Wire & Wail by Lusia Slomkowska


13 in stock

$16.95, 5.25 X 7.25, 96 pages, perfect bound
ISBN ISBN 978-1-888553-99-4
Purchases for the trade are handled by SPD.

Categories: ,

Wire & 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?


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.

Praise for Wire & Wail

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

With dynamic linguistic energy and sharp intelligence, Wire & Wail ranges through cybernetics, the music of Mozart, the anatomical studies of Leonardo da Vinci, DNA research and the making of new hybrid creatures, to try and answer what the human heart is. Lusia Slomkowska’s answer is, finally, that it is a “hymn to evolution,” for all that, it is also a chimera, a machine that falters, a valve in need of stitching. Evoking the life and death struggle of individual existence, the poet sings her hymn at such a pitch that it resonates with the 21st century. ~Rebecca Seiferle

Excerpt from Wire & Wail


The wind comes into the weeping

Of ancient trees     as does the hat that sits above

The throat caught    as raw as     the sky splitting

The cardinal     a winged structure

Accommodating     box elder centered

An enclosed heart, this moon     this moon, ancestral

The hat the hat     birthday party brass band

Brass ring caught     the evening light

A small boat lit out     I, throated sky

A star or a tooth?     a pinion & a rope                                                            The one with the moon     weeping above                                                                                         Ancient trees     tall throats split as

Who knew a forest     a small adjustment

Was growing there?     the heart, trilled note?

No!     oh! bag of worms!     fallen of season

Calendars indifferent     words too, frozen

Then, angels     anyone who knew     knew

It couldn’t have been otherwise     the worms as

Lusia Slomkowska

Lusia Slomkowska, Kore Press Author

Lusia Slomkowska 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.

Her work has been published in 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, and The Poetry of Sex, Banned Books.

Slomkowska received 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 at 6pm on April 29, 2017 at the Tucson Poetry Festival, where Lusia will be honored. Books will be available for sale. More about the TPF here.

Read more »

Additional information

Weight 0.25 lbs
Dimensions 5.25 × 7.25 in