Echoes of Tattered Tongues: Memory Unfolded

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Aquila Polonica
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6.1 X 0.9 X 9.1 inches | 1.0 pounds
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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 poems and stories have appeared in such national journals as North American Review, Ontario Review, Rattle, Chattahoochee Review, Atlanta Review, Nimrod, Crab Orchard Review, Marge, Poetry East, Vocabula Review. He was the featured poet in the 2007 edition of Spoon River Poetry Review. Garrison Keillor read Guzlowski's poem "What My Father Believed" on his program The Writers Almanac. Critical essays by Guzlowski about contemporary American, Polish, and Jewish authors can be the found in such journals as Modern Fiction Studies, Polish Review, Shofar, Polish American Studies, Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction, and Studies in Jewish American Literature. His previously published books include Language of Mules (DP Press), Lightning and Ashes (Steel Toe Books), Third Winter of War: Buchenwald (Finishing Line Press), and Suitcase Charlie (White Stag/Ravenswood). Guzlowski's work has also been included in anthologies such as Blood to Remember: American Poets on the Holocaust (Time Being Books), Cherries with Chopin (Moonrise Press), Common Boundary: Stories of Immigration (Editions Bibliotekos), and Longman Academic Reading Series 5 Student Book (Pearson Education ESL). Guzlowski's most recent book, Echoes of Tattered Tongues: Memory Unfolded, won the Gold Award for Poetry at the 2017 Benjamin Franklin Awards, and the 2017 Montaigne Medal of the Eric Hoffer Awards as one of the most-thought provoking books of the year. It got excellent reviews from many reviewers, including Publishers Weekly, World Literature Today, Harvard Review, Shelf Awareness, the current Poet Laureate of Illinois, and a past Poet Laureate of Virginia. Winner of the Illinois Arts Council's $7,500 Award for Poetry, Guzlowski has also been short-listed for the Bakeless Award and Eric Hoffer Award, and nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and four Pushcart Prizes. He has been honored by the Georgia State Commission on the Holocaust for his work. In reviewing Guzlowski's book Language of Mules, Nobel Laureate Czeslaw Milosz wrote, "Exceptional...even astonished me...reveals an enormous ability for grasping reality." Born in a refugee camp in Germany after World War II, Guzlowski came to America with his family as a Displaced Person in 1951. His parents had been Polish slave laborers in Nazi Germany during the war. Growing up in the tough immigrant 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 horses, and women who had walked from Siberia to Iran to escape the Russians. In much of his work, Guzlowski remembers and honors the experiences and ultimate strength of these voiceless survivors. Guzlowski received his B.A. in English Literature from the University of Illinois, Chicago, 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 Virginia. Bio of Charles Adès Fishman Charles Adès Fishman, who wrote the Foreword to this book, is an award-winning poet, editor and Emeritus Distinguished Service Professor of English & Humanities, State University of New York. While his extensive oeuvre spans a broad spectrum of topics, he has particular interest in the Holocaust and the Jewish experience. Among his many credentials, Fishman has served as a poetry consultant to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. for more than twenty years. Other Books by John Guzlowski: Suitcase Charlie Paperback: 384 pages Publisher: White Stag/Ravenswood (2015) Language: English ISBN-10: 1508975523 ISBN-13: 978-1508975526 Lightning and Ashes Paperback: 96 pages Publisher: Steel Toe Books (2007) Language: English ISBN-10: 0974326453 ISBN-13: 978-0974326450 The Third Winter of War: Buchenwald Paperback: 36 pages Publisher: Finishing Line Press (2007) ISBN-10: 1599241749 ISBN-13: 978-1599241746 Jezyk mulów i inne wiersze/Language of Mules and Other Poems Translated into Polish by Bohdan Zadura Paperback: 109 pages Publisher: Katowice: Biblioteka Slaska (2002) Language: Bilingual Polish/English ISBN 83-87849-38-3 Language of Mules Paperback: 32 pages Publisher: DP Press (1999) Language: English No ISBN


"Powerful...Deserves attention and high regard. To read these poems is to lift the lid on history and risk a step inside. One not only suffers the furnace but also endures, like the poet himself, the human will to counter history's inferno with an awful fire all its own. The poet's spare voice sings as austerely as his parents' trunk cobbled of Buchenwald wallboards. These poems do not flinch even as they take and give a punch: each note the pitch of absence given body, each silence a terrible waiting answered by singed arrival." - See more at: http: // Stein "Poet Laureate of Illinois "
