These days a herbarium is seen as a catalogued collection of pressed dried plants with labels. Petr Borkovec’s Herbarium records poetic forms and linguistic formulations.
Petr Borkovec’s inventive, imaginative and totally unique poetry catalogue connects the poetic language of the 19th century, echoes of folk poetry and a wide variety of quotations, loanwords and allusions with the style of expression used by members of modern-day obscure interest groups such as metal-detecting enthusiasts, pet owners, fish fanciers, plant-growers and entomologists, lovers of the outdoors, guns and porn, hunters, dragonfly collectors, criminologists, members of housing associations and poets. Their unique voices form rare exhibits in Borkovec’s collection. Borkovec combines old Czech, the genre of small ads, descriptions of crimes and criminals, pop-song lyrics, old natural-history books and Czech textbooks, fables in the manner of Aesop, bad translations requiring editing, the gutter press in its printed, electronic and televisual forms, and popular advertising journalism. A Herbarium for Something Worse is thus made up of ingenious variations, parodies and cultivated offshoots as well as genetic mutations of well-researched forms of expression.
“Here we find a meta-collection with the most refined feeling for language, the sound of words and the melody of verse, with a sense of humour and playfulness, the deadly combinatorics of the old-fashioned with its elegant patina and the modern and slightly distasteful.”
“Petr Borkovec’s new collection provides an original perspective on a world in which everyone wants to write and speak but no-one wants to listen and understand. In A Herbarium for Something Worse, classic verse meets the names of insects and porn stars, and the poet as a creator of poetics shows us how our own language continually betrays us.”