Essaying Differences Proprietor, Philip Balla
born Glendale, California, January 4, 1947; returned to California 2001, adjuncting at Golden Gate University, San Francisco State, and City College of San Francisco. Since May '09 living in the mountains of Kyushu, Japan.
rewriting “To the Old World” and “44 Morton Street”; new manuscripts on American university life: “The Waters of Kalamazoo County,” “’Love is Stronger than Hate’?”
“The Garden of Eden,” and several dozen more at Proprietor’s Column, www.EssayingDifferences.com
self-published Setsuko’s World, 2007, a chapbook of poems
1998 returned to U.S.: a year in Kalamazoo, Mich. (Western Michigan University and Kalamazoo Valley Community College, also substituting in Kalamazoo public schools), a year in New York City (Zoni Language Institute), and one in Northampton, Mass., in its public schools.
manuscript work: “To the Old World” a central Europe memoir, and “44 Morton Street,” on poet Joseph Brodsky.
1987-98 in central Europe. First versions of Essaying Differences begun at Janaček Academy of Performing Arts, Masaryk University School of Medicine, and Czech Military Academy (Brno, Czech Republic), Eőtvős Loránd University (Budapest; Hungary), Ŝafarik University (Prešov, Slovakia) and Wolkerová Gymnasium (Žilina, Slovakia).
published interview by Barbora Erniholdová in Literarni Noviny, Prague, Czech Republic, March ‘96. Paper on Franny and Zooey at annual American Studies Association conference, May 4, ‘95, at Eőtvős Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary. Talk on BBC World Service, “Words of Faith” (on soul, humanity, and role of universities) for fifth-year anniversary of Velvet Revolution, international broadcast Sunday, Nov. 20, ‘94. Essay, “Prekočit Hranice,” Slovak translation, Pavel Vilikovský, on contemporary Slovak poetry in book of English translations, Not Waiting for Miracles: review in Romboid, Sept., ‘94 (Bratislava, Slovakia). Review of Slavoj Žižek’s Tarrying with the Negative: Kant, Hegel, and the Critique of Ideology, in Kritikon Litterarum, 21 (‘94). Subscription-published verse chapbook, In Central Europe, drawings by Barbora Erniholdová, Budapest, Hungary, ‘93. Paper on Hungarian poets Miklos Radnóti and Sándor Csoóri, at biannual conference of Hungarian American Studies Association, Debrecen, Hungary, Kossuth Lajos University, Jan., ‘93. Review of “The Quilt Poems” of Jane Wilson Joyce, in Quilt Pieces, and of Sad Girl Sitting on a Running Board, poems by Michael McFee, in Appalachian Journal, fall ‘92. Review of Old Martins, New Strings, poems by Joseph Barrett, P. J. Laska, and Bob Snyder, in Appalachian Journal, summer, ‘92. Review of Invitation to Kim, poetry collection by George Scarbrough, in Appalachian Journal, fall, ‘91. “Letter from Hungary,” PN Review, England, Jul.-Aug. ‘91. Interview translated into Hungarian by László Tabóri in Uj Magyarorszag, Jul. 8, ‘91. Biographical essay on Joseph Brodsky in Literary Exile in the Twentieth Century: An Analysis and Biographical Dictionary, Martin Tucker, ed., Greenwood Press (New York, ‘91), pp. 147 – 49. Review of Sigodlin, poems by Robert Morgan, and Vigils, poems by Jeff Daniel Marion, in Appalachian Journal, spring, ‘91. Interview in Slovak translated by Antonia Revajová, in Novy Povex Magazin, Apr. 9, ‘91. “Letter from Hungary,” in PN Review, England, Jan.-Feb., ‘91. “Open Letter to Students,” Slovak tr., Denisa Petrilaková, in Premeny, Prešov, Slovakia, Dec. 21, ‘90. Essay, “Islam and the West: A World Mohács,” translated into Hungarian by Eszter Kis, in Magyar Napló, Budapest, Oct. 18, ‘90. Essay, “The Happy Chaos of English,” tr. László Tabóri, Magyar Napló, Budapest, Aug. 30,‘90. “Transylvania Breakdown,” essay in Appalachian Journal, fall, ’89. “Soros and Emmanuel,” translation into Hungarian in USA, fall, ‘89. “A Message from the Grave,” review of The Poetry of Miklos Radnóti, in The Bloomsbury Review, Sept.-Oct. ’88. “Hard Times,” review of Present Continuous: Contemporary Hungarian Writing, in The New Hungarian Quarterly, summer, ’88.
1982-87 in New York City, a few months teaching in Chinatown, then three years human rights work for PEN American Center: monthly bulletins, case sheets, press conferences, U. S. congressional hearings, missions, readings, panels, and liaison with U.S. and foreign press, NGOs, and foreign governments.
member, National Book Critics Circle; published in Parnassus: Poetry in Review, The Chicago Tribune, Exquisite Corpse, Bloomsbury Review, the Baltimore Sun, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, The Detroit News, USA Today, New American, Publishers’ Weekly, the St. Petersburg Times, and Freedom at Issue – an essay translated and broadcast into several countries of eastern Europe by Radio Free Europe; edited Irina Ratushinskaya Poems (New York: PEN and Hermitage Press, ‘84); translation from Russian in The New York Review of Books.
1974-82: part-time teaching at Southwestern Michigan College, Dowagiac, Mich., New River Community College, Dublin, Virginia, Wayne County Community College, Detroit, U of Michigan-Dearborn, and U of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
published in Appalachian Journal, Appalachian Heritage, The Picket Line, and Science for the People.
Education: U of Michigan, B.A. ‘69 in history and languages: French, Russian, classical Greek, and Biblical Hebrew; M.A. ‘74 with comparative literature paper on Melville and Pasternak; Ph.D. ‘77 with autobiographical travelogue thesis, “Appalachia and Detroit.”
published in The Michigan Daily, Cinema Scope, and The Ann Arbor News
Military: 2 IX 69 – 4 IV 72 with honorable discharge as Specialist 5 Vietnamese translator-interpreter; served as congressional correspondent in Göppingen and German-speaking Kontakt coordinator in Nuremberg, West Germany.
published in Fragging Action and Muzzle Blast
dictionary peddler through southern Appalachia,
bartender, Sportsman’s Tavern, Paw Paw, Michigan,
migrant farm laborer in California & Arizona, tree cutter in Blue Ridge mountains
East Tennessee investigative researcher for the Southern Regional Council,
Ann Arbor used book store clerk,
flag boy at Howe Elementary, Dearborn, Michigan.