Monday, July 28, 2014

SLICING THE BREAD by Maja Trochimczyk

Maja Trochimczyk, poet, publisher, and scholar, has just published a new book of her own poems about the experiences of her Polish family during World War II and the Cold War.

These poems in Slicing the Bread: Children's Survival Manual in 25 Poems are written with the clarity of truth and the fullness of fine poetry.  If you feel that you have heard all there is to hear about those troubled times, you will learn in this book that you haven’t.  Her poetic mixing of family narrative and the memories of other survivors feels like the essential stories our own parents told us when they wanted us to know that there were experiences that we must never forget. 

Here are the stories of how the people she loved experienced hunger and suffering and terror so strong that it defined them and taught her, and teach us, the meaning of family.

The title poem “Slicing the Bread” is the best introduction to this work:

Slicing the Bread

Her mother’s hunger. One huge pot of hot water
with some chopped weeds –komesa, lebioda
she taught her to recognize their leaves,
just in case – plus a spoonful of flour
for flavor. Lunch for twenty people
crammed into a two-bedroom house.

The spring was the worst–flowers, birdsong,
and nothing to eat.  You had to wait
for the rye and potatoes to grow. The pantry
was empty. She was hungry. Always hungry.
She ate raw wheat sometimes. Too green,
The kernels she chewed –still milky –made her sick.

Thirty years after the war,
her mother stashed paper bags with sliced, dried bread
on top shelves in her Warsaw kitchen.
Twenty, thirty bags… enough food for a month.
Don’t ever throw any bread away, her mother said.
Remember, war is hunger.

Every week, her mother ate dziad soup –
fit for a beggar, made with crumbled wheat buns,
stale sourdough loaves, pieces of dark rye
soaked in hot tea with honey.
She liked it. She wanted to remember

its taste. 


This third poetry book by Maja Trochimczyk can be ordered now and will be printed and shipped in October.  The limited edition's pre-publication sales will determine the press run, so please reserve your copy now.  The books cost $14 each, plus $2.99 for shipping.  

You can order your copy of Slicing the Bread on the Finishing Line Press website by clicking here.