Lucia May is a poet and longtime arts advocate in St. Paul, MN. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Main Channel Voices, the Evening Street Review, Hot Metal Press, Paperdarts, the Prose-Poem Project, Pemmican, Talking Stick, Tall Grass, Burnt Bridge, The Widow’s Handbook Anthology, The Awakenings Review, The Mom Egg, Verse Wisconsin, Kurier Polski Min-nesota, and the Little Red Tree Inter-national Poetry Prize 2010: Anthology. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize by Verse Wisconsin for her poem “Explain in an Essay.”
Blond Boy by Lucia May
Photo credits: Author photo and pg. 36, Chelsea May Tischler. Cover, “Lucian in Scotland After the War,” facing pg. 1, “Family Collage,” and “Grandmother ‘Babcia’ Browislawa,” — family photo collection. Kathryn Kuhlmann, — Joan Gieson
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In Lucia May’s inaugural poetry collection, Blond Boy, she records with gracious precision the personal horrors of the boy who would become her father. Taken from his home by the Nazis, the boy’s humanity was forever scarred by his experiences. Of his torture, Lucia writes, “…the boys accepted their penalties/like cows on the farm before the knife.” Lucia weaves his story into her own through poetry that is brutally honest while being “bathed in the light” of forgiveness. She manages well the difficult task of showing grief and loss unsentimentally, with a glance, a gesture, an image that glows vividly on the page. This slim book offers readers the chance to share in emotions as complex as Bach played with panache on a well-tuned violin. At the end, we are left with memories that are “lighter than dust and even less confined.”
—Linda Back McKay, author of The Next Best Thing and Out of the Shadows: Stories of Adoption and Reunion.
A man who suffered a wretched childhood extended bitterness and perverse misery to his own children. He became a religious fanatic, who in his distorted view deemed the music of Bach and Beethoven wholly unacceptable. Growing up in a nightmarish environment, his daughter, Lucia P. May, did not fall victim to depression, suicide, alcoholism or drug addiction. Miss May escaped the quicksand of her father’s cruelty through art, music and literature. She writes exquisite poetry that shines light in the darkness.
—Robert O Fisch, author of Light from the Yellow Star: A Lesson of Love from the Holocaust and The Sky Is Not the Limit
Lucia Piaskowiak May writes without any sentimentality whatsoever about her father’s life in World War II Poland and about the shadow he cast over her own life. She compresses enormous emotion into tense spare lines to create poetry that is fierce and true.
—Keith Maillard, author of The Clarinet Polka
A memoir in poetry, in Blond Boy Lucia May tells the tragic and amazing story of her father’s survival in Nazi-occupied Poland, his marriage to her mother, her visit to Auschwitz, taking violin lessons and attending healing services at a Presbyterian church. This is a story well worth telling and it comes wonderfully alive in all its mesmerizing details. These memories will dance in our minds for a long time. May writes of them as ‘lighter than dust and even less confined.’ May we all be thankful that she has captured them for a moment.
—Mary Logue, author of Hand Work and Trees
Lucia May’s book, Blond Boy, is a tough, intense collection of poems. It’s a book about what luck means. It’s a book about a father, that blond boy who survived World War II, and where the luck of surviving led him. It’s a collection that offers its readers portraits of a family, of how religion affected them, vignettes that allow us to see a family’s suffering, and how pain and discord shaped their lives. We are given stories that cover many years, and we see how the lucky and unlucky in this single family lose or find their strength, their sense of purpose inside a family, inside history. This collection is blunt in its truth-telling, and ambitious in its range. I won’t forget these poems.
—Deborah Keenan, author of From Tiger to Prayer and so she had the world
Read selections from Blond Boy Blond Boy 32 Blond Boy and the Plan for Eastern Europe (Generalplan Ost) 33 Blond Boy and the Weaker Sex 35 Burglar 36 Don’t Forget 37 Hunger 38 Reunion Retreat 39 from Evening Street Review, NUMBER 10, Spring 2014