Author Archives: Michael Pocalyko

Nobody Actually Reads Piketty

I live a life of keeping secrets. It is exceedingly rare, and sometimes provides a story with a message, when I get to tell a secret. This is one of those times. I’m a life member of the storied Council on Foreign Relations. Have been, for the past 23 years. My entering class included people a lot more important than me, like Sandra Day O’Connor. I snuck through the membership screening in the fall of 1990 at the age of 35 because Dick Neustadt and Continue reading →

1964: The Last World of the Fair

The Sixties were an era rather than a chronological decade. They began on November 22, 1963 and ended on August 9, 1974, bracketed by the events that double-stunned the nation: the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the resignation of Richard Nixon. But there was a period of easing in, a long moment of inflection that began exactly five months after Kennedy’s death. Fifty years. Half a century, well deserving reflection. Let’s journey to the New York World’s Fair. My title here takes a turn Continue reading →


I have walked in Maidan Nezalezhnosti, Independence Square in central Kyiv. “Euromaidan,” literally the Euro Square, along with all matters Ukrainian, have dominated our international consciousness for the past two months. For me it’s personal, energized by the legacy of my grandfather Nicholas Pocalyko. Let’s meet him on a great day in a posed photograph—one that tells so much. He is 53 years old in Palmerton, Pennsylvania in early 1946. He beams broadly, laughing, arms around four of his five sons home from the war Continue reading →

Punches, Evil and Influences

Three short stories illuminate some painfully fundamental inquiries for writers. All true. Each one followed by a question. For fiction to accelerate to its full imaginative power and reach transcendent grace, we need to ask the questions. Punches Just before the turn of the millennium I wrote a novel that I never published. In the midsection of that book, the good guy and his girlfriend—they were Washington politico-elite types—wound up on a peripatetic journey around America, running from the conspiracy. They traveled to some very Continue reading →