BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — Born in a World War II work camp to parents who were slave laborers under the Nazis, John Guzlowski will share his poetry about their lives and other victims at a reading and book signing at St. Francis College on Tuesday, Oct. 11 at 4 p.m. in Founders Hall.
Guzlowski came with his family to the United States as a “displaced person” in 1951. Growing up in the immigrant and refugee neighborhoods around Humboldt Park in Chicago, he met hardware store clerks with Auschwitz tattoos on their wrists, Polish cavalry officers who still mourned for their dead comrades, and women who had walked from Siberia to Iran to escape the Russians. His poetry, fiction, and essays try to remember them and their voices.
John Guzlowski is retired from Eastern Illinois University, where he taught contemporary American literature and poetry writing. In his books Lightning and Ashes, Third Winter of War: Buchenwald, and Language of Mules and Other Poems, he writes about his parents’ experiences in German concentration camps. In 2001 he won the Illinois Arts Council Fellowship Award, and his poems have been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize. He has also published extensively on contemporary American fiction in journals such as Shofar, Modern Fiction Studies, Polish Review, Critique, Polish American Studies, Studies in Jewish American Literature, and Ascent. He blogs about his parents and their experiences at http://lightning-and-ashes. blogspot.com/ .
Guzlowski is the third speaker in a series created by English Professor Gregory Tague and sponsored by the English Department of St. Francis College. All of the authors have contributed to anthologies edited by Professor Tague and published by Editions Bibliotekos. Guzlowski’s story, “The German,” about the murder of his aunt and her baby, was chronicled in the war-themed collection, Battle Runes.
Past events featured a reading by Nahid Rachlin, author of the memoir Persian Girls and an event with writer Mitch Levenberg and poets Ruth Sabath Rosenthal, Lynne Shapiro, Anique Taylor and Anne Whitehouse.