Hedwig Gorski's Fulbright, Poland 2003-04
Lecturer, Minority American Literature, University of Wroclaw, English Department

            Hedwig Gorski PhotoJournal 

Arrived in Warsaw on 10 September 2003 to begin the

Fulbright Orientation, 

GREATER POLAND, WIELKOPOLSKA      WARSAW                              Warsaw streets 



Warsaw Street with the yellow tram and zebra stripes at the crosswalk


Warsaw Street with bus stop
on the way to Hotel Solec


Briefings by U.S. Ambassador Christopher Hill, Regional Security Officer Dean DeVilla, & Consul Gen. Michael Kirby 9/12/03
(Christopher Hill became Assistant Secretary of State and led talks in North Korea.)

Reception at  the American  Minister Counselor's home,  Warsaw,
ul. Dabrowskiego 48

Hedwig and D'Jalma at reception American


Hedwig with husband D'Jalma GarnieR


(below) Fulbrighters Debra Allen from Texas and Hedwig Gorski from Louisiana.                  


Bus trip West to Poznan for 10-day orientation --

countryside views from the bus window                

   Plowed field on the road to Poznan     



  Train station near a small town


Excursions from Jowita Dormitory, Poznan University, our rugged home

base in while in the city of Poznan                                             


Torun street









Torun street where Copernicus lived, now a museum 
  After lunch of bison, mead, & gingerbread.      

 Fulbrighters a
fter lunch of mead,
 Polish forest
 bison meat



St. James Cathedral  St. James Cathedral 







            Copernicus statue   Statue of Copernicus



Banks of the Vistula River  


Hedwig and tour boat captain on the river


Ciazen mansion   
Ciazen Palace, now Adam Mickiewicz University's 
 guest lodging: Upstairs,
I found a large Masonic
 library with English titles.


Dorota Ragowska at Ciazen bonfire  
Dorota Rogowska of the Polish Fulbright Commission at the final night bonfire



Kornik and czarnina soup 

     Czarnina, duck's               
  blood soup in Rogalin,
  where Poland's oldest
  oaks are located







        castle at Kornik

     Castle at Kornik













Goreckie Lake  Traditional
 peasant home

  recreated in
 the National
 Goreckie Lake


After the orientation, we left Jowita 

 Dormitory at the Adam Mickiewicz 

University in Poznan and prepared to

disperse to our host institutions


9/26 D'Jalma and I were met in Poznan by Lukasz, a University of Wroclaw doctoral candidate, who helped with our massive luggage from the train to my lecture base, Wroclaw, in Silesia, at the University of Wroclaw English Department. The fall semester began Oct. 1, 2003. We enjoyed five days getting to know our new winter home.


Olowek i Kreska bldgs.       DJ at computer  Apartment on Old Odra River

The view from our lovely and compact apartment from the balcony at ul 17A Pasteur'a.Olowek (pencil) i Kreska crayon) bldgs. are in the background in Wroclaw student dorms.  

(right) D'Jalma sits at his Mac writing his Mel Bay book charting Cajun & Creole folk songs.   


Norman Davies' Microcosm: Portrait of a Central European City is a recommended book about Wroclaw. The city was German before and through the war. The Nazi high command, headquartered in Wroclaw, bulldozed buildings to make a landing strip. Bullet holes from Russian artillery fire remain on many of the older
buildings--I could touch Wroclaw's physical wounds from the war.


Dr. Dominika Ferens was my Fulbright shepherd    
Wroclaw Rynek Flower Market
      Wroclaw Rynek outdoor flower market
  Andrzej Dakowski, Polish
 Fulbright Commission Director, called Dominika "the  kindest person in Wroclaw," and he is  right. She also has a mysterious
  side, we discovered, as she led us on
  late night tours of Wroclaw along its
  winding cobblestone streets

Senior  Fulbright  Lecturer, American Literature, at the  University of Wroclaw, English Department

George and Ingrid at Cafe Havana  Cafe Havana near the University and Wroclaw Rynek

   Old friends from Austin, TX, George Dolis & Ingrid Wiegand, help celebrate D'Jalma's 50th birthday on 1/26/04. They were on their
 way to visit Ingrid's mother in Germany. With its Che Guevera posters on the walls, Cafe Havana easily served the best --and only-- Cuban food in Wroclaw.


