Milan Ohnisko

Old Pop

Starej pop
Starej pop
Druhé město, 2021, 92 pp
Language: Czech
Genre: Poetry
ISBN: 9788072274482
Foreign rights
Druhé město publishers
Goodreads rating

A collection of refreshing, playful and gently ironic lyric poems which combine a wry smile at the absurdity of life with melancholic meditations on human fate, desires and the evanescence of dreams.

The collection Old Pop creatively develops the legacy of postmodern poetry, though without the need for radical gestures aimed at dismantling the canonical texts and the so-called great narratives. It “merely” reveals the mechanisms of a “great narrative” of literature, which has not always been great in the sense of admirable. That is why the poet makes it clear that he doesn’t take poetry deadly seriously, but rather views it much more as a game – an enjoyable play on words, ideas, images, fragments of literary traditions and allusions to historical styles.

In this collection, poetry appears to be a message from the old world, though it does not invite us to escape from the modern world, but rather seeks to enrich and enliven the world we inhabit through a liberating use of the imagination and musing over the patina of archaic words. The distinctive atmosphere of the collection is also due to the poet’s ability to sketch out a fragment of a story within a concise piece of text which has the potential to be expanded into a short story or even a novel. The fates of the bizarre characters created by Ohnisko in this way are, however, only roughly outlined, leaving the reader to flesh them out using their own imagination.


“Ohnisko’s new book provides a special form of pleasure: it hovers precisely between what we earnestly seek out in poetry and what it manages to do to us insidiously without even being asked. […] It will make us smile – either knowingly or nervously or even in guilty recognition: the poet takes delight in exposing the innards of our little lives to the light; he has always done so, and on this occasion he is just a little more capricious.”

— A2

About the author:

Milan Ohnisko (1965) is a poet, publishing and magazine editor and cultural commentator who was a dissident and signatory of Charter 77 during Normalization. In 1981 he left high school early and he also failed to complete his studies in librarianship, after which he was employed in various ancillary jobs. After the Velvet Revolution in 1989, he established his own publishing firm and bookshop in Brno. For a number of years he worked as a publishing editor. He now lives in Prague and is deputy editor-in-chief of the literary fortnightly journal Tvar. He published his first poems in the 1980s in samizdat editions. He has written several collections of poetry. A comprehensive collection of his poetry from the period 1985–2012 was brought out by the Czech publishing house Barrister & Principal under the title Oh!

Language: Czech
Title: Starej pop
Publisher: Druhé město
Year: 2021
Pages: 92
Genre: Poetry