While the first installment of the anthology Nejlepší české básně (Best Czech Poems) strived to point out that noteworthy Czech poetry continues to be written these days, this year’s second volume eschews reticence and sets out on an adventurous exploration of various guises of poems as such.
This collection once again poses a simple yet fundamental question – what constitutes poetry these days? Whether the volume Best Czech Poems answers this query is up to the reader. In any case, it presents wide-ranging forms which poetry can morph into: poems in regular four-verse stanzas, lengthy protracted sections, elliptical vignettes and texts that at first glance do not even resemble poems and in spite of this, we assume that they are.
Nejlepší české básně 2010 (Best Czech Poems 2010) could perhaps best be perceived as a “story of poetry”, which is devoid of moral lessons and “only” delivers a singular, personal almost physical experience…
The publishing intention itself elicited a wide array of mixed reactions. Following the publication of the volume, nevertheless, the response was entirely positive. For instance the critic Jan Štolba wrote: “Where to start? For instance: I have to say that the anthology Best Czech Poems is truly an accomplished work. Or: Even if you don’t read poetry, get hold of this collection at least, for god’s sake! Or: What if there was more of the concise but quality poetry…Or perhaps: Respect is due to the editors!”