Cafe near house  

Little Polish Restaurant near our apartment 

  Friends Richard & Basia Benesevich, Ingrid &
  George, and D'Jalma at a little Polish restaurant that served homemade Polish cuisine near our apartment. Richard is an American from Connecticut who received his Magistrate degree from U of Wroclaw and teaches in Walbrzych, a former mining town in Lower Silesia. He informed us that Charlie Watts buys his horses in Walbrzych, Lower Silesia.


Hala Ludowa (The People's Hall)    

Hala Ludowa














The concert venue where ordinary people could pay ordinary prices to see world class opera productions. I bought a ticket for the first
  cycle of Wagner's four-part opera,
Der Ring des Nibelungen,
for 60 zloty, the price of a movie
  ticket. This is a production of Verdi's
The Wroclaw symphony orchestra performs for the opera company. Translated German lyrics in Polish ran outside the proscenium: a communist era gimmick to grow the blue-collar fan base.

Drinking grzaniec at Hala Ludowa     















Oh, yes, they sell grzaniec, hot mulled red wine, during intermission: "If you don't like it, I'll refund your money then I'll drink it myself," the vendor told me. 

 Walk across the brigde to Hala Ludowa
   Ah, grzaniec, more than warmth for a soul who makes the 20-minute walk in snow from 17A Pasteur'a  across the Maria "Madame Curie" Sklodkowska bridge spanning the Stara (Old) Odra River to the Hala Ludowa.


To a Bob Dylan Concert

After an 8-hour train ride from Wroclaw Glowno to Prague, we enjoyed visiting the Bob Dylan tour backstage. D'Jalma's brother, Tony Garnier, plays bass and has been Bob's road band leader and friend since the late 1980s. He is the best bass player in world.
Dj, Tony and Vaclav Havel
  Backstage at the Dylan concert, dinner is served  for the band members, crew, and guests


 D'Jalma and his brother Tony Garnier with great  Czech poet, playwright, and political dissident, Vaclav Havel. Havel never misses a Dylan  concert when the band tours Central Europe.

Hedwig in conversation with Havel 
  Vaclav Havel steals the backstage show

 Backstage at Bob Dylan's Prague concert, Hedwig Gorski converses with Vaclav Havel as Mrs. Havel looks at some photos local photographers took of Pres. Havel and his entourage.


  Hedwig and actor
 Movie actor Peter Stormare

 Hedwig with Peter Stormare,
 the Swedish actor who put the 
 Steve Buscemi character
 into the wood chipper
 in the film
He really
 is a sweet fellow!
Don't we look related? The concert was "smokin'" hot, and Bob did a few James
 Brown moves on stage.

hotel Olga, Prague   Hotel Olga
 We had the attic room at the Hotel Olga in Prague, a short walk from the concert stadium. The Czech language is the least
 understandable for one who knows Polish. It's easier to understand spoken Ukrainian and Russian. The Czechs won't take Polish
 zloty currency, even though it is of greater value! This is how much they are against the war in Iraq and Poland's participation in the coalition, Peter said. Central-Eastern Europe is a land of determined passion.


We often took the train to Cracow, south of Warsaw in MaloPolska. Next to mysterious Wroclaw, Cracow is by far one of the most interesting places to visit in an altogether intriguing country. Roman Polanski grew up there in the Jewish ghetto. His experiences informed the film "Pianist." 

Cafe Krzysztofory 

 The "gig" that D'Jalma did for the American
 consul and French Institute/French Consulate
 to help mend French and American relations, we
 thought. I introduced the Acadian culture before
 D'Jalma performed Cajun-Creole classics backed
 up by Kris Bodzon and his Polish blues band,
Soulfinger. Read more about the event at the
 American Embassy website, which has more pictures 

Michal Rusinek, Szymborska's secretary

 Hedwig with Michal Rusinek, 1996 Nobel laureate Wyslawa Szymborska's secretary. Michal brought  several Chwila books to Pani Szymborska for for the poet's autographed inscriptions. Cracow is Szymborska's city. Czeslaw Milosz also kept an apartment here for visits

Hotel Europejski in Cracow 

Hotel Europejski in Cracow

 Hotel Europejski window shown at left where Hedwig looks out. This was a lovely room that we always booked. The hotel concierge downgraded us after D'Jalma's inadvertent faut pas on our final visit. 

  view of rain station from Hotel Europejski 





View pictured of the train and bus stations from Hotel Europejski window shown above. 




