Echoes of Tattered Tongues: Memory Unfolded by John Z. Guzlowski (Aquila Polonica Publishing, 2016)
Part poetry collection, part work of lyrical prose, Echoes of Tattered Tongues takes the reader into the life of John Guzlowski. whose parents barely survived Nazi Germany. Patching together fragments of memories, Guzlowski traces his parents' lives through the concentration camps, through refugee camps, and through immigration to the United States where his family struggled to build a new life while trying to forget the past. Still, as we all know, the past is never easily forgotten, and any reader who picks up this book, will not forget Guzlowski's work.
In Which I Play the Runaway by Rochelle Hurt (Barrow Street Press, 2016)
In her newest collection, Rochelle Hurt explores the idea of place in America through surreal stories that reek of rust and grittiness. Where else will a reader be able to hear the story of someone born "a fleck of mill trash" as described in the poem, "Self-Portrait in Hurt, Virginia" or the tale of the constant limbo of residents in the poem, "Self-portrait in Between, Georgia"? Between these portraits is a retelling of the Wizard of Oz where Dorothy ponders her fate and wonders the true meanings of family and home. A fascinating read!
When We Were Birds by Joe Wilkins (University of Arkansas Press, 2016)
Through a jagged road map of place, Joe Wilkins traces the rugged landscape of America, intertwining memory with observations of the outside world. In this journey, Wilkins not only recalls his own life by detailing letters and odes to his son, he also speaks for the injustices of those whose own voices are often lost in their struggles. I have been a fan of Wilkins' work for many years now, and this newest collection did not disappoint me.