The Poetry of Jaroslav Seifert

Front Cover
Catbird Press, 1998 - Poetry - 255 pages
In 1984, Jaroslav Seifert (1901-1986) was the first Czech to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. Although Seifert lived through the many historic turns of his homeland, his was not a political poetry, except in its constant expression of love for his homeland, its beauties and its values. He was the great poet of Prague, of love, of the senses. His work was unpretentious, lyrical yet irreverent, earthy, charming. Seifert was known for the simplicity of his verse, yet his poems are full of surprises, never what at first they seem. They are marked by imagery that is beautiful or comical, by good, deep values, and by love in all its forms. This is a collection of poetry written throughout his life.
 

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The poetry of Jaroslav Seifert

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Nobel prize-winning poet Seifert, who died in 1986 at the age of 85, was and remains as popular among the Czech people as movie stars are among Americans. Though he spoke out throughout his lifetime ... Read full review

Contents

Pronunciation Guide
9
CITY IN TEARS Mto v slzdch 1921
28
Moscow
34
Wet Picture
40
Funeral Under My Window
46
THE HANDS OF VENUS Ruce Venusiny 1936
48
A HELMETFUL OF EARTH Pnlba hliny 1945
55
Lovers those evening pilgrims
61
A Garland on the Wrist
137
Berthe Soucaret
143
A Prospect of Prague
150
Struggle with the Angel
156
The Royal Pavilion
162
Four Small Windows
169
TO BE A POET Byti bdsnikem 1983
175
Verses from an Old Tapestry
190

A Song at the End
69
Once only
78
THE PLAGUE COLUMN Morovy sloup 1978
80
Canal Gardens
88
The Plague Column
95
MerryGoRound with White Swan
105
The Model
111
In an Empty Room
117
Autobiography
123
Silence Full of Sleighbells
130
View from Charles Bridge
198
Demolition Report
206
The Schoolboy and the Prostitute 272
212
Publication of My Third Book
219
May 1945
232
A Meeting After the War
238
Glossary of Names and Places
247
Notes to Introduction
253
Copyright

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About the author (1998)

Jaroslav Seifert was born in Prague, Czech Republic on September 23, 1901. His first book of poetry, City of Tears, was published in 1921. At that time, he became an editor of communist newspapers and magazines while also working at the communist publishing house and bookstore. From 1930, he served in various editorial posts within the social democratic press. During the German occupation, he was editor of the daily Národní Práce and after 1945, of the trade-union daily Práce. During the years 1945-1948, he edited the literary monthly Kytice. After he was forced to leave journalism in 1949, he turned his focus to literature. He wrote in an unaffected, down-to-earth style about the everyday concerns and emotions of common people. His early works reflected his interest in the Russian Revolution, dadaism, and surrealism. Later, he rejected Soviet communism and wrote poetry that protested the conquest of his homeland. His works include On the Waves of T.S.F., The Nightingale Sings Badly, Put Out the Lights, Robed in Light, and A Helmetful of Earth. In addition to writing about 30 volumes of poetry, he contributed to several journals and wrote children's literature. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1984. He died from a heart ailment on January 10, 1986.

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