Cecilia Woloch is a poet, writer, teacher, and traveler based in Los Angeles. She has published six collections of poems, most recently Earth (Two Sylvias Press, 2015). Her second collection, Tsigan: The Gypsy Poem, was published in French translation by Scribe-l'Harmattan in 2014 and has been adapted for multi-media performances in the U.S. and Europe. A novel, Sur la Route, appeared from Quale Press in 2015. Her honors include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the California Arts Council, and CEC/ArstLink International. She collaborates regularly with artists in other disciplines and conducts workshops for writers around the world.
Cecilia Woloch is a poet, writer, teacher, and traveler based in Los Angeles but "on the road" across the US and Europe six months each year. She has published essays, reviews, fiction and six award-winning collections of poems—most recently Earth (Two Sylvias Press, 2015) and Carpathia (BOA Editions, 2009). Her second collection, Tsigan: The Gypsy Poem, was published in French translation (Tzigane, le poème, Gitan, Scribe-l'Harmattan, 2014) and has been adapted for multi-media performances in the U.S. and Europe. Her first novel, Sur la Route, appeared from Quale Press in 2015. Her honors include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the California Arts Council, Chateau de La Napoule Retreat for Artists, CEC/ArstLink International and the Center for International Theatre Development. Maxine Kumin said of Cecilia Woloch’s work: “To write movingly about love in an era infused with hate requires a special gift: nostalgia hard-edged with realism. She has that gift.”
Ms. Woloch was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and grew up there and in rural Kentucky, one of seven children of a homemaker and an airplane mechanic. She attended Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky, earning degrees in English and Theater Arts, before moving to Los Angeles in 1979. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University L.A. in 1999. A celebrated teacher, she has conducted poetry workshops for thousands of children and young people throughout the United States, as well as workshops for professional writers, educators, participants in Elderhostel programs for senior citizens, inmates at a prison for the criminally insane, and residents at a shelter for homeless women and their children. From 2006 to 2014, she was a member of the faculty in creative writing at the University of Southern California. She has collaborated with visual artists, theatre artists, musicians, dancers and filmmakers. Translations of her poems into French, German, Bulgarian and Polish have been published internationally, and recent prose has been translated and published in Ukrainian. The founding director of Summer Poetry in Idyllwild, The Istanbul Poetry Workshop and The Paris Poetry Workshop, she currently leads independent workshops for poets and writers around the world.
I drive a pick-up truck and can climb into and out of it in a cocktail dress and high heels. I can dance salsa and cha cha cha and speak fairly decent French. I’m currently learning Polish and can fake it in a couple of other languages. I know maybe more than is healthy to know about eastern European history, the Bolsheviks, WWII and Hitler and Stalin, and the history of the Roma (gypsy) people in Europe, but way less than any academic specializing in those things would (I hope) know. I’m an excellent parallel parker. Good navigator and map-reader. I have expertise in making complicated travel arrangements and in getting small children to laugh, if not getting them to go to sleep. I can ride a horse with a Western or English saddle. I can do splits, but not cartwheels. Double pirhouettes but not triple. My grammar skills have advanced to the point that I know how and when to use the subjunctive. I can braid my hair with my eyes closed. I can explain the history of English prosody with a couple of coconuts. I make a perfect cup of coffee and a mean omelette, but that’s the full extent of my culinary skills. I know the names of many wildflowers. Can still do “figures in my head” and balance my checkbook to the penny. I’m addicted to novels. I’ve never owned a television. I’ve taught creative writing to the criminally insane and line dancing to the elderly. I’ve crossed the Polish-Ukrainian border on foot in the company of smugglers and journalists. Have been robbed by a Russian gang in Warsaw and rescued by off-duty police in Paris. I’m not talking about Havana. I prefer to live out of a suitcase. Once gave myself a haircut with a breadknife. Can build a fire and bathe in a bucket. Can apply lipstick in a rearview mirror.
AUTHOR'S PHOTOS BY MARK SAVAGE