The book draws on work from his five collections in Czech and the work focuses variously on the natural world and on human relationships, though viewed through the objects with which people surround themselves. Borkovec’s poems document the period of upheaval in Czecholovakia, in Prague and its surrounding towns. Quietly and concisely with precise observation and apparently by simple means, he sharpens the reader’s eye for moments and situations in everyday life. Critics testify that he mastered the traditional techniques of poetry writing to a standard no other Czech writer of his generation can equal, and that he was able very early on to develop his own distinctive language.
Petr Borkovec was born in Louòovice, central Bohemia, in 1970. Since 1992 the poet and arts editor has worked for the arts magazine Souvislosti (Connections) and since 2000 with the literature journal Literární Noviny. As a translator, his interests have been predominantly in Russian poetry (Vladimir Nabokov, Brodsky, Vladislav Chodasevic, Jevgenij Rejn, and Jurij Odarcenko) but together with philologists he has also translated classical Greek drama and Korean poetry.
Translator Justin Quinn was born in Dublin in 1968 and is one the leading Irish poets of his generation. Educated at Trinity College, Dublin, he has published four collections of poetry, most recently Waves & Trees (Gallery, 2006). He has also published two studies of American poetry and his Cambridge Introduction to Modern Irish Poetry, 1800-2000 is forthcoming. He has been the Heimbold Professor of Irish Studies at Villanova University in Pennsylvania. He is an editor of Metre, the Dublin literary magazine. He lives in Prague, where he works at the Charles University.
His elaborately rhyming poems – often sonnets – resemble still lives, precarious momentary shots in which inside and outside come into contact. In this way the world of tangible objects develops a strange, sometimes metaphysical and moribund magic. — Ilma Rakusa