Category: history

  • A Day in Radomsko

    A Day in Radomsko

    [photo: on the street in Radomsko. LS2021] Preface IN THE SPRING of 2021, KARTA Center in Warsaw brought out a Polish translation of my book, The Crooked Mirror, nine years after its publication in the United States. The book chronicles my decades-long immersion in the discomforting, sometimes surreal, and ultimately healing process of Polish-Jewish reconciliation. I first […]

  • Greenwriting on the Skarpa

    Greenwriting on the Skarpa

    My Afterword to Katy Bentall’s Greenwriting, published by (and available for purchase from) the estimable Bored Wolves Press, Krakow. It’s dark when we arrive at Katy’s house in the Polish countryside, early fall, 2019.  My friend and I, both road-weary, climb a flight of wooden stairs to retire. My friend installs herself in the bedroom […]

  • January 6, 2022

    January 6, 2022

    from “State Funeral,” Sergei Loznitza , (film release 2021; footage, 1953) I’m walking the Silverlake staircases, listening to the audio version of Colm Toibin’s marvelous novel, The Magician, about Thomas Mann.   I’m struck to learn how slow Thomas Mann was to understand the dangers posed by the National Socialists in Germany. Mann held such a […]

  • The Collaborative Skein: A Conversation

    The Collaborative Skein: A Conversation

    The poet Piotr Florczyk just published a remarkable collections of poems, From the Annals of Krakow, based on testimonies from Jewish survivors from his home town, Krakow, in the Shoah Archive at USC, where he Piotr did a residency. This conversation between the two of us, about Piotr’s book, about the forthcoming Polish edition of  […]

  • Welcome the Stranger: An urban installation for social engagement [Lublin, Poland]

    Welcome the Stranger: An urban installation for social engagement [Lublin, Poland]

    It’s been an intense and magical week in Lublin, Poland. A Kabbalistic text appears over the archway of the Brama Grodzka; a flamingo is invited to perch in a storks nest high in a poplar tree; the words of Polish veterans from Afghanistan and Iraq are projected on the walls of the cultural center, reminding […]

  • Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child

    Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child

    What does July 4 feel like to a child in a cage in Clint, TX? To a Salvadoran mother wearing an ankle monitoring device afraid of being deported? How can one celebrate the 4th of July in America?  The Statue of Liberty is weeping.

  • Time Regained: Reading Józef Czapski in Billings, MT (about Marcel Proust, the Gulag, and reading as salvation)

    Time Regained: Reading Józef  Czapski in Billings, MT  (about Marcel Proust, the Gulag, and reading as salvation)

    He carried with him to Moscow letters of introduction from General Anders to the most influential people in Stalin’s inner circle. After waiting for many days at the Hotel Metropole, he was finally summoned to a waiting room at the notorious Lubyanka building, the headquarters of the Soviet secret police, where he was met by a “well-fed official” in a gray lambskin hat and collar who “looked a bit like Chichikov from Gogol’s Dead Souls.”

  • Resister in Sanctuary: We Won’t Go

    In one glass case, what first draws my eye is a REMEMBER JOE MAIZLISH bumper sticker identical to the one I affixed to the bumper of my dad’s Ford Mustang in 1968. Yes, I do remember Joe Maizlish. Decades ago, I wrote to him in while he was in federal prison, where he served two […]

  • July 4th 2017

    July 4th 2017

    Today seems a good date to start a new document, a new journal. A date that is supposed to be patriotic. In which we might feel the weight of our national experiment, now verging towards national calamity. In which we try to keep our chins up and our hearts strong. In which we feel the […]

  • Ceremony of Forgiveness/ Night before the Electoral College

    Ceremony of Forgiveness/ Night before the Electoral College

    Reeling from the latest barrage of globally catastrophic images—my mind gravitates to that startling and necessary image—beamed to us from Standing Rock. It is the image of a U.S. veteran named Wesley Clark, Jr kneeling down, with veterans of various American combat units standing behind him—offering his formal apology to Lakota Medicine Man Leonard Crow […]