Saturday, April 14, 2012

Daffodils in a glass of water, a phoebe singing behind the woodshed, and sun and sun and sun; but instead of cleaning the barn or planting shallots, Szymborska and I are off to a poetry festival. According to Hayden Carruth, "Poets are never liberals or conservatives, they are always radicals or reactionaries." I wonder why he wanted that comma splice because you can bet it wasn't an accident. I wonder if I should wear the brown dress or the blue dress, and I  wonder why I care about which color to wear, but I don't find myself tempted to insert a comma splice into this sentence. Carruth, however, is a greater writer than I am, so he can force illegal commas to do his will.

Symborska says, "Why there's still all this space inside me / I don't know." Actually that's what her translators say. I don't know what she says.

If my grandmother had spoken Polish to my mother, my mother would have spoken Polish to me, and I would now know what Symborska is saying. But the nuns made my grandmother ashamed, so she gave up her language, and I have lost my inheritance.


Carlene said...

I certainly hope you keep that last paragraph; that is potent stuff.

And wear the blue.

Have a great reading!

John Guzlowski said...

Hi, Dawn, David Novak sent me a link to this blog. I know what you mean about the old language and how easily it was lost.

You might be interested in a blog I do called Writing the Polish Diaspora.

Here's a link to it. I'd love to be able to tell people about your work.

Dawn Potter said...

Hello, John-- So good to find your blog, and thanks for visiting mine. You might be interested in my mother's chapbook, Psalm in Time (Janice Miller Potter, Finishing Line Press), which includes a number of poems about Polish Americans in the 40s and 50s. Presently I am working on a history in verse of the Chestnut Ridge region of southwestern Pennsylvania, which saw a huge influx of Polish immigrants at the turn of the 20th century. Many of them worked in the mines and the coke furnaces that fed the Pittsburgh steel industry. Primary source materials from that era are fairly easy to find, but one thing I'd like to know more about is the details of their music. Do you have any suggestions?

John Guzlowski said...

Dawn, I don't know a thing about music (as US Grant said, I know two tunes. One of them is Dixie and the other isn't)but I have a lot of friends in the Polish American community and a number of them are interested in music and/or Pennsylvania Poles.

I'll be happy to contact people. Send me your email. Here's mine:

By the way, I have a chapbook with Finishing Line Press also--it's called Third Winter of War, about my dad's experiences as a Polish slave laborer in Buchenwald concentration camp.

I would be happy to do a piece about your mom's book for my blog. It goes out to about 3000 people.