Born of hours spent watching and listening to the testimonies of Polish Holocaust survivors and those who came to their aid, these poems document the unspeakable evil unleashed by the Nazis in Poland, while also interrogating the very concept of memory literature. Spokane, WA: Lynx House Press, 2020 (with cover art by Wilhelm Sasnal)
Piotr Florczyk honors the testimonies of Shoah survivors in all their complexities as he interrogates his own wrenching experience of watching and listening to them. An uncategorizable and unflinching meditation on the past “both alive and forgotten;” on what could’ve been and what was, by a Krakow-born poet of deep heart and powerful lyric gifts.
—Louise Steinman, author of The Crooked Mirror: A Memoir of Polish-Jewish Reconciliation
From the Annals of Kraków is a remarkable contribution to Holocaust literature. Based on survivors’ testimonies at the USC Shoah Foundation Visual Archive, this volume of poetry represents a unique insight into the impact of the survivors’ experiences of hiding, incarceration and coincidental survival upon post-Holocaust generations. Focusing on the geographic reality of Kraków as a common denominator that links the survivors of the city and himself as the city’s native son, Piotr Florczyk’s deeply moving collection of poems exhibits an uncommon extent of empathy. While the extraordinarily well-chosen images and metaphors reflect the emotional state of the survivors whose testimony returns them to the landscape of their ordeal, the familiarity with the landscape allows the poet to connect in cognitive and emotional way with the survivors’ experience. This cycle of poems constructs a particular lieu de mémoire—a testimonial to Holocaust memories whose continuing impact “keeps the world from falling apart.”
—Rachel F. Brenner, author of Polish Literature and the Holocaust: Eyewitness Testimonies, 1942-1947
“What you have not heard is also true,” writes Piotr Florczyk near the end of his fine new collection of poems, From the Annals of Kraków. A child of the late-Soviet era, two generations removed from the events of the Second World War in his nation and native city, Florczyk passes “into the wilderness to find out” what of that history remains opaque or unexplained. What he discovers he can hardly speak of above a whisper, “it is / what keep the world / from falling apart.”
—David Axelrod, author of Folly
To purchase a signed copy, please contact Piotr.