Ivan Blatný

Poet, son of the writer Lev Blatný (1894-1930). Born in Brno, he spent the first part of his life here – before escaping into exile in 1948. He lived in a house...

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František Halas

Poet, translator and publicist, Brno born, spent his childhood and youth here. He learned the bookseller’s trade from A. Píša and for a brief period (1919–1921)...

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Oldřich Mikulášek

Poet and publicist. Lived in Brno from 1937 until his death, latterly at Mášova street. He is linked to several cultural institutions (the Brno studios of Czechoslovak...

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Jaroslav Seifert

Poet, publicist, memoirist. The first – and so far the only Czech to receive the Nobel prize for Literature. In addition to the lasting popularity he won through...

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Jan Skácel

Poet, writer, editor and translator. Spent most of his life in Brno and is closely linked to a number of Brno cultural institutions (the magazine Host do domu...

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Vít Slíva

Poet and schoolteacher. His connection to Brno dates back to his university days. Apart from one interlude, he has been living to this day at Poděbradova street....

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Lesná - kaple sv. Antonína (Lesná - Saint Anthony Chapel)

The place and its poets

Zdeněk Rotrekl

Places (in alphabetical order)

Zdeněk Rotrekl

1920  –  2013

Poet, essayist, prose writer and publicist. Born in Brno (the family lived at Obilní trh, later destroyed by World War II bombing), he spent his whole life in Brno apart from the period 1949-1962, when he was imprisoned by the Communist regime in Leopoldov, Jáchymov and elsewhere, and Brno came to be his final resting place. Latterly he’d lived in Židenice and then on Údolní street. His works are integral to the Czech Catholic-inspired literary tradition, inclining to the baroque. Zdeněk Rotrekl was active in the non-communist student movement, during the Prague Spring, and subsequent normalization, when as a dissident and signatory of Charter 77 he contributed to a Catholic samizdat and after the Communist regime fell, he revived the Akord revue and was active in the Obec spisovatelů (Community of Writers). Brno motifs are to be found in his verse and reflectively tinted prose.

The poem and the place

Little Saint Anthony

Little Saint Anthony leads the kids
cord-strung there
around the square    The chestnut plays
and a roofed-over rill

Someone off track spitting sparks
at the turn-balk
around the square
A roofed-over rill
cord-strung there

Then blood will run
when the ground you spike
Or into lovers – right in between you strike

                                                             translated by Václav Pinkava


Rotrekl Zdeněk: Sněhem zaváté vinobraní. Výbor z poezie 1940–1989 (Snow-drifted vintage. Selected poems’ 1940–1989), ed. Jan Trefulka, Brno: Atlantis 1991, p. 179.


Jiří Trávníček  -   travnicek@ucl.cas.cz
Michal Fránek  -   franek@ucl.cas.cz

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