Born in a refugee camp in Germany after World War II, John Guzlowski came to America with his family as a Displaced Person in 1951. His parents had been Polish slave laborers in Nazi Germany during the war. Growing up in “Murdertown” — the tough immigrant neighborhoods around Humboldt Park in Chicago — he met hardware-store clerks with Auschwitz tattoos on their wrists, Polish cavalry officers who still mourned their dead horses, and women who had walked from Siberia to Iran to escape the Russians. In much of his work, Guzlowski remembers and honors the experiences and ultimate strength of these voiceless survivors.
An acclaimed poet, Guzlowski is also a respected teacher, literary critic, and author of both fiction and nonfiction. His recent poetry collection Echoes of Tattered Tongues won the 2017 Montaigne Medal of the Eric Hoffer Awards as one of the most thought-provoking books of the year.
Guzlowski received his BA in English Literature from the University of Illinois, Chicago, and his MA and PhD in English from Purdue University. He is a Professor Emeritus of English Literature at Eastern Illinois University, and currently lives in Lynchburg, Virginia.