Clark M. Zlotchew is SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor of Spanish, Spanish Dialectology and Linguistics and Literature in Spanish Language, Emeritus. He has had 18 books published; 15 of them in his professional fields (Literary Criticism; Literary Interviews with Latin American authors, including Borges; books teaching Spanish language at different levels; translations from Spanish of poetry and short fiction) plus four books of his fiction (two collections of his own short stories; two thriller novels) and a collection of his poetry.
Zlotchew has had over 70 scholarly articles in Spanish and in English published in learned journals on five continents. Newer poetry and fiction of his has appeared in Crossways Literary Magazine, Baily’s Beads, The Fictional Café and many other literary journals in the U.S., Australia, U.K., Germany, South Africa, Sweden, India, and Ireland from 2016 through 2021. Earlier fiction of his has appeared in his Spanish versions in Latin America. www.clarkzlotchew.com https://www.facebook.com/clark.zlotchew/ https://www.amazon.com/s?k=zlotchew&i=stripbooks&ref=nb_sb_noss_1
A Presence of Absence: Poetry
A Presence of Absence: We’ve all felt it at one time or another. Hearing the wail of a distant train whistle can provoke it. So can the sound of a foghorn on a misty shore. Or catching a glimpse of a battered old suitcase. Or gazing at harbor lights or the myriads of stars on a clear night. Or suddenly coming upon an old photograph. Or detecting a half-forgotten fragrance. Or listening to an old song. Or contemplating the brevity of life. Or saying goodbye to someone. Or hearing ferocious winds whistling through tree branches that knock against your house, preventing sleep, allowing memories to invade.
The poems in this collection spring from all these stimuli and from the recollection of ecstatic dancing in the tropics, of the intense emotional effect of ancient Chinese music, of the bliss of love and the despondency of its loss. From high adventure in youth to an old man’s bittersweet memories of it while in his waning years. The venues reach from New Jersey to Havana to New York City to Shanghai, to rural Chautauqua County, and from the wild Atlantic to the island-studded Pacific to the homey shores of Lake Erie. And from stormy high seas to fields of battle, from the steaming Tropics to the chill of the Arctic Circle and to Tierra del Fuego, gateway to Antarctica. But all have in common the feeling the Portuguese call saudade, which I call a presence of absence.