Glass City by John Grochalski

Was lucky enough to receive a copy of Low Ghost Press’ second-released chapbook Glass City, which can be ordered here.

Low Ghost is run by Kristofer Collins, an active writer and editor I’ve met before through the New Yinzer Presents series of Pittsburgh.

John’s work has appeared in multiple journals online and in-print, and he is a column writer for The New Yinzer. His work can be very detracted and can set you apart as a reader.

Grochalski’s writing is brutal, is not entirely philosophical and very fundamental.  But the chapbook namesake poem, Glass City, maybe tells it best…this is a work of empty bottles, an empty city, empty relationships.  The one poem within the collection I did find different thematically and shed a bit of hope was dancing in the light.

There is something very important to say here in John’s work which is definitely worth checking out.  I think it goes well beyond the poetry or the writer and into the city and the state of a lot of modern America today.  This collection is a desperation, is hallow, is in recession from you and I and any reader.  John really sets this theme usually between two cities, Pittsburgh and New York throughout, but the overall language of Glass City is something that cannot be ignored, denied or forgotten. The literature of Glass City is a testament to how bad things are, have gotten, and how to wrestle with them.

It tells us how to be bad in bad times.

Using scotch, bars, strangers, lust, John adds to this detract-ability.  He shows us how to survive in a world  (this world) and I’m reminded of exactly how close humanity can or is to it’s own ending.

Through empty trains, empty friendships and empty urban cities, John shows clearly his intent: to sacrifice a part of his own personal deluge of unsatisification with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness so that we may realize a better place for ourselves after reading, maybe one without life’s disappointments.

I woke from this book satisfied in my own, in my ambition and decisions and state of things, enough to write this.  I woke from this book realizing how close the people are in American cities to each other in their discomfort with life.  And I woke from this book realizing exactly how close Pittsburgh really is: to Cleveland, to America, to John Grochalski.

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