What does it mean to be Polish-American? In honor of Polish Constitution Day, Chicago Public Library hosted a virtual program with some of the most notable creatives of the written word connected to Chicago. Now living across the United States, ForgottenChicago.com editor Daniel Pogorzelski interviewed authors Stuart Dybek, Thomas Dyja, John Guzlowski, and Dominic Pacyga as they share their thoughts on who they are.
This event was presented in honor of Polish Constitution Day and co-sponsored by CPL's Polish Heritage Committee! Special thanks to co-sponsors Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Chicago, Alliance of Polish Clubs (organizers of the annual Polish Constitution Day Parade), the Polish Arts Club of Chicago and Polish American Congress - Illinois Division for their co-sponsorship and support.
Stuart Dybek is the author of six books of fiction, including Ecstatic Cahoots, a collection of flash-length stories. He has also published two collections of poetry. His book The Coast of Chicagowas the Spring 2004 One Book, One Chicago selection. His work is widely anthologized and magazine publication has included The New Yorker, Harpers, The Atlantic, Granta, Zoetrope, Ploughshares, and Poetry. Dybek is the recipient of many literary awards, among them the REA Award and the PEN/Bernard Malamud Prize for “distinguished achievement in the short story”, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a John D. and a Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. His work has appeared in Best American Poetry and in Best American Fiction. He is the Distinguished Writer in Residence at Northwestern University.
Belmont-Cragin native Thomas Dyja is the author of The Third Coast, winner of 2013 Heartland Prize and the Chicago Public Library's 2015 One Book, One Chicago. His new book is New York, New York, New York.
John Guzlowski is a writer whose works have been reviewed in the premier newspapers in the US. His most recent works are Echoes of Tattered Tongues, a a memoir of his parents' lives as slave laborers in Nazi Germany and refugees in Chicago, and Little Altar Boy, a mystery novel dealing with pedophilia set in a Polish-American parish near Humboldt Park. He is also a columnist for the Dziennik Zwiazkowy, the oldest Polish newspaper in America.
Dominic A. Pacyga received his Ph.D. in history from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1981. Pacyga was a member of the Humanities, History, and Social Sciences Department at Columbia College/Chicago from 1984 until his retirement in 2017. He has authored, or co-authored, seven books concerning Chicago’s history including Slaughterhouse, Chicago and Polish Immigrants and Industrial Chicago. Pacyga’s newest book, American Warsaw, was published by the University of Chicago Press in the fall of 2019. Among many awards and honors, Pacyga was awarded a Fulbright Grant and taught in the Institute for American Studies and the Polish Diaspora at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland during the 2013-2014 academic year.