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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Places (in alphabetical order)

Stanislav Kostka Neumann

1875  –  1947

Poet, writer, publicist, cultural and social promoter; left his mark on Czech literature chiefly as a poet. He explored many trends – anarchic individualism, naturism, civilism, proletarian poetry. In 1893 in the Omladina young rebels trial, sentenced to 14 months in jail. In 1904 moved to Vienna for a time, from where he returned to Řečkovice near Brno (Hapalova street no. 5), then to Bílovice nad Svitavou (Husova street no. 5), where he spent a decade with his second wife: He had been driven out of Řečkovice for slovenly conduct (living in concubinage and being a ruffian). Bílovice was where he penned his most well-known collection on nature Kniha lesů, vod a strání  (The book of woods, waters, and hillsides, 1914) and its prose pendant S městem za zády (With the town at my back, 1922). During his time in Bílovice he contributed to several local periodicals – Lidové noviny, Moravský kraj etc. Bílovice was also the venue for his arty friends’ gatherings. 

The author and the places of his/her poems

The poem and the place

Na Skalkách

Na Skalkách is where I stopped, was standing, 
having followed birdsong in the lanes.
My seas’ shallow gently rippling banding  
mirroring the sky’s young laughing strains.

Na Skalkách the wind was rising lightly 
skipping over boulders white and grey.
Russet fish of Spring, March-forged and sprightly 
in Šumbera, or down Hády way …

Satisfied, I felt my blood pulse rising, 
A favourable wind! Be what may be!
My ship sailed this morning, enterprising,
plumed with crests of azure pageantry.

On the masts the pennants are a-vying 
like so many emerald butterflies.
Over mossy decks bird flocks are flying.
We, drunk on the sea’s breath, hypnotized.

By the ship’s wheel stands, all laughs and daring, 
brother Rimbaud, quite a lad all right.
At my inland sea he swears, declaring
that for that he’d have to lose his sight.

But, once having launched, set off a-sailing,
we will come to terms, all will be well.
Well before the sky fades, evening-paling,
we say literature can go to hell.


                                             translated by Václav Pinkava

Neumann, Stanislav Kostka: Kniha lesů, vod a strání (The book of woods, waters and hillsides). Praha: SNKLHU 1955, pp. 61–62.


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

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