One of the most distinctive (and youngest) poets to come from the underground of the 1980s and founder of the band Krch-off. His poems have been set to music by a number of underground bands including Plastic People of the Universe. His verse has been published abroad (in English, Danish, Dutch, Polish and German), particularly in journals. He won the Revolver Revue prize in 1992 for the collection Noci, po nichž nepřichází ráno (Nights Not Followed by Day). He was born in Prague on 22 April 1960.
Jiří H. Krchovský
He trained as a mason and has worked freelance since 1977. He lives alternately between Prague and Brno – close to areas where Soviet soldiers were buried. His real name is Jiří Hásek.
He made his debut in journals, and his first book of verse came out only after the revolution as the collection Noci, po nichž nepřichází ráno (Nights Not Followed by Day, Host, 1991). His official webpage states that, “Krchovský’s absurd, rhymed and careful rhythmical poetry returns to the tradition of Czech decadence, whose constant symbols are death, pain and destruction shrouded in a choking alcoholic-erotic haze.”
Author Milan Exner wrote that for the next collection, Leda s labutí, básně z let 1992 – 1996 (Leda and the Swan, Poems from 1992-1996, Host, 1997): “It is no coincidence that the poet talks about himself as a king at a masked ball walking around in the cruellest of masks, i.e. without one… However, that is the mask. Underneath it we sense a creature as helpless as a freshwater pearl. When he talks of suicide it is not (only) an aesthetically functional gesture… We sense that the author of such verse could just as easily hang himself as get drunk, to die from too much pain or childish joy… Today joy weeps, tomorrow pain will smile. A Bohemian searches for (and does not find) love…”
This was followed by Dodatky… (Addenda, Poems from 1978–1996; Host 1997) and the self-contained collection Básně (Poetry), which is a summation of the previous titles (Host 1998). The collection Vše nejlepší… (All The Best… Maťa 1998) also provides a collection of poetry from the same period.
Following a five-year silence Poslední list, básně z let 1997–2003 (The Last Leaf, Poetry from 1997-2003, Petrov, 2003) was published, and shortly afterwards came the collection Nad jedním světem, básně z let 2003–2004 (Above One World, Poetry from 2003-2004, Host 2004). The collection Mladost – Radost…vybrané juvenilie z let 1978–1981 (Youth – Joy, selected juvenilia from 1978–1981; Větrné mlýny, 2005) contained early texts which had been read over by his arbiter and mentor, Egon Bondy, and arranged according to quality – Krchovský selected those which had been given a red plus. “Let’s call them curiosities,” said the author of this collection.
Básně sebrané (Collected Poetry, Host, 2010) is a collection of Krchovský’s existing works published for the author’s fiftieth birthday. This was followed by Dvojité dno (Double Bottom, Host, 2010), which contains his poems from 2009 and 2010. The collection Tak tedy ještě jedno jaro (So One More Spring Then, Revolver revue, 2015), offers readers previously unpublished poetry from 1975 (when the author was fifteen) to 2015. “In their standard format – strictly rhythmical and rhyming, a generally austere poetic language, which is built around four-verse stanzas – they bring the traditionally sceptical view of the world. This is a dismal, even evil place, which we have to somehow “endure” until death frees us. This long wait is composed of countless smaller unbearable waitings, which seem to be imperceptible daily shifts towards the desired end: there are typical questions such as, ‘how to survive the day until evening / how to survive the night until morning,’ or a confession repeating variations on the same theme: ‘I go to sleep and look forward to when I’ll get up / so that I’ll look forward to going to bed: night after night I yelp like a puppy / day after day is about survival,’”cited Marek Lollok in his review for iLiteratura.cz.