Saturday, September 29, 2012

Steel Toe Books Open Reading Period

My collection Lightning and Ashes was published by Steel Toe Books, and I can't imagine a better press for anyone looking for a publisher. Really, I recommend Steel Toe to everyone I can.

Tom Hunley, the editor, is first-rate.

Here's his call for submissions.  (By the way, submitting is free.  You just have to buy one of the books Steel Toe has published.)



September/October Open Reading Period

Steel Toe Books is reading full-length poetry manuscripts during the months of September and October 2012. This is open to any poets, whether or not they have previously published books. We plan to extend a standard royalties contract, including a $500 advance, to at least one poet. This is not a contest and there is no reading fee, but we do ask everyone who submits to purchase one of our existing titles directly from us. Send your 48-80 page manuscript, along with a check and completed order form (available via the “Order” button on the left), to Steel Toe Books / Department of English / Western Kentucky University / 1906 College Heights Blvd. #11086 / Bowling Green, KY 42101-1086. Do not include a SASE. All manuscripts will be recycled, and our selections will be posted on this web site on or near New Year’s Day.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Finding Poland by Matthew Kelly

In the last few years, a number of excellent books about what happened to the Poles who were taken east to Siberia by the Soviets during World War II have appeared.  I've posted about several of these books here: Krysia Jopek's novel Maps and ShadowsAndrew Bienkowski's memoir One Life to Give: A Path to Finding Yourself by Helping Others, and Halina Ablamowicz's anthology Polish Poetry from the Soviet Gulag.  And there are a handful of other fine books that retell the story of the hardships suffered by the Poles as they were taken by the Soviets from the sections of Poland that came under their control when they and the Nazis invaded Poland at the start of the war.  Stefan Waydenfeld's Ice Road and Wesley Adamczyk's When God Looked the Other Way come to mind.

To this short list must be added Matthew Kelly's Finding Poland.  

Part memoir, part history, part family biography, part eulogy for a generation quickly receding, Kelly's book will touch any Polish-American who has ever looked at old photographs of grandparents whose names have been forgotten or stared at yellow pages written in Polish sixty, eighty, or a hundred years ago.  We all stare at similar pictures brought from the Old Country, try to decipher those letters, and wonder what the lives of those relatives who are now gone and perhaps forgotten were like.  Kelly, I'm sure, did the same as a young boy.

And as an adult, a historian teaching at the University of Southampton, UK, he set out to answer the questions that he must have asked himself as a boy:  Who were those people in those fading photographs, why were they taken from their homes, what did they suffer, and how did the suffering change them?

As he retraces the footsteps of his family, Kelly finds answers that will change the way you think about the past and who you are as you step into tomorrow.


The book is available here in the US through Amazon.

Kelly at present doesn't have an American publisher but some sample pages of the book are available online.  I highly recommend you take a look at the introduction and the opening chapter entitled "Trains."  

Click here to access the sample pages.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Polish Book Autumnfest

Dear friends, the following is reposted from Michael Stein's LiteraLab: a website devoted to Central European Literary Life.

Polish Book Autumnfest: Pole Position

9781844678587 Kapuscinski
Pole Position is a series of Polish book events kicking off this week in the UK and running through November. It’s a great lineup, opening onSeptember 19 in London with author of Ryszard Kapuściński: A Life, Artur Domosławski speaking with Neal Ascherson about the legendary Polish journalist.
In early October Paweł Huelle will present his latest short story collectionCold Sea Stories as well as a “a musical tour of his work.” This doesn’t mean he will be singing through his writing but discussing the range of music – from “Ukrainian folk songs, via the Magnificat, 18th century Irish composer John Field, and Schubert’s Liede, all the way to the Soviet National Anthem” – that appears in his work.

Then there will be a number of Stork Press authors such as crime writer Grażyna Plebanek, Noémi Szécsi (don’t worry, I won’t mention that she’s not Polish, but Hungarian) and author of Madame Mephisto A.M. Bakalar, who will be appearing at the Folkestone Book Festival in November together with Zygmunt Miłoszewski. Miłoszewski’s A Grain of Truth is out in the UK this month and in the US in January 2013. The season closes out with appearances by Jacek Dehnel and Magdalena Tulli.
It is worth pointing out that the excellent promotion involved in these events cannot be found in every country. The series is also indicative of another sharp divide in Central Europe – that between countries like Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary that can make puns in English from their names and those that can’t. Czech Mate, Pole Dancing, Hungary for Culture – these are all possible festival names. But what do you do if you’re Croatia or Slovakia? It’s unfair.

For more information on the authors, books and specific events and dates click here.