Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year 2011! (Vol. 2, No. 1)

Our Chopin adventure is coming to a close, with the festivities of the Chopin Year largely completed. In January 2011 at the Polish American Historical Association's Annual Meeting held in Boston, Mass., I will read a paper based, in part, on poetry and illustrations from Chopin with Cherries. The topic will be more sombre than other ones: the association of Chopin and his music with morbidity and death in popular culture and poetry. The vintage, turn-of-the-century postcards, like the one reproduced below will provide some of the most radical and kitchy illustrations of the fin-de-siecle spiritual malaise.

A report from this event will have to wait, as I have not even written about our fantastic group reading at the Chopin & Paderewski 2010 Conference at Loyola University Chicago back in mid-November 2010. In the backlog, we also have a guest blog by Ben Humphrey who wrote introductions to both of his poems presented at the conference.

The new year will bring new amusements and divertisements... I hope it will be healthy and happy for everyone. Among hundreds of wishes in my inbox this year (Christmas, Holiday, Birthday and New Year's Wishes), the following one in Serbian from Mira Mataric, a wonderful Serbian-American poet:

Živeli zdravo, radosno, radoznalo, raskošno, razumno i razborito, povremeno se okliznite u avanturu i ne zažalite za onim što odlazi!

I do not know exactly what it means, but it certainly looks good! I also liked very much the anumated wishes from two Polish friends, "Happy New Year Everybody" from Krysia Kaszubowska and "Happy New Year" from Eva Matysek Mazur. It seems that paper cards have been replaced with lovely animated ones these days, just as books are slowly giving way to electronic "reads" on things like I-Pads, Kimbles and other electronic book readers. I like cleaning the frost flowers off the electronic window to see the village covered in snow outside - just like the villages and the frozen flowers of my (and Chopin's) Polish childhood. The flat fields covered in a white blanket, snowflakes swirling in moonlight, the allure of warmth inside the homes, lights shining from their windows into the cold darkness around... Feeling nostalgic for real winter yet? I must admit I like electronic snow much more than the real one, and that's why I live in Southern California...

At a recent Haiku Party of the Southern California Haiku Study Group, chaired by Debbie Kolodji at the welcoming home of Wendy and Tom Garen, I read two new haiku celebrating the change of the year, from the tumultuous Year of the Tiger to the placid Year of the Rabbit. These are my first poems of the year, expressing the hope for a serene and content future, or, at least, some rest. The first one got accidentally printed on four lines. The white rabbit is the one from Monty Python, of course. Enjoy! Even without Chopin or cherries...

Happy New Year! Dosiego Roku!

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