Wednesday, August 31, 2011

September 11 at 2 p.m. - "Tour de Polonia" Project of the Polish Museum of Emigration

In 2011, the Modjeska Club celebrates its 40th anniversary. The fall season is filled with events, starting from September 11, 2011.

Our first meeting is dedicated to a project of a new Polish Museum of Emigration in Gdynia, Tour de Polonia – The World Through Polish Eyes. The Museum will be represented by the project’s authors, Edi & Asia Pyrek – explorers and artists, as well as collaborators of the National Geografic. The meeting will take place in the welcoming home of Kinga Rymsza-Sarabia and Sonny Sarabia in Orange County, starting at 2 p.m., on Sunday, 11 September 2011. The program will include a presentation about the newly created Polish Museum of Emigration in Gdynia as well as conversations with members of our club, accompanied by a donation drive for the Museum’s holdings. Please do not forget to bring your gifts and memorabilia you would like to share with the Museum, as well as beverages and refreshments for our buffet. This event is free to all guests. There will be free parking on nearby streets.

Tour de Polonia – The World Through Polish Eyes is a project of the new Polish Museum of Emigration which will open in Gdynia at the turn of 2011/2012. The patronage over this project is extended by the National Geographic, Polska Telewizja (TVP) and TV Polonia. The idea of „Tour de Polonia” is to show Poles through the prism of the country in which they have decided to live.

Edi Pyrek is an explorer, writer (author of 7 travel books) and staff collaborator of the National Geographic. As a journalist, he authored travel series for TVP, Świat Podróży wg Ediego and Ziema Nieznana and for the Discovery Channel, Święte Miejsca. He also created documenteries for TVP. As a political advisor he worked on election campaigns and image management. He has lectured at colleges about location marketing and worked as a consultant on location branding. For the "Tour de Polonia" project he will gather materials for books/articles and conduct interviews with emigrants.

Asia Pyrek
is an explorer, photographer, and a collaborator of National Geographic. She won the first prize in the original Polish photo competition of the National Geographic. She also co-authored three travel books, including a Travel Encyclopedia. As a cinematographer, she worked for the Discovery Channel; she also worked as an editor, film composer, and a singer. As a collaborator of the Polish Museum of Emigration, she will create the audiovisual documentation for the project.


In celebration of the theme of emigration, I thought it worthwhile to reprint here my poem "An Ode of the Lost" that was published in 2010 in an online Polonian journal, The Cosmopolitan Review. At that time the poem was accompanied by my multi-layered photo - a collage of a photo of Polish fields taken from a train, placed in the chaparral, by Mojave Yucca and desert rocks of California.

An Ode of the Lost

to Adam Mickiewicz and all Polish exiles

Tired exiles in rainy Paris listen to Mickiewicz
reciting praises of woodsy hills, green meadows—
distant Lithuania, their home painted in Polish verse,
each word thickly spread with meaning,
like a slice of rye bread with buckwheat honey.

“Litwo! Ojczyzno moja! ty jesteś jak zdrowie.
Ile cię trzeba cenić, ten tylko się dowie,
Kto cię stracił”
—he says, and we, homeless Poles
without ground under our feet, concur,
sharing the blame for our departure.
There’s no return.

Are not all journeys one way? Forward,
forward, go on, “call that going, call that on.”
The speed of light, merciless angel with a flaming sword,
moves the arrow forward. Seconds, minutes
stretch into years. Onwards. Go.
The time-space cone limits the realm of possibility.
If you stay, you can go on. If you leave—

Can you find blessing in the blur of a moment?
In a glimpse of soft, grassy slopes shining
like burnished gold before the sun turns purple?
Can you learn to love the sweet-fluted songs
of the mockingbird, forget the nightingale?

How far is too far for the lost country
to become but a dream of ancient kings—
where children never cry, wildflowers bloom,
and autumn flutter of brown, drying leaves
whispers of the comforts of winter?
Sleep, sleep, eternal sleep,
in the spring you will awaken…

(c) 2009 by Maja Trochimczyk

Note: Quotation from Adam Mickiewicz’s Invocation to Pan Tadeusz, or the Last Foray in Lithuania (“My country! You are as good health: /How much one should prize you, he only can tell who has /lost you”), and from Samuel Beckett’s The Unnameable.



In 2011 we will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Club and we plan the following events:
  • 15 October – Polish Film Festival (the Modjeska Prize)

  • 24 October - Adam Michnik
  • 19 November – Concert of Henryk Mikołaj Górecki;
  • TBA December – Christmas party with the Polish University Club of Los Angeles,
  • 31 December – New Year’s Eve Anniversary Ball.

    For the spring of 2012 we have planned a special treat: Pastorałki by Bogdan Kuszta directed by Maria Pilatowicz. In January 2012, the 40-years of the history of the club will be presented during the Annual Meeting of the Polish American Historical Association in Chicago (by Maja Trochimczyk)


    Photos of California landscapes (Big Tujunga Wash with Barbara Koziel Gawronski's Collage; High Sierra Mountain meadows imitating forests of Lithuania and Poland) (c) 2009-2011 by Maja Trochimczyk.

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