Buy Echoes of Tattered Tongues at Amazon here
On Monday, June 20, 2016, Poet John Z Guzlowski appeared on WNYC's Leonard Lopate Show. This is a big deal. Lopate is a serious and well-informed interviewer.
I've been listening to the show for years. I don't think I've ever heard anyone present the Polish side of things on the show. I'm not saying it hasn't happened; I'm saying I've never heard it, and I am a regular listener.
That John Z Guzlowski was able to appear on the show and present our story in poetic form is a big deal. A very big deal.
I was fascinated by Lopate's first two questions. I'm not sure they were really his first two questions; they are the first two that struck me.
My paraphrase: "But but your parents were Polish Catholics. How did they end up in a Nazi concentration camp?"
Really. Really. This very well educated man had to ask that.
Second question. "How was the treatment of your parents different from the treatment of Jews?"
Really. Really. John's parents, like many Polish Catholics during WW II, lived through hell.
And that ... is somehow ... in and of itself ... not worthy of what ... not worthy of attention.
The rape, murder, torture, dismemberment, enslavement, dispossession, concentration camp internment -- somehow not significant. Somehow must be seen *in comparison to* another story.
No one would interview a Jewish poet writing about his father's experience of Buchenwald by first asking, "How did your parent's suffering compare to Gentile suffering?"
Look -- we all know that the Holocaust deserves special attention.
But if you are a talk show host and your guest is poet John Z Guzlowski, perhaps show some attention, upfront, to what his parents went through. And don't belittle him, his work, or his parents by putting them in the shadow.
Let them tell you their story.
Listen to John Z Guzlowski read from Echoes of Tattered Tongues here.