 Auschwitz Concentration Camp

D'Jalma stands in front of one of the many museum displays inside the preserved camp buildings.

 After a 1.5 hour bus ride from Krakow,
 Hedwig stands at the infamous gate to the
 Auschwitz Concentration Camp. D'Jalma's
 hands were shaking when he took this picture.

Birkenau Barracks


  A few miles away from Auschwitz, the mass slaughter took place in Birkenau. Railroad tracks lead into the barbed wire camp where the  rubble from the below-ground crematoriums still remain. Ashes were dumped into the scenic
  pond surrounded by lovely white birch trees. Our cab driver, a long-time resident of Oswieciem,   said that the smell of burning human flesh added a sweet aroma to the air.

Inside one of the preserved barracks at Birkenau, we stand around the latrine   that runs the length of the building between  rows of tilted sleeping bunks. Even in daylight, the interior remains dark. Visitors  from around the world visit daily the preserved camps. It continues to be a solemn and   haunting experience of phantom disbelief for all who walk the grounds.  



Walbrzych was a coal mining town before the mines were closed.
Unemployed miners protested in Warsaw, sometimes violently, during our entire stay in Poland. Evoking the past successes of Solidarity could not help the miners survive in the 2003 Polish economy

  I traveled to Walbrzych to give a lecture on Ernest Gaines to students
of Richard Benesevich  
at the Panstwowa Wyzsza Szkola Zawodowa. We stopped to listen to a Ukrainian street band on the Walbrzych Rynek.


Walbrzych with priest's blessings   On the Catholic holiday of the Three Kings, a priest knocked on Richard's door to bless the house, as is the custom. Richard and D'Jalma thought they were in for a lecture when the priest asked if they smoked. Instead, the priest invited them to join him in a cigarette break.





10/24/2004 Random notes.
The Fulbright program began sending scholars and students to Poland in the 1950s.

Before leaving Warsaw on 2/6/2004 for the U.S., D'Jalma and I flew into Lviv (Lwow), Ukraine, located in the former Polish Galicia region prior to the Yalta agreement divisions. In exchange for the give away of eastern Polish lands to the Soviets, Poland added German territory to its western border.
Wroclaw then became Polish and Poles from Galicia, entire villages together (I learned from students) migrated to western Poland for land grants. My father's family received a farm in Jankow, near Olawa, the next train stop from Wroclaw,
as fate would have it. My grandmother worked in servitude to the German family, former owners of the farm, before the Germans were expelled from the postwar Polish territory. Poles had been expelled from Wroclaw after the city was turned
into a landing strip for German SS leaders. Poland, historically in the center of the push-pull between Germanic and Slavic hegemony, became a ground zero for
mid-century events that transformed the world.

The old communist beauracratic habits linger even more strongly in Ukraine than in Poland. A Ukrainian exit border guard actually grabbed my purse to search my wallet for hryvnia, Ukrainian currency that "should" remain
only in Ukraine. Nevertheless, we mused over the heavy-handed rubber stamping techniques at most official bureaus, including the post office, wherever we went in Poland. I noticed Poles, even at the residency visa offices, retained an ubiquitous national sense of humor regardless of the stern
exteriors they were required to present on their jobs.

© 2004 Hedwig Gorski - E-mail contact:  dr.hedwiggorski [at] gmail [dot] com    Click Here to email Hedwig.
Hedwig Links:


Buy books, audio, and other products by and about Poet/Scholar Hedwig Gorski on Amazon.com. http://www.amazon.com/tag/hedwig%20gorski

Poets and Writers Directory listing and photo       http://www.pw.org/content/hedwig_gorski

East of Eden Band and Thirteen Donuts Audio Samples about Polish immigrants in new Orleans


Gorski Visual Art Gallery

Heathcliff on Powell Street   
New 1978 Austin, Texas, Avant Theater Memoir Published by Slough Press 2007 http://heathcliffonpowellstreet.googlepages.com


read a review by alan Clinton about the book: http://reconstruction.eserver.org/073/clinton2.shtml



Screenplay sample Calling to Yeti about Poet Szymborska