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About John Z. Guzlowski
Over a writing career that spans more than 40 years, John Guzlowski has amassed a significant body of published work in a wide range of genres: poetry, prose, literary criticism, reviews, fiction and nonfiction.
His poems and stories have appeared in such national journals as North American Review, Ontario Review, Rattle, Chattahoochee Review, Atlanta Review, Nimrod, Crab Orchard Review, Marge, Poetry East, Vocabula Review. He was the featured poet in the 2007 edition of Spoon River Poetry Review. Garrison Keillor read Guzlowski’s poem “What My Father Believed” on his program The Writers Almanac.
Critical essays by Guzlowski about contemporary American, Polish, and Jewish authors can be found in such journals as Modern Fiction Studies, Polish Review, Shofar, Polish American Studies, Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction, and Studies in Jewish American Literature.
His previously published books include Language of Mules (DP Press), Jezyk mulów i inne wiersze (Biblioteka Śląska), Lightning and Ashes (Steel Toe Books), Third Winter of War: Buchenwald (Finishing Line Press), Suitcase Charlie (Kasva Press), Echoes of Tattered Tongues (Aquila Polonica), Little Altar Boy (Kasva Press), and True Confessions: 1965 to Now (Darkhouse Press).
Guzlowski’s work has also been included in anthologies such as Descansos, Two-Countries: US Daughters and Sons of Immigrant Parents, Flash Fiction Online, Blood to Remember: American Poets on the Holocaust (Time Being Books), Cherries with Chopin (Moonrise Press), Common Boundary: Stories of Immigration (Editions Bibliotekos), and Longman Academic Reading Series 5 Student Book (Pearson Education ESL).
Echoes of Tattered Tongues, his recent memoir in poetry and prose, won the 2017 Ben Franklin Award for Poetry and the Eric Hoffer/Montaigne Award for most thought-provoking work of 2017.
Winner of the Illinois Arts Council’s $7,500 Award for Poetry, Guzlowski has also been short-listed for the Bakeless Award and nominated for the Pulitzer Prize twice and the Pushcart Prizes five times. He has been honored by the Georgia State Commission on the Holocaust and the Central Virginia Holocaust Educators for his work on telling the story of slave laborers in Nazi Germany.
In reviewing Guzlowski’s book Language of Mules, Nobel Laureate Czeslaw Milosz wrote, “Exceptional…even astonished me…reveals an enormous ability for grasping reality.”
Born in a refugee camp in Germany after World War II, Guzlowski came to America with his family as a Displaced Person in 1951. His parents had been Polish slave laborers in Nazi Germany during the war. Growing up in the tough immigrant neighborhoods around Humboldt Park in Chicago, he met hardware store clerks with Auschwitz tattoos on their wrists, Polish cavalry officers who still mourned for their dead horses, and women who had walked from Siberia to Iran to escape the Russians. In much of his work, Guzlowski remembers and honors the experiences and ultimate strength of these voiceless survivors.
Guzlowski received his B.A. in English Literature from the University of Illinois, Chicago, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in English from Purdue University. He is a Professor Emeritus of English Literature at Eastern Illinois University, and currently lives in Lynchburg, Virginia.
He is also the author of the Hank and Marvin mysteries, reviewed in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and elsewhere. His most recent book of poems is True Confessions, a memoir of his life from 1965 to this morning. He is also a weekly columnist for the Dziennik Zwiazkowy, the oldest Polish newspaper in America.
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Chicago, May 30, 1956: On a quiet corner in a working-class immigrant neighborhood, a heavy suitcase is discovered on the sidewalk late at night. Inside is the body of a young boy, naked and hacked into pieces.
Two hard-drinking Chicago detectives are assigned to the case: Hank Purcell, who still has flashbacks ten years after the Battle of the Bulge, and his partner Marvin Bondarowicz, a wise-cracking Jewish cop who loves trouble as much as he loves booze. Their investigation takes them through the dark streets of Chicago in search of an even darker secret -- as more and more suitcases turn up.
"Every detective has a case that haunts him. For the Chicago cops Hank Purcell and Marvin Bondarowicz, that would be the "dead kid in the suitcase" whose broken body epitomizes "some kind of evil that was one-of-a-kind, fresh and original down to its buttons." Guzlowski...lets us know that, back in the day, the city of Chicago was an all-around rough town." Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times
"John Guzlowski beautifully conjures up the seamy side of the allegedly innocent 1950s with a thrilling serial murder mystery featuring two boozehound detectives... The plot moves sure-footedly to a powerful and plausible conclusion." Philip K. Jason, Jewish Book Council
"James Ellroy fans will appreciate this grim portrayal of the hunt for a serial killer, poet Guzlowski's first novel." Publishers Weekly
When the first boy was found in the first suitcase, Hank had thought it was the work of a crazy person who had gone off and done one terrible, crazy thing, and he figured the killer's madness would somehow suddenly dissolve and he'd never do such a thing again.
Hank was wrong.
That one terrible thing had happened again...
The next Monday, she is found murdered in the convent basement, next to a furnace stuffed with old papers and photographs.
And Margaret, Hank’s teenage daughter, has disappeared.
Hank and his unconventional partner Marvin Bondarowicz try to force their way through a wall of ecclesiastical silence to find the killer, while their search for Margaret takes them from swank lakeside flats to drug dens to south-side basement blues clubs…and the snow keeps falling.
Nine months later, Magda is trying to survive as her city is bombed to rubble, while Hans is somewhere in the Ukraine, slogging through snow and mud to find his way back to her, struggling to maintain his humanity despite the horrors he has survived and the brutality he has witnessed—and perpetrated.
Retreat is a story of the terrible costs of war, of love amid crushing defeat, of complicity—and redemption.
The Flash Fiction Online 2015 Anthology contains 49 short stories from more established, award-winning authors and newer writers just emerging in the flash fiction story-scape. We publish literary, science fiction, fantasy, and horror, in a delicious mix of interesting character, tantalizing plots, and wonderful world-building.
Flash fiction might be small, but each story packs an entire story arc into only a thousand words or fewer. Whether you call this art form a short-short, a micro-fiction, a drabble, or a smokelong, it spans all genres and literary styles.
The 2015 anthology includes: Matthew F. Amati, Scott W. Baker, Stewart C. Baker, Brent Baldwin, Rebecca Birch, Derrick Boden, Ariel Bolton, Oliver Buckram, Jennifer Campbell-Hicks, Krystal Claxton, Paul DesCombaz, Katrina S. Forest, Izabella Grace, John Guzlowski, Kate Hall, Kim Henderson, Crystal Lynn Hilbert, C. L. Holland, Alexis A. Hunter, Gwendolyn Kiste, John League, Marina Lostetter, Michelle Muenster, Samantha Murray, K.C. Norton, Kat Otis, Carol Otte, Sunil Patel, Laura Pearlman, Shannon Peavey, Aimee Picchi, Alter S. Reiss, Chuck Rothman, Joshua Rupp, Kelly Sandoval, Rebecca Schwarz, Sylvia Spruck-Wrigley, Brontë Wieland, Leslianne Wilder, Eleanor R. Wood, Caroline M. Yoachim