STAMFORD, Conn. — Stamford writer Ken Koprowski’s newest book of poems explores the mysteries, triumphs, magic, humor, pain, and loss that are part of being a son and father.
"Fathers, Collected Poems 1973 - 2015" from Ravenswood Publishing, is now available in ebook and paperback editions.
The pages of this volume engage all that is human in the reader. Many of these poems were written in Stamford, where Koprowski often writes when not teaching communications and consulting at UConn -Stamford, NYU and Manhattanville College.
“Being a Dad is perhaps the most rewarding aspect of living, and at times, one of the most frustrating,” Koprowski says. “Fatherhood is the inspiration for much of this book.”
The collection includes many recent works that experiment with action, drama and form, including Croix de Guerre, which is set on the bloody Argonne battlefield in World War I, as the poet’s grandfather struggles for life after being strafed by a German machine gunner and left for dead.
In the poem, the soldier -- a field-promoted Corporal in Pershings’ war-ravaged 16th Infantry, 1st Division -- passes in and out of consciousness unable to call for help without attracting lethal enemy fire. The poet imagines the voices his grandfather hears are those of his future family and, thankfully, two voices speaking Polish -- the Red Cross medics who save his life and make his future family possible.
Other poems explore the connections that bind generations, the impact and anger caused by wars, the role of natural symbolism in family ties, and the lyricism of the world around us.
For example, in “sitting here,” casual sounds -- leaves falling against a flue -- provoke images of the verging season:
"I know it is autumn not by the coolness in the house at night but by the individual sounds of leaves dried and crackling imitating the sounds of split trees which will soon burn in that place"
Often the commonplace becomes the inspiration for a poem. In “old wood, those memories:” wood-working and restoring antiques become elements for deeply felt portrait, adding their imagery to an understanding of a father’s influence on a son:
"I know the wood you taught me to shape: old cherry, maple and pine; carefully sorted and stacked, hoarded for future use. And delicately curved and joined chairs arched, dovetailed cabinets and bureaus you rebuilt, finished, arranged around the walls of your house. And the pleasure you took, and I found in those pieces, old wood, plain designs work done generations in the past."
“This book began more than 40 years ago -- early works share these pages with many recent poems,” Koprowski says. “I paused my poetry when fatherhood intervened and my plans for teaching morphed into a career in public relations and parenting. Conscious choice or not, there were no trade-offs, as the book shares with the reader.”
Koprowski is a poet, writer, communications consultant, and educator.
He earned his B.A. in English literature at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and an M.A. in creative writing with a specialization in poetry, as well as completing his doctoral coursework at Syracuse University before pursuing a career in public relations.
He is completing a second book of poetry, "Postcards to the Living;" a collection of short stories, "Draft Dodgers;" and two non-fiction books.
He has extensive advertising, marketing and communication management experience.
He currently teaches writing and a range of public relations subjects in the Master’s programs at New York University and Manhattanville College, and business communications courses he designed in the School of Business at UConn Stamford.
He grew up in Chicago and central and northern Wisconsin. For the past 40 years, he’s lived and worked in New York, southwestern Connecticut and southern Vermont. He and his wife of 38 years raised three sons and a daughter, and they now have nine grandchildren.