On Gary Gildner’s eleventh birthday, his Polish grandfather Steve Szostak was buried. Just before the undertaker closed the coffin, Gildner’s grandmother Nelly quietly placed the book she’d found her husband holding at his death in the casket. “Always this Korzeniowski—even on his last day—and why?” Nelly asked her grandson almost two decades later. It was in this moment—discovering his grandfather’s devotion to Joseph Conrad—that Gildner realized the man he had followed around on a northern Michigan farm was someone considerably more. Inspired by Szostak’s love of Conrad, Gildner embarked on a journey of self discovery that took him from the Tatra Mountains in Eastern Europe to the Clearwater Mountains in Idaho, finding where the truth begins in his own life.
Gary Gildner is a nationally recognized poet and writer, whose books include Somewhere Geese are Flying, Blue Like the Heavens,The Second Bridge, and The Warsaw Sparks. He has received the National Magazine Award for Fiction, a Pushcart Prize, the William Carlos Williams and Theodore Roethke poetry prizes; Gary was a Senior Fulbright Lecturer to both Poland and Czechoslovakia. Gildner lives in Idaho’s Clearwater Mountains.