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September 21, 2006

Holocaust Poet John Guzlowski at Farmingdale State

Poetry enthusiasts and history buffs are invited to a Conversation in the Arts with John Guzlowski at Farmingdale State on Thursday, September 28 at 11:00 am in Ward Hall. Hosted by the Distinguished Speakers Program, Guzlowski will read from his recent manuscript, Dreaming in America , which focuses on his parents' experiences as slave laborers in Nazi Germany and displaced persons in America after the World War II. The Distinguished Speakers Program sponsors lectures and performances throughout the academic year to enrich the lives of the college community and citizens of Long Island .

Guzlowski teaches Contemporary American Literature and Poetry Writing at Eastern Illinois University . The primary subject of his poetry is the experience of his parents before, during, and after the Second World War. "My poems give my parents and their experiences a voice. They had very little education. My father never went to school and could barely write his name. My mother had two years of formal education. I felt that I had to tell the stories they would have written if they could. For the last twenty-five years I have been writing poems about their lives, and I sometimes think that I am not only writing about their lives, but also about the lives of all those forgotten-voiceless refugees, DP's, and survivors that the last century produced."

Dreaming in America , Guzlowski's first collection, is an unflinching memoir written in verse about the author's parents, who spent time in a slave labor camp in Poland during World War II. Some of Guzlowski's stark, harrowing poems were previously published in such places as Crab Orchard Review , Margie: An American Journal of Poetry , Poetry East, Spoon River Quarterly , and Blood to Remember: An Anthology of American Poets on the Holocaust (Texas Tech University Press). Critics have said, "What separates it from much other Holocaust literature, in our minds, is the deeply tender and compassionate way that the poet treats the perpetrators, as well as the victims, of war crimes."