Category: Travel

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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.”

  • When a Rock is a Stone: Finding Spiral Jetty

    In 1970, when artist Robert Smithson first set his gaze on the Great Salt Lake’s Rozel Point Peninsula, he knew he’d found the right site…. Los Angeles Review of Books, Aug 6, 2018

  • A psycho-geographic walk in Warsaw

    The last days of August I spent in Warsaw, holding animated conversations with my Polish friends about the abounding dangers in their country and my own. On my second morning in town, my friend Wojtek Szaszor a conceptual artist, offered me an unusual gift, a Warsaw map with circles drawn around locales he considered “symbolic […]

  • A Return (Chatham Cemetery, August 2016)

    A Return (Chatham Cemetery, August 2016)

    My friend Beth lives across the street from the rural cemetery in the town of Chatham, in New York’s lush Hudson Valley. On summer visits from bone-dry L.A., it’s a balm to walk between the pair of centuries-old sentinel maples into the cemetery’s vast silent greenspace; to stroll the rows of mossy granite headstones, shaded […]

  • A Peaceful Return

    It was startling to walk into a museum in Astoria, Oregon a few weeks ago and behold WW2 Japanese flags framed on the gallery wall. Those flags with their  bright red disks on white silk were just like the one I found with my father’s possessions, after he died, in an envelope with one of […]

  • Notes on a Warsaw Residency, 2

    Shall I write about the storks clacking their beaks high in their nests on the road to Sejny? And in Krasnogruda, near the border with Lithuania, the hare that bounded across the road and straight out of Milosz’ beautiful poem? In the candle-light coffee-house, Song of Porcelein Cafe, in the basement of what was once […]

  • MACIEJ and IDA

    My dear friend Maciej Ziembinski, a pioneering journalist and editor (and a central figure in my book, The Crooked Mirror), recently passed away in Radomsko, in central Poland. Maciej was fiercely devoted to this little town, where my mother’s family lived for generations. When poet Adam Zagajewski wrote of those Poles imbued with “the ecstasy […]