Publication Date:  March 15, 2015
Paperback,  72 pages
ISBN:  978-1-937968-15-1
Booksellers:  Available from
Small Press Distribution
Joanna Kurowska immigrated to the US in
1988. After publishing two books of poetry in her native
Ściana (The Wall) and Obok (Near), she wrote
Inclusions (Červená Barva Press, 2014)—a volume of
originally English-language poems.  Her own translations
of her Polish poems appeared in the collection
The Wall
& Beyond
(eLectio Publishing, 2013). Joanna’s poetry
and fiction have appeared widely in American and
European journals, including
American Tanka, Apple
Valley Review
, Atticus, Bateau, Christianity &
, Dappled Things, Illuminations, International
Poetry Review
, Kultura (Paris), Oklahoma Review,
Penwood Review, Poetry Nook, Postcard Shorts, Room
, Solo Novo, Tipton Poetry Journal, Vine
Leaves Literary Journal, Vineyards: Journal of
Christian Poetry
, and Write From Wrong among others.
Cover photograph by Paweł Młynarczyk
Like the titular butterfly trapped in a headlamp, the poetry in this collection occupies
the boundaries and extremities of our human condition, probing and challenging
what it means to live "half-eaten" but still grasping at the possibility of hope and
meaning, "yielding half-beauty to the world."   Informed on the one hand by the
poet's immigrant experience of shifting between homelands and languages, and
underpinned by her exploration of gnosticism, these are works of clear-eyed
observation and studied contemplation, fulfilling in the end her own description of
    a camera
    has made a picture
    it shows
    the exterior and the interior sides
    of things

Praise for Joanna Kurowska's The Butterfly's Choice:

"The Butterfly's Choice invites the reader to contemplate the possibility of wisdom,
to wander to its doorstep.  It teaches us and warns us all at once.  And it invites us
to join in a universal humility
to be spiritually silent. An admirable quest."
                      Helen Degen Cohen, author of
Habry and
                            Co-Editor of
Rhino Magazine

"In The Butterfly’s Choice, the poetry of Joanna Kurowska alights on diverse
peoples and places like a 'monarch wing on my path,' ready, by the poet's choice, to
be noticed and seen with fresh light and shadow."
                      Mary Harwell Sayler, poetry editor and poet-author of
Outside Eden and Living in the Nature Poem

"Why am I the air for the world’s lungs? Joanna Kurowska searches and yearns
for an answer. With imagery so beautiful and poems so moving, her poetry emerges
and takes flight, like a butterfly, with a spirit and intellect that touches the soul like
no other. The best book of poetry I've read in a long time.
                      Gloria Mindock, editor of Červená Barva Press

"This is a quietly powerful book of poetry... a book that wants something strong and
emotional back from you, but doesn't necessarily demand it—instead it presents a
way forward, for both poet and reader, to come to an understanding before parting
                      Darryl Price,
Olentangy Review (click here to read the full
The Butterfly’s Choice is a thrilling voyage across shifting sands of time. In this
third book of her poetry, you become aware of the power of an international
language harnessed creatively by a bilingual user and its dexterous employment in
the hands of an accomplished writer. Here, the reader keeps on moving in different
realms and contexts, guided by a medley of strange metaphors, images; twists and
turns of a language mastered....In brief,
The Butterfly’s Choice is a delicate tapestry
of emotions, moods and contexts caught in broad and/or minimalist verbal strokes,
thus creating a deeply enriching and satisfying totality."
                       Sunil Sharma,
Fox Chase Review (click here to read the full

The Butterfly’s Choice creates images that stir the imagination to question the
world around us. While I find poetry sometimes hard to connect with as it reads and
speaks differently to each reader, these fifty-poems are packed with intensity. There
is a physical lure to her poetry as it sits on the blank page, a cryptic, philosophical,
and striking breath of fresh air that is swept in by her musings on life, death, and
                        Natasha Persaud,
Vine Leaves Literary Journal (click here to
                        to read the full review)

To listen to an interview with Joanna by Sunil Sharma from
Writers in Conversation
wherein they discuss immigration, bi-lingualism, Joseph Conrad, writing, and more,
click here.
The Butterfly's Choice
Poetry by
Author Photo by John Brownell
A published scholar, Joanna holds a PhD in literature, with expertise in Joseph Conrad. Her
critical works have appeared in
The Conradian (UK), Joseph Conrad Today, Sarmatian
, Slavic and East European Journal, Southern Quarterly, Yearbook of Conrad
(Poland), and other publications.

Joanna currently lives in Evanston, Illinois, together with her husband John Brownell, son
Paweł Młynarczyk, and cat Rufus. She continues to write in her second language, English.
Includes the 2016 Pushcart Prize
nominated poem,
"The Fear Parable"!