New Release: Wire & Wail by Lusia Slomkowska

Announcing the release of Wire & Wail!

Wire and Wail is by turns autobiographic, scientific, philosophic, and religious. Lusia Slomkowska wrote  that after her second open-heart surgery, her physical limitations show up in her poems… not as crowns of thorns, but as other symbols of anger and grief: her shattered aortic valve was replaced with a porcine valve, making her a “pig-human hybrid,” or a “chimera.” In scientific terms, a chimera is a mixture of two or more species in one body. The procedure is called a xenotransplantation (transplant between organisms of different species), and the Greek word Xenos suggests several English words, including stranger, guest, alien, foreign, and strange, which also become themes in this book. Bioethics and religion enter the mix in questions like: Does a chimera have a soul? What are the long-term effects on humanity? And, what about animal rights?

For more information about this book, visit here.

This book is as heart wrenching as it is smart. In it we find the richly embedded human record of animals and organs, science and thought—the logic of flesh, this house of cells—parsed into music and put to the test. What encourages me best about these poems is what sears me most and deepest: lines drawn with the frightful precision of a lance opening the hollows. Each turn of phrase administers another opening in the wilds (part data, part flesh) with its challenge to brace and burst, learn and heal. ~Barbara Cully

Lusia Slomkowska was born in New Haven, Connecticut on February 1, 1954 with an acyonotic heart defect. Her mother, a Polish Catholic Holocaust survivor, believing the doctors in New Haven, Connecticut had taken Lusia from her at birth and experimented on her, hid her daughter for the first twenty years of her life.

Lusia was a Polish-American writer, translator, and activist for lesbian-feminist issues in the United States and Eastern Europe, particularly, Poland.  Her writing explores her identity as a Polish-American lesbian writer and the daughter of a Nazi Genocide survivor.

Lusia received a Master of Fine Arts in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts, Montpelier, Vermont , where she was also awarded a merit scholarship.  She studied at the Women’s Writers Center, Cazenovia, New York, and was a resident at St. Hilda’s College, Oxford University, Oxford, England.

She lectured, mentored, and was a panelist at Phoenix College. She taught in and directed exchange programs for the Experiment in International Living, Brattleboro, VT; Freehand: a Community of Women Writers and Photographers in Provincetown, MA; improvisational theater at the Yale Cabaret Theater in New Haven, CT.

In 1984, she was invited by the Polish National Writers Union to film, interview, and translate various contemporary Polish poets, including Adam Zagajewski, Krzysztof Koehler, and Marzena Broda. She compiled, edited and translated the anthology, Swallowing Paradise: Thirty 20th Century Polish Women Poets. She was also a facilitator for Glob-all, Young Polish Women Photographers at WomanKraft Art Center, Tucson, AZ.

Her publications included: The Agni Review, Amelia, Kalliope, New Letters, Parnassus, The Quarterly, and Quarterly West, among others.  She has been anthologized in Looking for Home, Women Writing about Exile; Milkweed Editions; 1990, and The Poetry of Sex; Banned Books, 1992.

Her honors included grants from The Barbara Deming/ Money for Women Memorial Foundation and the Polish National Library Association for her translation of Swallowing Paradise; a full fellowship to the Vermont Studio Center; the Poetry Atlanta Award; Writers at Work Poetry Fellowship; Bennington Writers Workshop Poetry Prize; The Lucille Sandberg Haiku Award and others.

On July 25,th 2014, Lusia Slomkowska died of complications from heart disease.

Wire & Wail will officially launch on April 29, 2017, at the Tucson Poetry Festival, where Lusia will be honored. Books will be available for purchase. More about the TPF here.

A reading of Lusia’s poems will take place on April 22, 2017, 7pm at Woman Kraft Gallery, 388 S. Stone Ave. Tucson, AZ.