Pavel Šrut’s Worm-Eaten Time, in an award-winning translation by Deborah H. Garfinkle, introduces the seminal work of one of the most important living Czech poets to an English-speaking audience for the first time. With dark humor and surprising tenderness, Šrut’s Soviet-banned masterpiece is an essential addition to the canon of twentieth century banned literature.
Worm-Eaten Time is an elegy for Šrut’s fallen homeland, written in the months following the Soviet invasion. After the work was banned, Šrut ceased writing poetry for over a decade, feeling that poetry itself had become meaningless in the face of occupation. Ultimately, the need to speak won out and Šrut began writing again, publishing unofficially in various publications.
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“Banned in the Soviet Union for its celebration of individuality in the face of assimilation, this book depicts the loneliness of sameness and the fear of erasure experienced under totalitarianism. Haunting and beautiful, Pavel Šrut’s lyric style expresses both the hollowness of loss and the vitality of forbidden preservation.”