In 1988 American poet and critic David Lehman came up with the idea of publishing annual “best poetry” collections. The success that was soon enjoyed by The Best American Poetry series and similar annual collections in many other countries worldwide, has shown that in spite of declarations that poetry is in crisis due to the lack of interest in it, there are still many good poems, as well as many good readers.
The project launched by Host in 2009 in the Czech Republic has won acclaim both from the critics and readers. The selection of “best” poems is not meant to convey an illusion of objectivity, but rather to present the subjective viewpoint of the editors on poetry in a particular year and poetry in general.
Following the editorial duos Karel Šiktanc and Karel Piorecký (2009), Miloslav Topinka and Jakub Řehák (2010), Petr Král and Jan Štolba (2011) and editor Simona Martínková-Racková (2012), who presented a collection entitled Sto nejlepších českých básní (A Hundred Best Czech Poems), we come back to the tried and trusted principle of two collaborating celebrities. The selection arbitrator is Ivan Wernisch, while additional editorial work and the afterword were contributed by Wanda Heinrichová.
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“It depends how a poem is read. Or: a poem is whatever it is seen as by its reader. Or: a poem is good for anyone who is able to read it as a good poem. These are just wisecracks, funny or otherwise, depending on how they are read.” From the prologue by Ivan Wernisch