The Czech Issue


Editor’s Note


Throughout the month of November B O D Y will be publishing poetry and prose by writers from the Czech Republic.


This issue, featuring recent Czech writing, would not have been possible without literary translators. Although only a handful of people on this planet translate poetry from Czech, enough of them enlisted their talents to produce this issue. Thanks to their efforts, we will bring you the best of contemporary Czech poetry, with some poets appearing in English for the first time, along with a sample of prose excerpts and reviews.

Relatively few Czech writers found success in the Anglophone world during the previous century. Among the ones to gain international recognition were Nobel Prize winner Jaroslav Seifert, novelist Milan Kundera, playful scientist-poet Miroslav Holub, and of course, playwright and essayist Václav Havel. The working careers of all of these writers overlapped with the communist regime that suffocated the country for forty years. After the Velvet Revolution in 1989, the social situation changed, and, suddenly, Havel was leading the nation as president.

Most of the writers in this issue, however, were children during the revolution and started writing later, in the period that followed that perplexing quarter-century during which the small country struggled to reconcile with its past and move toward a new identity. This process of redefinition has shaped Czech literature no less than other areas of Czech life.

Though it is far too early to speak of a post-revolution canon, it is easy to recognize the writers who have the capacity to excite readers in other languages. Over the course of November, B O D Y will introduce you to some of the most noteworthy poets and prose writers working in the Czech Republic today.

To kick off the Czech Issue, we bring you three poems by Milan Dežinský.

–Jan Zikmund


Read The Czech Issue:

(This list will be updated as content appears)

Milan Dežinský
Kamil Bouška
Olga Pek
Wanda Heinrichová
Jan Balabán
Pavel Šrut


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