john guzlowski

john guzlowski
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.


JULY 30, 2014 10:16AM

War Reparations


Recently, I was following a discussion on Facebook about reparations from the German Government to people who suffered in the concentration and slave labor camps in Nazi Germany during WWII. 


The discussion centered around whether or not financial reparations can actually c… Read full post »

JULY 14, 2014 4:06PM

The Internet is a Wondrous Place!

About a month ago I was googling myself (seeing what was up with the way I'm interacting with the universe), and I came across a link to an essay on Isaac Bashevis Singer that mentioned me.  I spent about 15 years of my academic career writing about Singer, and so I… Read full post »


It started with Walking Dead and continues through The Last Ship, and soon I'll be watching the Strain and Under the Dome and Extant and Falling Skies.


I'll see the world brought to an end by zombies, vampires, diseases, and alien invasions.


And God maybe.


I… Read full post »

JULY 8, 2014 3:50PM

The Way You Will Go



My friend Sandra Kolankiewicz has a new poem of poems coming out called The Way You Will Go, and she needs to have a certain number of pre-release sales.  

Sandra is a terrific writer.   Here's my short Amazon review of her previous book:

I really can’t tellRead full post »

JULY 7, 2014 11:25AM

Ekphrastic Poem


Ekphrastic Poem: 



In the photo, she stands behind a crescent moon.


Behind her there are clouds, behind the clouds there is always what is always before her eyes. Her mother dead on the floor, her face redrawn by the bullets from the guns of

Read full post »

Ten Things I see from the Division Street Bus, 1967



1.      The young man in a white T-shirt

and black slacks puts his right hand

into his pocket and stands on the corner

of Division and California. 


His left hand holds a paper sho

Read full post »
JUNE 25, 2014 1:50PM

Escape into Life

Margarita Georgiadis, anointed



Five of my poems were recently featured in the online journal Escape into Life. 

The poems are somewhat different from those I normally write.  If you've been coming to this blog for a while, you know I often write about my parents and their experiences in Nazi G… Read full post »

JUNE 25, 2014 10:26AM



Not Not Crazy

Some of us are crazy
and some of us are not 
not crazy.

We live on hunches 
and dream of burgers. 

We wait for God 
like he's Godot.

Not Not!
Who's there?.    Read full post »
JUNE 23, 2014 1:37PM

Aging Isn't Easy

I just turned 66 and last night I got a birthday note from my sister.  She wanted to know about my health, so I told her about the arthritis in my shoulder and knees, the swelling in my ankles that I get more and more often, theRead full post »
JUNE 21, 2014 4:16PM

66th Birthday Bash


Read full post »
JUNE 20, 2014 8:58PM

A Favor

Please click on the link below.  I am trying to encourage a British publisher to do more of my essays and poetry, and he keeps track of how many people click on the essay of mine he published about my mom and how I cooked for her when she got tooRead full post »


It’s simple:

the dinosaurs. 

I mean, why create them?

They’re weird by any stretch of the imagination.  So weird that (if evolution is to be believed) they evolved or didn’t evolve their asses right out of here.  And if you want to discount evolutionRead full post »

JUNE 16, 2014 11:45AM

Letter to Sara

Dear Sara,

Sorry to hear your continuing job troubles. 

All I can do is recommend that you try writing a novel about small town life. I mean it worked for Sherwood Anderson. 

It could still work. 

I mean when was the last time America fell in love with a smallRead full post »

JUNE 11, 2014 3:02PM

A Story about Mowing


I was mowing the grass and a neighbor came up to me with his dog. We've met once before. He gave me a tip about the mulch I was putting down. 

This time he asked how I was doing, and I said okay. 

He mentioned Roanoke and startedRead full post »

Let me first say that there are poets and poems I really really like.


Here's a short list of poets who immediately and without prompting come to mind:


Whitman, Robert Lowell, Emily Dickinson, Randall Jarrell, Robert Frost, Ai, Wisława Szymborska, Homer, Francois Vil

Read full post »
JUNE 7, 2014 6:30PM

Obama Chews Gum on D-Day!


Obama Chews Gum on D-Day: Apparently, Obama was chewing gum at the ceremony commemorating the 70 th anniversary. I don't have a problem with this. I figure he was trying to show his solidarity with the GIs who crossed over the channel. They were scared as shit and chewing

Read full post »

Today, June 6, is the 70th anniversary of the Allied invasion of Europe.  It's a day that means a lot to me.  

My parents were two of the 15 million or so people who were swept up by the Nazis and taken to Germany to be slave laborers.  My mom Read full post »

My friend Oriana Ivy has offered me her most recent posting from her blog:  



Nietzsche: sculpture by Peter Lenk

I love the great despisers,
for they are great worshippers,
arrows of longing for the ot/… Read full post »

MAY 23, 2014 11:23AM

Israel Gutman Interview Part 3

The third and final section of Breindel Lieber Kasher’s 60-page interview with Holocaust Survivor and co-founder of Yad Vashem Israel Gutman is now available at Writing the Holocaust, where the entire review can also be read and discussed. In/… Read full post »


The Nazis directed a part of their machinery of death to the eradication of the Gypsies (the Roma people).  Of the 1,000,000 gypsies in Europe before World War II, 25% were murdered by the Nazis.  

To read more about this aspect of the Holocaust, you can click on thisRead full post »

MAY 20, 2014 2:19PM

In My Dreams



In my dreams

There are no people, just things like cars and trees and sometimes a highway but no people. Not my wife Linda or my daughter Lillian or my grand-daughter Lulu, not even my mother or father, or my sister who is still alive and lives in Chicago.

SometimesRead full post »

MAY 19, 2014 10:23AM

Heart Attack Update--Spring 2014

It's been four years since my heart trouble and my open heart surgery.  I'm feeling pretty good.  I'm getting around, traveling, eating way too much, gambling when I can, drinking wine every night, and writing.  This last weekend my wife Linda, my daughter Lillian, my grand-daughter Lu… Read full post »

MAY 9, 2014 10:13AM

Mother's Day Poem: A Repost

Mother’s Day Poem


I remember my mother, her old house,

the miracle of her love, her fingers

on my cheek brushing away the night,

the world coming home for breakfast,

her eyes asking if I’d been on the road

for long and was the traffic

Read full post »
MAY 2, 2014 2:39PM

A Secret

One year I decided to only write poems about all the secrets I've kept from people.

I did.

I can't show you any of them.

APRIL 28, 2014 10:32AM

Holocaust Remembrance Day


My father spent four years as a slave laborer in Nazi Germany, and my mother spent two and a half years there.  They were two of about 12 million people who were taken to Germany to do the work the Germans needed done while their own workforce was out… Read full post »