Notes from a Warsaw Residency, 1

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some notes from this Warsaw residency (courtesy Adam Mickiewicz Institute, courtesy Warsaw Bauhaus)… the word “resident” from the Latin <em>sidere</em> to abide awhile, to settle down. To settle down on ul. Smulikowskiego, to read and write and move and think in this quiet flat not far from my friends Joanna and Wojtek, to emerge from this quiet flat to walk in the morning, drink coffee in cafes near the university library, to observe the animated conversations of young Warsavians, the changing exhibitions at Warsaw Bauhaus…

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to enter the Warsaw zoo where the sight of flamingos ignites the landscape, where strolling families are exiting after a Saturday looking at zebras… to a special ceremony to dedicate the villa residence of the Zabinskis, the zookeepers who rescued many Jews during the German occupation of Warsaw..

that was two days ago, sitting under chestnut trees listening to Chopin with geese clacking overhead and i swear i heard other creatures (wolves?) adding to the melange of sound and feeling… late afternoon walk on the nearby Vistula, admiring a barge named Atalanta, thinking of the saviors of Atlantis who wandered and collected the shards of Jewish history in Poland after the war, to the present, the vibrant present here in Warsaw today… walking through the doors of the new POLIN Museum and where I will be in conversation with my dear friend Tomasz Kitlinski in just two days… a chance to sit and talk with Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, the scholar, the nimble mind who designed, oversaw, strategized, curated the core exhibition… which, as she points out, is told without foreshadowing or backshadowing, where we are asked to walk through a 1000 years of history, an exhibition worthy of debates, an exhibition that left me emotional and asking questions and remembering that moment years ago, when my friend Cheryl asked, startled, “Am I Polish?”

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To sit in the flat of the journalist Kostek Gebert, with his cat Kescia on my lap, purring… to feel at home in Warsaw. To walk Dobra at night, under the bridge where the tram clacks along, a mysterious night walker passing by, wearing  a coat with a fur collar….

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to wander the Warsaw flea market with Joanna and Wojtek, where discarded dolls speak from boxes of clutter, postcards of alpine flowers and soldiers from a war a century ago, tools that had a meaning in another age, that stretched a woman’s elegant shoes, a Ukrainian ceramic of a fish with a wide-open mouth, bent-wood chairs, 60’s jazz playing on an old turntable, a yellow china teapot my grandmother might have used to brew her dark tea, which she’d drink through a sugar cube, held in her mouth.

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6 Responses to “Notes from a Warsaw Residency, 1”

  1. dsklar@danceth.net Says:

    Thank you, dear Louise.Can we have a nice meeting when you get back, perhaps over lunch in the city or a walk as if we were flaneurs in LA….BKG invites me to visit and your post helps bring the utterly unfamiliar city of Warsaw to life so I can begin to imaginegoing.Much love and deep happiness in your travels,Deidre

  2. Erica Clark Says:

    One long and beautiful poem, dearest Lulu. Couldn’t be more evocative… Really feels like being there with you.

    Love, E

    Sent from my iPhone

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  3. Jack Mayer Says:

    Thank you, Louise, for this lovely impressionist painting with worsds of Warsaw. Best, Jack Mayer ( Life In A Jar: The Irena Sendler Project)

  4. Bette Levy Says:

    Always interesting posts from you. Makes me feel there with you as you experience it all.

  5. LeBrie Rich Says:

    Love this, dear! So glad you are seeing and smelling and sitting and walking and feeling. We toasted you on your birthday. Hope it was a good one. xo

    // LeBrie Rich | PenFelt 503 . 736 . 3358

    workshops wearables artwork instagram

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  6. Nancy DeLouise Says:

    Thank you for these wonderful impressions of Warsaw. It’s a city I have never been to, but through your words I can smell, hear and feel the sights you see.

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