"Deeply moving. John Guzlowski has written a powerful, lasting, and sometimes shocking book, one in which prose and poetry join hands to document a felt comprehension of the horrors perpetrated by the Nazis in WWII. He tells the stories his parents would have told had they not been living them. Thus these pages honor his forebears and indeed all those who were in the camps. The stories will haunt you but we must read them or fail to grasp what humans can do to humans. Anyone who wishes to consider himself or herself knowledgeable about the world in which, for better or for worse, we live, will read this superb book."--Kelly Cherry "Poet Laureate of Virginia (2010-2012) "
"Remarkable blend of academic scrutiny with stark, uncompromising humanity. What I find fascinating is Guzlowski's ability to always say something new...balancing overarching social commentary with the smallest, heart-wrenching details."--Michael Meyerhofer "Atticus Review, on Guzlowski's earlier work. Atticus Review, September 3, 2013, http: // "
The son of two Nazi concentration camp prisoners, John Guzlowski was born in a Displaced Persons camp and immigrated to Chicago with his little sister and Polish mother and father shortly after WWII. This devastating, one-of-a-kind collection uses poems and short essays to reveal unspeakable moments from his parents' wartime experiences, and the less-than-open arms America mostly extended to millions of families fleeing the ruins of Europe.--Matt Sutherland "Foreword Reviews, Spring 2016; https: // "
John Guzlowski's rugged poems rise like a land-bridge emerging from would-be oblivion to connect continents, generations, and a deeply felt personal present with the tragic, implacable history of the twentieth century.--Stuart Dybek
I could not praise it enough--masterfully done. Reads almost like a novel.--Gregory F. Tague, Professor
It's hard to read this book. Not because the prose is in any way turgid or the poetry difficult in that pretentious way that once was the fashion. It's hard to read this book because it is so honest. So clear. Like a crystal clear day you get in the cold sunlight of seeing into people's souls... This is a book to hold and to hug, to stroke softly.--Martin Stepek
Exceptional...even astonished me...reveals an enormous ability for grasping reality.--Nobel Laureate Czeslaw Milosz
Guzlowski should join the annals of the great recording angels, not just for his unsparing yet compassionate language but also because he makes clear what is so easy to forget: that no matter how many years pass, such events never do.--Lola Haskins, Florida poet and author, Gainesville FL
Brings us face to face with what we cannot allow ourselves to forget.--Jared Carter
An experimental yet deeply satisfying mongrel at the intersection of poetry, history, biography, and memoir--in the same vein as Art Spiegelman's MAUS, but with poems instead of pictures...It progresses in three movements, each movement delving deeper into the past--unfolding memory and uncovering missing pieces of the historical record: from his parents' twilight years, to mid-century--John's childhood--when they left the DP camp in Germany and emigrated to America, and finally, to the War itself, and the root of the deep unhappiness his parents carried with them to the grave. Guzlowski's attempt to learn and feel the origins of his parents' pain thus brings us into closer emotional touch with the entirety of the War in Europe, widening by necessity from the particular to the general. It is a unorthodox way of telling such a story: though there are many examples of poems written by poets who experienced the camps firsthand, examples of secondhand histories told in verse are thin indeed. And yet it works, in ways that defy analysis or easy summary. Guzlowski's empathy and imagination are extraordinary, at times truly shocking. His verse, which brings to mind variously Charles Bukowski, Charles Simic, and Philip Levine, has a vernacular concreteness and clarity that is all the more startling when it breaks sharply with realism, and he deftly captures those quirks of personality that bring characters into full view. Less than halfway through the book, I had unconsciously slipped from thinking What a novel way to tell this story to I can't imagine how else it could be told. And as if that weren't enough, Aquila Polonica Publishing deserves great credit for producing a book that is a beautiful artifact, from its cloth and leather binding, to its creamy paper, to the stunning photographs that accompany the text. In every respect, Echoes of Tattered Tongues is an achievement that deserves wide recognition and long remembrance. https: // Kroczek "As It Ought To Be Blog, February 26, 2017 "
