- Danville, Virginia, USA
- June 22
- I was born in a refugee camp in Germany after World War II, and came with my Polish Catholic parents Jan and Tekla and my sister Donna to the United States as Displaced Persons in 1951. My parents had been slave laborers in Nazi Germany.
Growing up in the immigrant and DP neighborhoods around Humboldt Park in Chicago, I met Jewish hardware store clerks with Auschwitz tattoos on their wrists, Polish cavalry officers who still mourned for their dead horses, and women who walked from Siberia to Iran to escape the Russians. I write about these people.
MY RECENT POSTS
- 6 Short Poems about the Monk
November 23, 2014 08:29PM
- The Emptying by Jerome
November 19, 2014 01:10PM
- Family Photographs --
November 18, 2014 03:15PM
- End of Summer, 2014
November 16, 2014 02:33PM
- Jack Kerouac -- King of the
November 15, 2014 02:57PM
MY RECENT COMMENTS
- “KosherS, yes he traveled
there. He wrote a note for the
November 19, 2014 06:18PM
- “Jonathan, part of my
problem is that my dad was an
from the age of 5,
November 18, 2014 04:49PM
- “But the more I think
about this kind of thing the
less I feel
I have to say
November 18, 2014 03:45PM
- “KosherS, I think I
gathered this stuff together
to give me a
shove in that
November 18, 2014 03:43PM
- “My dad was healthy and
active and then discovered he
liver cancer and
November 17, 2014 05:58AM
John guzlowski's Links
- MY LINKS
Continuing my occasional posting of poems from Blood to Remember: American Poets on the Holocaust (ed. Charles Fishman), here's Jerome Rothenberg's Dos Oysleydikn (The Emptying), a mediation on Poland after the Holocaust.
Here's a link to Mr. Rothenberg reading the poe… Read full post »
My friend Anglo-Polish artist Mieczyslaw Kasprzyk posted some of his family photographs on Facebook recently and wrote some remarks about them. Originally, he planned only to post 5 photos and his commentary, but the project has expanded. At this point, he has written about more… Read full post »
End of Summer:
Summer comes early to southside Virginia. I start mowing usually around the start of March. For me that's the official start of Summer. The calendars tell you it's sometime in late June, but don't believe them. Calendars are created b… Read full post »
I watched Kerouac: the King of the Beats, a documentary on Kerouac and 10 minutes of a movie based on K's novel Big Sur this morning, on Netflix. In the 60s I was a big Kerouac fan, read my first Kerouac novel as I was walking home from finding… Read full post »
I first heard of World War I when we came to America as Displaced Persons in 1951. We were refugees after World War II, and we moved into a basement apartment on Hamilton Street in Chicago.
Our landlord was a veteran of the First World War. He was a… Read full post »
I first saw him in front of the barracks. He was walking with six other prisoners, a German soldier behind them pushing at them with some kind of rifle. Your father wasn’t how he is now. He was skinny then, like two shoelaces tied together.
I was not… Read full post »
The Day My Mother Felt Good
Monday she’d been crying a lot
thinking she’d never walk again.
It was the Jerry Lewis Telethon
that did it to her, listening to him
talk about the kids who can’t walk.
She felt he was talking about her.
My/… Read full post »
Dreaming in Buchenwald
The world burns before our eyes,
and the smell of everything red
is on our skin.
We wait in line for bread
that never comes. We speak
to strangers thinking they will
tell us where our lives are.
We pray in the barracks
and the fields for the mi/… Read full post »
The Coming of Columbus
their slow growth
upward and outward
and leaves stopped
the waiting air
In the tallest branches
their crooked beaks
into the wind… Read full post »
He stood up and braced himself against a crate and unbuttoned his trousers. He had to relieve himself, and this was a good place. Even though it was cold in the bus, he could smell that other men had done the same thing here, and for the same reason. It… Read full post »
When my mother was dying, she insisted for a long time that she could beat death.
She had survived the murder of her family by the nazis, years in concentration camps, living from hand to mouth in America, an alcoholic husband suffering from PTSD, two cancers, arthritis that crippled her… Read full post »
Road of Bones: That's the title of my forthcoming novel (ÄŒervená Barva Press) about two German lovers separated by war. It's set in Berlin and the Russian Front during one cold week in January of 1945. The main characters are Hans, a soldier, and Magda, a w/… Read full post »
I first heard about Janet R. Kirchheimer and her project to make BE*HOLD, a documentary focusing on poetry dealing with the Holocaust, this last summer. I was immediately interested in the focus of this work and the possibilities that it raised for understanding how people respon… Read full post »
We are in our bodies and not in our bodies.
We are not where we say we are and we are where we say we are.
The truth is always the truth and not the truth.
If it wasn't, it wouldn't be.
I'm a wave and… Read full post »
He was born in a refugee camp in
Germany in 1945.
He was 1 pound 8 ounces.
He was a leaf of grass. He was lovely.
He was born dreaming his
of flying like a robin through the sky
and eating everything
that was pure and good and golden.
And… Read full post »
I saw an article at the NY Review of Books Blog about whether or not war is coming. The piece is called "Birds of War" by Christopher Benfey.
He got me thinking.
It seems to me it's an odd question because there is always war coming.
I was born in 1948… Read full post »
From my unpublished novel Suitcase Charlie:
Hank sat down on the wet park bench next to his partner Marvin.
Even on a rainy night, it was a nice view. He looked at the dark lagoon and the boathouse across the water. It was like some kind of baronial mansion… Read full post »
Recently, Maureen E Doallas interviewed me for her art and culture website Writing Without Paper about my Polish background and the War and how they have influenced my writing.
Polish Literature and Me
Polish Literature and I have had a stormy relationship. For much of my writing and reading life, I wanted nothing to do with it or any other aspect of Poland’s culture or history. I didn’t want to know anything about
While crossing the North Atlantic on a recent cruise, I read a number of sea novels, most by Joseph Conrad. He's a great writer and the experience was perfect, but the wildest book I read wasn't by Conrad.
It was undoubtedly Herman Melville's Moby Dick.
I've read this novel… Read full post »
My own favorite would probably be something from Shakespeare:
"To be or not to Be--that is the question."
or maybe Dickinson:
"I heard a fly buzz when I died."
or perhaps Whitman:
"A child said, What is the grass? fetching it to me with full hands;
How could I answer the… Read full post »
My father didn’t know why he didn’t die when so many of his friends did.
He once told a story about being hauled out of his barracks with hundreds of other prisoners for a roll call. It was a January night, snowing and below zero, and the men were… Read full post »