Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Call for Essays by Immigrant Poets

Black Lawrence Press is now accepting submissions for an anthology of essays by immigrant poets in America, celebrating their contributions to the landscape of American poetry. The title, Others Will Enter the Gates, is taken from Walt Whitman's poem, "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry".

Immigrant poets living in the United States are invited to submit essays of between 700-5000 words for the anthology. Poets can address one of four themes in their essays:

1) Influence(s)
2) How the poet's work fits within the American poetic tradition
3) How the poet's work fits within the poetic tradition of his/her home country and
4) What it means to be a poet in America.

Essays can be creative or academic. However, essays need to be accessible since the anthology is also for a general audience.

Abayomi Animashaun, Nigerian émigré and author of The Giving of Pears, will serve as editor. Questions? You may contact him at at)gmail.com>.

Submissions will be accepted via Submittable:

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Wall and Beyond by Joanna Kurowska

Joanna Kurowska

Joanna Kurowska's newest collection of poems consists of works that were originally written in Polish and published in her native land.  The poems, as the title suggests, deal with the image of the wall, the obstacle.  When I asked her about this she said, "As the title suggests, my recurring motif is 'the wall.' It reflects the confrontation between dreams and reality; a sense of estrangement following my immigration to the US in 1988; finally, my struggle with the idea of God against the experience of religion and world’s theodicy.  Probing the wall’s nature, I come to realization that the wall is part of human nature. Ultimately, I strive to affirm life; to reach beyond the wall."

Here is one of the poems from this book.  

Joseph Conrad (for Don Marshall)

In a broken jar, the sea leaks through the cracks.
Sailors despair; nothing rocks them anymore.
The gristmill of time changes aquatic plants,
fish, prayers, and people, into yellow sand.

In a mirror, love watches its image—fright.
Their glances—a bridge stretching into the dark.
A rainbow of faces flicker in the glass;
one of them is yours but you don’t know which one.

The spirit hiding in life’s seashell is pain.
He is the god-figure that opens the door
and takes you to the earth’s heart and the hand’s palm
where long-forgotten sources flow over stones.

The following is a more recent poem which Ms. Kurowska wrote in English: 


I loved cupboards
—the little spaces in which
I arranged packages of tea
ceramic mugs, saucers,
and fine china

I loved the secrecy
and the mellow smell
of the woody interiors
superbly designed
yet subject to change

I thought they would
never let me down—
my small eternities;
but they too go away
one after another

For all the tea and fine china,
they refuse to contain me
When I open the little doors
I hear a silent good-bye
ringing in my thoughts

(both poems originially appeared in Apple Valley Review


Joanna Kurowska has published poetry in Apple Valley ReviewBateauChristianity and LiteratureInternational Poetry Review, Oklahoma ReviewPenwood ReviewRoomSolo Novo, and elsewhere. Her poetry collection Inclusions is forthcoming from Červená Barva Press.  Previously, Joanna published two books of poetry in Poland (Ściana : The Wall, 1997; and Obok : Near, 1999). 

She holds a doctorate in literature from the University of Illinois at Chicago (2007) and her critical works appeared in Anglican Theological ReviewThe Conradian (forthcoming); Joseph Conrad TodayNewPages, Sarmatian ReviewSlavic and East European Journal, and elsewhere. She has taught at American universities, including the University of Chicago and, most recently, Indiana University, Bloomington IN.

Here are some links to other poems she's written:

-Joanna's facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/JoannaKurowskapoetry?ref=hl

-Apple Valley Review, Fall 2011:  http://www.applevalleyreview.com/ 
-Write From Wrong (December 2010):  http://writefromwrong.com/2010/12/14/poetry-december/
-Strong Verse (October 2010):  http://www.strongverse.org


Her book The Wall and Beyond is available from eLectio Publishing and Amazon.  (Click on the links to purchase)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tatra Highlander Folk Culture in Poland and America

Growing up in a Polish neighborhood in Chicago, I  heard a lot about the people of the Tatra Highlands, the Górals; and sadly much that I heard was disparaging.  My neighbors were mostly from the north and east of Poland, and they felt that only the Poles from those region were true Poles.  According to them, the Górals  were uncouth, uneducated, and unwashed.  (Interestingly, my neighbors also didn't have much good to say about the people of Warsaw!  But that's another story.)

Thaddeus Gromada, a retired professor of European History and one of the great authorities on Tatra Highlander culture, has written a book that sets the record straight on the Górals.

The book consists of a series of short, very readable essays on the people of the highlands, their history and their ways and what happened to them when they came to America.  A number of these essays talk about Prof. Gromada's own roots in the highland.

I was especially interested in the memoiristic pieces about growing up in a Polish American home where the old traditions were still carried on.  

And I'm not the only one who likes the book.  Here's a blurb from Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter's National Security Advisor.

A sentimental and illuminating collection of insights about  a unique mountain region of Poland which pulsates with invigorating mountain air, native patriotism, regional culture, distinctive traditions, and physical beauty characteristic both if its landscape and of its people.  Engaging to read, educational to absorb, it is the product of genuine scholarship and personal affection on part of its editor, a distinguished Polish-American educator with deep family roots in the Tatra Highlands.”