"A wonderful book and a very important one. Unwaveringly lucid and luminous poems...leave his readers with no safe perches yet show them how to mourn and praise. Extraordinary."--Charles Ades Fishman, Editor of 'Blood to Remember: American Poets on the Holocaust" and Poetry Editor of "PRISM: An Interdisciplinary Journal for Holocaust"
Like most immigrant kids, John Guzlowski never wanted to write about his Polish parents and the world they left when they came to America.... Unlike most stories of this kind, however, Guzlowski's is told mostly in poems, which forces the author to wield formal control over a material that's painful and distressing. Luckily for us, in Echoes of Tattered Tongues: Memory Unfolded (Aquila Polonica, 2016), Guzlowski writes taut poems--he cares about the narrative as much as the voice or the image....These beautifully realized lines not only showcase Guzlowski's poetic sensibility but also keep the poem from slipping into sentimentality.... Guzlowski aims to write not only about his parents' lives "but also about the lives of all those forgotten, voiceless refugees, DPs, and survivors that the last century produced, no matter where they came from." In doing so, he appeals to our shared desire to understand how the present continues to be shaped by the past. http: // Literature Today, April 13, 2016
Book Trailer of the Day: Echoes of Tattered Tongues. A searing memoir by the poet who, with his Polish parents--who worked as slave laborers in Nazi concentration camps--were refugees and settled in the U.S. in 1951. Book Trailer at https: // (http: // Awareness
Guzlowski (Lightning and Ashes), a Polish-American writer born in a German refugee camp after WWII, recounts the horrible atrocities enacted upon his parents during the war in these straightforward, gut-wrenching narrative lyric poems. These snapshots of Nazi German rule illustrate that hardship didn't end with German surrender; the aftershocks radiated through successive generations. Guzlowski's simple language highlights the violence without offering any comment or consolation...each word means more in the sparse, unadorned language Guzlowski employs. Poems of this nature are not meant to alleviate the pain, but to help keep a record of it; to serve as a reminder that silence is not a crime, but forgetting is. http: // Weekly, April 4, 2016
Review and extensive interview with author,, Literature And The Arts, Vol. 28, December 2016
A formally coherent, challenging, and important book, chronicling the lasting scars of one family with deftness and narrative depth. Guzlowski is often bluntly direct, and occasionally lyrically oblique, but both to great effect. Emily Dickinson admonished poets to tell it slant, and Guzlowski certainly takes her advice, but he also sometimes ignores it in favor of Chekhov's equally sage admonishment to tell the most monstrous events in the coldest and most direct fashion. Review, September 8, 2016
Some books take a lifetime to write, yet they can be read in one sleepless night, filled with tears of compassion and a heaviness of heart. John Z. Guzlowski's book of poetic memoirs is exactly such a book: an unforgettable, painful personal history, distilling the horrors of his parents' experiences in German labor and concentration camps into transcendent artwork of lucid beauty... The book is an historical and literary revelation...It should be considered on a par with the work by giants of Holocaust literature - memoirs by Primo Levi, or stories by Tadeusz Borowski. http: // Review, Winter 2016
These are poems whose images and metaphors have undergone the finest grinding, becoming crystal lenses to magnify the inner and outer lives of his parents. The clear poetic/narrative voice is remarkably strong yet elegant--this is not a random collection but the story of a family across generations dealing with the consequences of world war. We have through Guzlowski's persona a refugee child trying to make sense of the world with parents trying to make sense of their lives after the war's work camp. Guzlowski's book is a magnificent elegy to civilian lives lost or shattered in war and thereafter. Guzlowski has successfully undertaken a monumental, moral obligation., December 17, 2015
Guzlowski's book is essential for anyone wanting fully to understand ethnicity in America. Through authentic and meticulously observed and recorded details, Guzlowski reaches the universal. All readers, of any ethnicity or life experience, will find something to identify with in these pages. This is an excellent, important, and highly recommended book. Send Delete, February 15, 2016