Ariadne’s Notes: On Thursday, March 10, 2016, The World Poetry Café Radio Show, CFRO, 100.5 FM, with host, Ariadne Sawyer and co-host Neal Ryon and sound engineer Victor Schwartzman welcomed the powerful poet and writer, John Z. Guzlowski with his new and powerful book Echoes of Tattered Tongues: Memory Unfolded,The Story of a War Refugee Immigrant Family in America. This book is very moving since it pertains to the times we are in. and
It reflects the ongoing trauma that is disabling and painful and can last for generations. Echoes of Tattered Tongues: Memory Unfolded, is powerful and compeling and needs to be required reading for all. www.AquilaPolonica.com. www.nbnbooks.com and on Amazon.
* Due to problems with the radio archives, the link cannot be posted yet.
The Story of a War Refugee Immigrant Family in America
Echoes of Tattered Tongues: Memory Unfolded By John Z. Guzlowski
Praise for John Guzlowski: “Exceptional…astonished me. Reveals an enormous ability for grasping reality.”— Nobel Laureate Czesław Miłosz on Guzlowski’s poetry in Language of Mules.
According to the UN High Commission for Refugees, more than 50 million people are now refugees or internally displaced. The current crisis is being compared to the refugee crisis that overtook Europe after World War II. Between 1945 and 1959, the United States accepted some 461,000 refugees from war-torn Europe.
About the author
Over a writing career that spans more than 40 years, John Guzlowski has amassed a significant body of published work in a wide range of genres: poetry, prose, literary criticism, reviews, fiction and nonfiction. His work has appeared in numerous national journals and anthologies, and in four prior books.
Guzlowski received his B.A. in English Literature from the University of Illinois, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in English from Purdue University. He is a Professor Emeritus of English Literature at Eastern Illinois University, and currently lives in Lynchburg, Virginia.
A voice from that earlier refugee crisis, John Guzlowski, illuminates what it’s like being a war refugee in his new book, Echoes of Tattered Tongues: Memory Unfolded (coming March 2016). Guzlowski, together with his older sister and their parents, fled a refugee camp in Germany in 1951, arriving penniless at an apple farm in Upstate New York, after passing through Ellis Island.
Guzlowski’s parents had been slave laborers in German concentration camps during the war. They were not Jews, but young Christians torn from their homes in Poland by the Germans and sent by cattle car to work in the camps. Guzlowski’s grandmother, his aunt and her infant baby were brutally assaulted and murdered by German soldiers during the round-up. Guzlowski’s father barely survived four years in Buchenwald; his mother three years in different camps.
Echoes of Tattered Tongues captures in prose and verse the horrors and hardships that Guzlowski’s family endured during the war, and the ways in which the trauma echoes down through time as the refugees struggle to build a new life in a foreign land where they are branded as displaced persons and despised immigrants. The book travels backward in time, beginning with his parents’ retirement in 1990 in Sun City, Arizona and ending with the war.
The Guzlowski family settled in a tough immigrant neighborhood near Humboldt Park in Chicago. One of Guzlowski’s poems from this period entitled “Friends in America: Murdertown” begins, “My friends were beaten, / stabbed, pulled from their bikes / and cars and knocked into the street…the papers called this area / Murdertown.”
Many passages in the book explore the author’s long-running argument with God. In the poem “My Father’s Teeth” he writes, “He knows God has answered all the prayers / He will, and tired of the camps even He / no longer looks for Buchenwald on the maps.”
Other passages reconstruct the inner life of his parents. In “What the War Taught Her” he writes of his mother, “She learned that the world is a broken place / Where no birds sing, and even angels / Cannot bear the sorrows God gives them.”
Echoes of Tattered Tongues captures the long shadow that war, brutality, loss of homeland, and displacement can cast across a single family. Says Guzlowski:
When my mother was 83 years old and dying, we were sitting in the evening in Sun City, Arizona, and she was telling me about the war. She was telling me what the German soldiers were doing to the girls in the camps. One terrible thing after another. And I looked up and saw that she was about to tell me something so terrible that it would just about be the worst thing I’d ever heard, the last flash and stroke of lightning, and I said to her, “Mom, I don’t want to hear it.” And she said, “Okay, you’re 58 years old and still a baby, so I won’t tell you.”
Kelly Cherry, Poet Laureate of Virginia (2010–2012) says about Echoes: “Deeply moving. A powerful, lasting, sometimes shocking book. Superb.”
About the author
Over a writing career that spans more than 40 years, John Guzlowski has
About the publisher
Aquila Polonica is an award-winning independent publisher based in Los Angeles, specializing in publishing, in English, the World War II experience of Poland—the first of the Allies to fight Hitler. It is a member of the Association of American Publishers and the Independent Book Publishers Association. Its titles are distributed by National Book Network, www.nbnbooks.com. All of its books to date have won awards. They’ve garnered rave reviews in major media such as the New York Times, New Republic and Atlantic; most have been Selections of the History Book Club, Military Book Club and/or Book-of-the-Month Club. They’ve been translated to foreign languages and licensed as audiobooks. See more at: www.AquilaPolonica.com.
Echoes of Tattered Tongues: Memory Unfolded
by John Z. Guzlowski
Pub Date: March 2016
Page Count: 200
Size: 6” x 9”
Illustrations: 6 black & white photos
Trade distribution: National Book Network, www.nbnbooks.com