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)

Otakar Štěpánek


Poet, columnist. Born in Brno, where he studied at the textile industrial high school, then worked as a textile technician and in the health sector. He published in various magazines, and wrote feuilletons for the radio. His debut collection was Každý den se něco děje / Something happens every day (1988), followed by another four – most recently in 2018 (Mým sestřičkám / To my sisters).  His poetry moves between Prévert and poetism, very much connected to strolling around the city, looking out for magic moments in the day-to-day. A great number of his poems are to do with his beloved Husovice district, in particular its river – the Svitava (cf his collection Moje řeka / My river, 2016).

The author and the places of his/her poems

Husovice (church) Husovice, Svitava riverbank

The poem and the place


Where the spike of Husovice church 
picks at the seams of a blue sky 
like the ring-finger raised to heaven 
of a long-engaged girl 
enveloped by the golden ring of the square 
there I grasp essential humanity 
raised up to the sky 
as much as 
buried in the earth

I sometimes believe 
even a spike 
can cast a shadow 
a shadow
in which you can hide yourself 
hide in a cosy wine bar 
but also the broad smile 
of Jiří
who will ask your preference 
with a certain appeal 

And just as in the stables 
out of the stalls peek 
the noble heads of horses 
so just for me 
the wine-taps stand proud
plainly outspoken

ringing with mirth the Traminer 
nuzzling with its bouquet the Moravian Prachtraube 
and after the Veltliner 
the goes-with-fish Chardonnay 
amid Rieslings
and I give in to Moravia’s land

                                                    to the arbiter Jiří Čížek

Štěpánek, Otakar: Vlčice (The She-Wolf), Brno: Větrné mlýny 2007, pp. 210-211.


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

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