Marilyn J. Baszczynski

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daughter, while i'm still here

Reserve your copy today! This title will be released by Finishing Line Press on May 17, 2024, but you can pre-order copies now at a special sale price of $15.99 until March 22, 2024.

The poems in daughter, while i'm still here capture a mother's desire to convey what over eight decades of experiences and learnings have revealed about the fragility of life, relationships and happiness, which she shares in poignant moments of recollection during her final weeks in hospice. Each poem reveals fragments of an enduring connection with her daughter, sometimes wound into stories about teeth, snapshots, or shoes, but more often in an opening up of her most vulnerable self. There are reasons to cry, laugh, and grieve as she allows her daughter to share and feel her thoughts, hopes, and dreams, even as she tries to push back against the dementia that ultimately robs her of her words.

What others are saying:

Compelling, elegant, and remarkably honest, daughter, while i'm still here is filled with stark, realistic poems that paint an intimate portrait of love, loss, family, identity, and the ever-present need for empathy. In these vibrant poems of nature and biography, Baszczynski showcases a true talent for imbuing the smallest human details with authenticity and layered meanings. Each poem maps out the human heart, in all its internal conflicts, with precision and grace. Overflowing with vivid and accessible language and uniquely compelling structures, daughter, while i'm still here is both intellectually stimulating and emotionally engaging, written with clear eyes and an open, curious heart.
-- John Sibley Williams, author of prize-winning Scale Model of a Country at Dawn, The Drowning House, As One Fire Consumes Another and Skin Memory

With a bittersweet intimacy, the voice and persona of a mother in hospice comes fully to life in Marilyn Baszczynski's'daughter, while i'm still here. Through the eyes of a woman in conversation with her daughter, the poet, with her scrapbooks, stilettos, and remembered moments with long-silent loves, Baszczynski weaves a tender narrative through dried roses, dentures and dream dances. Baszczynski, with her light hand and fine craft, simultaneously recreates her mother's joys while grieving the inevitable: "a laugh rumbles up past congested lungs, / catches in my throat and i cough, while / tears tumble over my crinkled cheeks." For anyone who is a daughter, a mother, a grandmother, a child, a parent, the power of this work will cause your own re-examination of all that is loved, hidden, transcribed and imagined in your dearest relationships.
-- Dawn Terpstra, author of Songs from the Summer Kitchen

Gyuri. A Poem of Wartime Hungary.

Whistling Shade Press is delighted to announce the release of Marilyn Baszczynski's narrative poem Gyuri. A Poem of Wartime Hungary. The story of her parents' hardship and romance in WWII-era Hungary, Gyuri is the first book in Whistling Shade's new imprint of romantic narrative poems, the Geste series.

About Gyuri
Gyuri is based on true-life stories and events as recounted by people who had witnessed them before, during and after World War II in Hungary, when approximately 450,000 Hungarians of German descent were expelled from Hungary, deported to Soviet labor camps and to Germany. In 1946, entire towns disappeared with freight trains full of refugees; abandoned houses and farms crumbled into ruins. Gyuri is a young man caught up in this maelstrom; his story is narrated by the woman who loved him.

What others are saying:

In simple language that dances its way through the pages, we meet a young couple whose fate is inextricably bound by time and place. Whether or not one lived during World War II and remembers the grayness that enshrouded the world--days that Gyuri met with laughter and dance--the romance and heartbreak of the woman he loved come through strongly in this narrative poem. Gyuri "draws us in," makes us believe "it will be okay." Handling the true story of her parents with remarkable deftness, Baszczynski's tale of real people is a reminder that each life has stories to be told.
-- Lucille Morgan Wilson, Editor, Lyrical Iowa

"Gyuri is a poem that needs to be read aloud, or perhaps sung. The words come together in such a lyrical fashion. Its music draws the reader into the poem and keeps them reading. In the back of the mind play "polkas, waltzes, csardas, tangos / laughing, singing, dancing, dancing." Repetition is used effectively in the poem to drive home emotion, whether happiness or despair. Imagery is enhanced with the addition of family photos, inviting us to become relatives. If I wanted a biography of my life, I would want Marilyn Baszczynski to write it in this form."
-- Dennis Maulsby, Past President of the Iowa Poetry Association

Gyuri is available online at Whistling Shade Press and on Amazon.

Copyright © 2024 Marilyn Baszczynski