Poet, lyricist, artist. A leading figure in the Czech underground movement. In 2014 he was awarded the Revolver Revue Prize. His books have been published in English and Swedish.
After interrupting his studies at the ČVUT Faculty of Civil Engineering, he and Milan Hlavsa formed the group DG 307, named after the code for a psychiatric diagnosis. Zajíček was the band’s songwriter, reciter of poetry and front man (a role he resumed when he returned from exile and the band reformed). He worked in a number of different manual occupations and his poetry came out in samizdat form – three books mainly consisting of Zajíček’s lyrics were published in the 1970s. He is the author of around twenty collections and hundreds of song lyrics. In 1976 he was arrested along with the members of the band The Plastic People of the Universe, and after the trial on trumped-up charges he was sentenced to a year in prison. In 1980 he emigrated to Sweden, after which he lived in the United States of America. He returned to Prague in 1995. As an artist he has also contributed to the graphic design of several of his books.
1990 saw the publication of the collection DG 307 – Texty z let 1973–1980 (DG 307 – Lyrics from 1973 – 1980, Vokno, 1990), as well as three albums of the group’s music from the 1970s. There then followed the prose poems Kniha měst (Book of Cities, Sdružení na podporu vydávání časopisů, 1993), and a compilation of earlier texts from the 1990s is also contained in the book Čas je výkřik uprostřed noci (Time is a Scream in the Middle of the Night, Maťa, 1999) and the collection Zvuky sirén a zvonů (The Sounds of Sirens and Bells, Vetus via, 2001). The 500-page collection Zápisky z podzemí (Notes from the Underground, Torst 2002) charts the Czech underground from 1973 to 1980. It is an idiosyncratic literary experiment along the lines of a memoir or a diary, made up of reflections, comments, lyrics and poems as well as personal recollections, many of which were thought to have been lost or lent out amongst friends. As critic Radim Kopáč wrote in a review for the newspaper Právo, “The author’s style of writing is similar to the automatism of the surrealists: it abandons the formal qualities of the work and strives for one thing – to capture the actual movement of thought.” The book Jakoby…Svět v zrnku písku (As if… The World in a Grain of Sand, Torst, 2003) is similar in style but charts the earlier (childhood in the 1950s) and later (emigration in the 1980s) periods. This was followed by a poetry collection entitled Cesta vlakem z P. do B. / Pollockovy fleky / Odposlouchaná slova (Train Journey from P. to B. / Pollock’s Splodges / Monitored Words, Vetus via, 2007), which contains three sets of more recent texts. Within the space of just a few years the publishing house Pulchra brought out Zajíček’s older collections Roztrhanej film (Tattered Film, Pulchra, 2008), Kniha psaná chaosem (A Book Written By Chaos, Pulchra, 2009) and Kniha moří (The Book of the Seas, Pulchra, 2010). The last of these had been written by Zajíček in exile, but it had never been published as a collection. Zajíček is also the author of the short 38-page Pohádka se špatným koncem (A Fairy Tale with a Bad Ending, Vetus via, 2010), set out as a composition from a dream landscape.
The author’s most recent poetry is contained in the book Chvění (Trembling, Maťa, 2012). In 2014 Zajíček took part in the Revolver Revue project Jedna věta (One Sentence, Revolver Revue, 2015) in which he had to describe each day of the year in a single sentence.