About the author

Thaddeus V. Gromada received his Ph.D. in East Central European History at Fordham University. He is currently Professor Emeritus of European History at New Jersey City University.  From 1991 to 2011 he served as Executive Director of the Polish Institute of Arts & Sciences of America (PIASA) and from 2008 to 2011 was also its President.  Editor and contributor of several books and author of many articles in scholarly journals dealing with Polish-Czech-Slovak relations, Immigration and Ethnic History of the U.S., and Polish Tatra folk culture. He is the founder and co-editor with his sister Jane Gromada Kedron of The Tatra Eagle (Tatrzański Orzeł). Elected honorary member of the Związek Podhalan (Highlanders Alliance) in Poland as well as in America. In 2000 he received the Commanders Cross of Merit from the President of Poland

Order books at 30% discount directly from Tatra Eagle Press: 31 Madison Ave, Hasbrouck Heights, NJ 07604.  Sale price:  $10. Plus $2.50  Total; $12.50. Make checks payable to “Tatra Eagle Press”   Tel. 201 288-3815 or 336-940-5656 
Ship to: __________________________________________________________________________
Tel._____________________   E mail ________________

The book is also available through Amazon.  Click here.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Polish Social: New Polish Webzine

I received the following today regarding a new Polish webzine:

A new Polish Webzine/Weekly Newsletter has launched in Chicago

 Here is a little about Polish Social:
 Polish Social is the brainchild of two Chicago women with a commitment
 to community, a pulse on Chicago ’s art & culture scenes, and a belief
 in the power of networking and organizing. We will link you to events,
 job opportunities, innovators in disparate fields; we will provide you
 with news of interest to a new generation of Polish Chicagoans.
 Professional and integrated into the larger Chicago community, our
 readers are shaping a new network of leaders.

 Being Polish in Chicago is sort of a tale of two cities – in one (the
collection of Polish communities that dot this city), there is a
 strong culturally Polish identity, in the other (the city of Chicago
 as a whole), there is an opportunity for Poles from all fields to step
 into leadership positions and showcase the Polish community as a
 vibrant and essential part of this city’s fabric.

 We hope you can subscribe to the site via the home page subscription
 icon on the left or you can send an email to polishsocial@gmail.com

 If you have events or items for the editorial team to cover please
 send that information to polishsocial@gmail.com

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Call for Submissions: Immigrant Stories

German-American writer Ursula Hegi, author of the excellent novel Stones from the River, is editing an anthology of fiction by immigrant writers.  Here's the official call.  

Call for Submission: Second Voice Anthology

Second Voice offers three literary prizes, $1,000, $500, and $250, for fiction by immigrants who write in English but grew up within another language and culture. We are interested in short stories and novel excerpts of 7,000 words or less from established and new writers. 

Submissions are free and can be posted at tsrpublishing.submittable.com/submit under the anthology link.

The anthology is edited by bicultural writer Ursula Hegi, author of Tearing The Silence: On Being German in America and a PEN/Faulkner winner.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Misteria Czasu by Jolanta Wróbel-Best

One of the most interesting Polish writers of the turn of the last century was Taduesz Miciński (1873-1918). He was part poet, part mystic, and part advocate of the Polish soul.  He anticipated the ideas of Expressionism and Surrealism in Polish literature.  W mrokach zlotego palacu, czyli Bazilissa Teofanu (In the Darkness of the Golden Palace or Bazilissa Teofanu) is regarded as one of the best artistic works by Micinski (1909).

Scholar Jolanta Wróbel-Best's study of his philosophy and works and their relationship to Henri Bergson's metaphysics will surely increase Miciński's reputation.

Here's a brief description of Professor Wróbel-Best's book:

Misteria czasu.  Problematyka temporalna Taduesza Micińskiego (The Mystery of Time.  The Idea of Temporality by Tadeusz Micinski) by Jolanta Wróbel-Best, Kraków: Universitas Publishing House, 2012 (In Polish).

This interdisciplinary book connects philosophy and literature, and it is composed of two supplementary parts. The first part includes six analytical chapters debating various ways of creating concrete poetical images of time in the Polish/European literature of the XIX/XX centuries.  The second, synthetic part exposes the union between Tadeusz Micinski's (1873-1918) concept of time and Henri Bergson's (1859-1941) metaphysics

The book examines time in a preliminary way as a thematic category (according to the definition of Jean-Paul Richard, a representative of the school of French thematic critique).  This examination leads to the philosophy of time which is closely related to Bergson’s ideas of the heterogeneous duration and intuition.  Thus, time will be tightly connected with the bearings of memory, mind, soul or self, and the endurance of “elan vital.”  It also introduces the issues of anthropology.  In conclusion, the book probes Bergson’s impact on European literary (post)modernity.  In addition, it formulates a fundamental question: “Does Bergsonism exist in the Polish symbolic drama of the XIX/XX centuries?”

The book is available through the publisher.  Click here.  


Jolanta Wrobel Best received her PhD in the Humanities (Literature, Philosophy) from the Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland, and subsequently served as an assistant professor there.  Her current experience includes a faculty appointment at Houston Community College in Houston, Texas, a correspondent position for CKCU Literary News at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, and cooperation with "Ruch Literacki" of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Cracow, Poland.  She is the author of a book and about twenty scholarly articles.  Works in progress include a book on comparative literature and a book on Levinas’s philosophy.  She participates in academic societies such as the American Philosophical Association (APA), the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES), the International Institute for Hermeneutics (IIH), and the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences of America (PIASA).  In November, she is scheduled to present her paper on Polish literature and the history of ideas as well as to chair a panel discussion on Slavic studies at the 2012 ASEEES Convention in New Orleans, LA.  She appears in the 2012 Edition of Who's Who in America by Marquis.