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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Brno

Places (in alphabetical order)

Jaroslav Seifert

1901  –  1986

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 his verse, often admired by readers who have no great affinity to poetry, Jaroslav Seifert earned respect as a public figure, willing to speak out and take action at times of great national strife, e.g. while heading the Svaz spisovatelů (‘Writers Guild’) after the Soviet occupation in 1968 or as signatory of Charter 77. While being as a poet closely linked to Prague, he reminisced throughout his life about his short sojourn in Brno in the 1920s, working as an editor in the Rovnost (‘Equality’) daily and making friends with Jiří Mahen and his poetic contemporaries, as we can read in “Věř, za nic bychom nestáli” (‘Trust, we would not be worth a thing’) and “Na juliánovských lukách...” (‘In the Julian fields’). 

The author and the places of his/her poems

Juliánov Koliště (Koliště Street)


The poem and the place



In the Julian Fields...

We used to lie in the Julian Fields sometimes,
in the evening,
while the city disappeared in darkness
and in the backwaters of a nearby river,
frogs started crying.

Once a young gypsy came and sat with us.
Her blouse was only half-buttoned
and she could tell your fortune by looking at your hand.
She told Halas:
        You won’t live to see fifty.
She told Artus Cernik:
        You won’t live much after that.
I didn’t want my fortune told.
I was afraid.

But she grabbed my hand anyway
and rasped in an angry voice:
        You’ll live a long time!
That was her revenge.
And my curse.

                             translated by Lyn Coffin
 


Seifert, Jaroslav: Morový sloup -The Plague Monument, Washington: SVU Press, 1980, p. 29.


 



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