2013 Vol. 5 No. 3 — Fall / Poetry

Salon Poezji

SalonPoezji New York Times columnist David Orr once noted that while it’s impossible to know which country has the best writers, let alone the best poets…  if cash money were on the line, you’d find few critics willing to bet against Poland.

TeatrPolski_logoNow, the world’s best poets (we agree with David Orr’s assessment) are looking with interest at their American cousins. An upcoming event will present “The Magic of Polish Identity – Poetry of Polish-Americans” with readings by Magdalena Cielecka and Jan Nowicki of poems by Michael Basinski, Phil Boiarski, Stuart Dybek, John Guzlowski, Leonard Kress, Linda Nemec Foster, Karen Kovacik, John Minczeski, Elisabeth Murawski, Mark Pawlak, Thad Rutkowski, Laura Ulewicz and Cecilia Woloch.

The readings will include the following poem, first published in Amber Necklace from Gdansk (Louisiana State University Press, 2001).
Copyright 2001 by Linda Nemec Foster.

The Countries That Claim Me

I am from America and Poland.
I wonder how I came to have hazel eyes:
flecks of earth, sky, and sea in my gaze.
I hear the low pitch of the moon
as it swings above the roof.
I see crows, their blue-black emblem of regret:
I want to touch that regret, to kiss it.

I pretend to be a cloud, a shadow,
a fragment of some distant past.
I feel lucky and American, Polish and cursed.
I touch the old and the new – mother, daughter.
I worry about really not knowing either.
I cry because my son will never dance
the mazurka, polonaise, oberek.
I am from America and Poland.

I understand English – nothing more.
I say it is not enough, not enough.
I dream in a foreign language thick
with the sound of dark trees.
I try to translate the words of each leaf.
I hope the wind will carry my response.
I am from America and Poland.


CR With thanks to John Guzlowski for bringing this to our attention.

CR publishes book + film reviews, interviews, profiles and more. All with a Polish slant, in English.
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