Special Collections and University Archives, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Michael Z. Kislo Notebooks
Scope and Contents of the Collection
The collection comprises 9 volumes (1954-74) of Michael Kislo's writing and artwork. The writing, mostly in Polish, handwritten and typewritten, is frequently religious, but also patriotic, personal, and autobiographical. It is usually in the form of "songs," as Kislo calls them. Allusions to the F.B.I., especially in 1962, are of interest.
The drawings and paintings are Chagall-like at times-a floating world of religious allusions. At other times, Polish costumes make appearances, as do weapons, imaginary animals, and fanciful landscapes. It is unclear whether the images are traditional, re-interpretations of traditional ones, or unique to Kislo's imagination.
The notebooks make accessible the thoughts and feelings of a Polish immigrant in a uniquely intense way, when ordinarily the inner life of this generation is lost to the future.