Poetry

When I first started writing poems in grad school at Purdue about my parents and their experiences in Germany during the war and in America after the war, I felt like I was the only one writing in America about Poles and Polish Americans. I asked the professors in my English Department, and they shrugged. I asked other students, and they hadn't heard about any Polish-American writers either. I went to the library and found nothing.

Over the years, I would hear about a poet here or a novelist there who wrote about the Polish Diaspora, and I would track these writers down, and slowly I began to realize that I wasn't the only one writing about the Polish Diaspora. There were, in fact, a lot of us, and the number just grows and grows as the celebration of Polish Diaspora writing in the journal Kritya suggests.

I hope that this celebration helps to continue the dialogue that has started among these writers.

Why is such a dialogue important?

The answer is quite simple and can be stated plainly.

One of poetry's elemental functions is to discover and preserve national and/or group identity. If you want to find out about the Greeks, you read Homer. If you want to find out about the English you read Chaucer and Shakespeare. If you want to find out about the Americans, you read Whitman or Emerson or Emily Dickinson. If you want to learn about the Poles, you read Milosz or Szymborska or Rosewicz.

And if you want to find out about Polish Diaspora culture, you should read Polish Diaspora poets, writers like the ones featured in the April and May issues of Kritya.


The April issues includes poems by the following poets:

Melisa Cahnmann-Taylor

Peter Burzynski

Mary Krane Derr

Jehanne Dubrow

Linda Nemec Foster

John Guzlowski

Maria Jastrzebska

Leonard Kress

Krystyna Lenkowska

Stephen Lewandowski

Colleen McKee

Anna Maria Mickiewicz

David Radavich

Laurie A. Gomulka Palazzolo

Christina Pacosz

Lisa L. Siedlarz

Lillian Vallee

Andrena Zawinsksi


Both issues are guest edited by Christina Pacosz and John Guzlowski. Rati Saxena edits Kritya.

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