Editor’s Note: Animated excerpt from Czech surrealist poet Vítězslav Nezval’s poem cycle “Bizarre Town.” Translated by Stephan Delbos and Tereza Novická. Published in The Absolute Gravedigger by Twisted Spoon Press, 2016. Animation by Ken Nash. Music by The Josef Suk Piano Quartet. Buy the book here.
VÍTĚZSLAV NEZVAL (1900-1958) was perhaps the most prolific writer in Prague during the 1920s and ’30s. An original member of the avant-garde group of artists Devetsil (Nine Forces), he was a founding figure of the Poetist movement. His output consists of a number of poetry collections, experimental plays and novels, memoirs, essays, and translations. Nezval frequently traveled to Paris, engaging with the French surrealists. Forging a friendship with André Breton and Paul Eluard, he was instrumental in founding The Surrealist Group of Czechoslovakia in 1934.
About the Animator:
KEN NASH is the author of the short fiction collection The Brain Harvest (Equus Press 2012) and the founder of the Alchemy Reading & Performance Series in Prague. Ken is an illustrator, graphic designer and animator. He also writes and performs original music under the pseudonym “Ken Nash.”
About the Translators:
STEPHAN DELBOS is a New England-born writer living in Prague, where he teaches at Charles University and Anglo-American University. His poetry, essays, and translations have been published internationally. He is the editor of From a Terrace in Prague: A Prague Poetry Anthology (Litteraria Pragensia, 2011). His collection of visual poems, “Bagatelles for Typewriter,” was exhibited at Prague’s ArtSpace Gallery in 2012. His play, Chetty’s Lullaby, about jazz trumpeter Chet Baker, was produced in San Francisco. Deaf Empire, his play about the Czech composer Bedřich Smetana, was produced by the Prague Shakespeare Company. He is the author of the poetry chapbook In Memory of Fire (Cape Cod Poetry Review, 2016), and a founding editor of B O D Y.
TEREZA NOVICKÁ, a native of San Francisco, moved to the Czech Republic in 2000. Currently a student in the American Literature graduate program at Charles University in Prague, her projects include translating Czech films as well as poetry. She has translated a number of Czech and Slovak poets into English, including Ondřej Buddeus, Jan Těsnohlídek, Sylva Fischerová, Lenka Daňhelová, Martin Skýpala, Vlado Šimek, and Pavel Novotný.