Author Archives: Michael Pocalyko


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 →

Walking in Walker Evans’ Shoes

Hollywood has a preferred vantage of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. In November 1935, nineteen years before my birth and eight months before his Let Us Now Praise Famous Men trip, Walker Evans photographed my town. His renowned shot from that series became this iconic portrait. It is the Bethlehem that the world knows, a “convergence in the keen historic spasm of the shutter,” to borrow James Agee’s words about the later Alabama sojourn. You can visit Evans’ picture at the Metropolitan or the MOMA, finding there a Continue reading →


They are the unread. No, not the undead, although there is certainly a pop-consciousness allegory hidden there—even the MLA has sessions on Zombie Modernism now. I mean the unread, the backlog, books that are patiently waiting on the shelf or even at the edge of our consciousness. Stuff we perhaps mean to read but haven’t gotten around to yet. Let’s give this our attention. My brilliant friend and long-suffering lawyer Russell DaSilva has a dangerous fluency in Japanese. He admits to having a favorite word Continue reading →