A collection of poetry where existential images of people today mingle with messages from ancient times.
This unsettled, fragmentary collection divided into five sections is an image of the restless, incomplete and disconnected nature of a confused and lost world. The central section is the eponymous seven-part poem filled with scraps of speech, announcements and appeals. The composition of the collection is based on the recurring motif of moving, putting down and lifting objects, as well as on the motifs of everyday endeavours – the painful and laborious effort to force oneself on a little further – which are so characteristic of Hruška’s poetic. Surprisingly, however, there is a new motif in Hruška’s latest collection: an allusion to obscure fragments of ancient clay tablets in an integrated series of nine poems entitled “Hliněná tabulka” (The Clay Tablet). The missing passages in them are destroyed, broken, illegible, fragmentary, unfinished, damaged… It’s just as well that filling in the gaps in stories is second nature to humans and that incompleteness has its appeal.
“One of the key themes in Hruška’s new collection is finding oneself. Those who inhabit his poems are constantly finding themselves in a typically Hruška-esque state of anxiety in unexpected situations and in various places, suddenly deprived of a sense of stability.”
“Hruška has rapidly matured in his sensitivity to the ambiguity and uncertainty of today’s world. The poems in this new collection are not the result of a poetic epiphany, as was customary for the poet, but are built up in layers from snippets and glimpses of ordinary life and ‘commonplace’ everyday conflicts, which are then reflected upon using images.”
About the author:
Petr Hruška (b. 1964) is a leading Czech poet and literary scholar. He was born and lives in Ostrava, where he regularly organises reading nights in the Les absinth club. He works for the Czech Literature Institute of the Academy of Sciences as an expert in post-1945 Czech poetry. He taught Czech literature in turns at Masaryk University in Brno and at the University of Ostrava. He is the author of many collections of poems published since 1995. In 1998, he was awarded the Czech-German Dresden Lyrics Prize and in 2009 the Jan Skácel Prize, which once every three years is awarded to the author of an outstanding Czech work of poetry which builds on the best tradition and spirit of Moravian poetry. In 2013, he won the highest Czech literary award, the State Prize for Literature, for his collection Darmata (Petty Tragedies, 2012). His poems have been translated into many European languages and books of his selected poems have been published in Germany, Poland, Italy, Hungary and Slovenia.