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Petr Borkovec zur tschechischen Lyrik der letzten zwanzig Jahre

Posted in Autoren / poets, country portrait, Länderporträt, our network partners, Petr Borkovec by lyrikline on 1. November 2017

Petr Borkovec (*1970) ist ein weit über Tschechien hinaus geschätzter Dichter. Wir kennen ihn, seit er 2004 als Gast des Berliner Künstlerprogramm des DAAD nach Berlin kam. Fast genauso so lange kann man seine Gedichte schon auf lyrikline hören; nun um 5 neue, 2017 aufgenommene Gedichte erweitert.

Foto: Dirk Skiba

Petr organisiert in Prag die Lesungen des Café Fra und war u.a. Kurator der deutsch-tschechischen Lyrik-Reihe Im Hier und Jetzt des Goethe-Institut Prag. Er hat einen exzellenten Überblick über aktuelle Poesie und 2012 einen lesenswerten Essay zur tschechischen Lyrik der letzten 20 Jahre geschrieben, den es inzwischen auch in deutscher Übersetzung gibt. Wir danken unserem tschechischen Lyrikline-Partner für den Hinweis auf diesen Essay und dem Autor und dem Goethe-Institut Prag dafür, dass wir ihn hier veröffentlichen dürfen. (Den tschechischen Originaltext findet man unterhalb der deutschen Übersetzung.)

Die Begegnung mit den Arbeiten eines jungen Dichters lässt den Lyriker Petr Borkovec über die tschechische Lyrik der letzten zwanzig Jahre nachdenken.

Heute habe ich einen Brief mit Gedichten bekommen, von einem Autor, der 1990 geboren wurde. Die Gedichte sind, glaube ich, gut, einige sind mir sehr nahe, bestimmt werde ich was davon drucken. Der Dichter wurde in dem Jahr geboren, in dem ich mein erstes Buch veröffentlicht habe. Beide sind also gleichalt. Es wäre so schön, sage ich mir, wenn ich seine Lyrik überhaupt nicht verstünde, spüren würde, wie fern sie mir in jeder Hinsicht ist, und gleichzeitig von ihr fasziniert wäre, ihr verfiele. Doch das passiert nicht. Ich lese sie, wähle aus, sortiere, ordne, einige Gedichte lege ich beiseite. Entweder ist aus mir ein literarischer Routinier geworden (was wahrscheinlich ist) oder die tschechische Lyrik hat sich in den letzten zwanzig Jahren nicht allzu sehr verändert.
Ich weiß es nicht. Normalerweise denke ich darüber nicht nach.

Vor zwanzig Jahren…

Kein Dichter hat hier in diesen zwanzig Jahren literarisch Revolution gemacht und die tschechische Dichtung in eine unerwartete und unerforschte Richtung gewendet, das ist wahr. Aber wollte das jemand? (more…)

Klinika closure: Prague’s poets protest – statements by Jáchym Topol and Adam Borzič

Posted in Adam Borzič, Jáchym Topol, Jonáš Hájek, our network partners by lyrikline on 9. March 2016

We would like to raise your awareness to current happenings and a heated debate in Prague where the social and cultural centre Klinika is threatened with closure. Authorities refused to extend their lease of an old building  that once was a sanatorium for consumptives. Over the last year the Klinika activist group breathed new life into the old premises by organising cultural events and providing aid for homeless people, migrants and refugees, supported by many volunteers. klinikaIn the last days and weeks hundreds and thousands of Prague’s citizens spoke out against the closure in demonstrations and events organised to support the centre.

More than 30 Czech writers wrote an open letter to support Klinika, among them many poets, e.g. Jáchym Topol and Jonáš Hájek. They organised readings to support the centre. We think that support and solidarity for Klinika is important also beyond Prague and the Czech Republic so we hope this reaches out to many people and places. We are happy that the poets Jáchym Topol and Adam Borzič wrote us some lines about their thoughts and the situation which we can post here in English thanks to @olga_pek.

The poets’ statements:

The Klinika Autonomous Social Centre in Prague is a centre of volunteer help on many levels – from regular shipments of clothes and necessities to refugees and the Zdrojovna (“Sourcing Room”) freeshop, to a homeless kitchen, pre-school kids centre, foreign language school (including Czech as a foreign language) as well as a cultural hub (hosting readings and lectures). It came into being about a year ago, in an outstanding feat of public involvement across the Czech society. Klinika is run exclusively on the basis to civic cooperation and volunteering, with no financial donations or grants either from the state or private companies. While in state ownership, the premises of the former clinic have been dilapidating for many years before the Klinika collective managed to breath a new life into it. Since then it has become the symbolic lungs and heart of the Czech civic society.
Now, after a year of exemplary functioning, during which Klinika successfully won the support of the majority of publicly involved citizens, the state authorities have refused to extend Klinika’s lease contract, citing several bureaucratic obstacles. This comes only a few weeks after an attack by right-wing extremists on Klinika, which took place on the same day that saw demonstrations in Prague both for and against migration. It is precisely as a symbol of the civic society extending help to refugees that Klinika became a target of the ultra-right-wing hooligans.
Many NGO’s and individuals, including those coming from the progressive part of the political representation, have pledged their support to Klinika. Over 30 Czech writers have expressed their support for Klinika in an open letter, many of them well-known poets and authors of fiction. Despite that, the Autonomous centre has been called upon to evacuate the premises. The collective decided to occupy the space and is now trying to negotiate with the authorities.
It seems obvious that the attack on Klinika, launched by the state authorities, is politically motivated and serves especially those who peddle xenophobic and fascist inclinations and populism. Clearly, Klinika seems bothersome because it stands for a non-market, humanistic and communitarian approach to life. This is one of the reasons why many of us, Czech poets, support the Autonomous centre.
Adam Borzič

Having worked for a year in order to foster conditions where local culture and refugee help would blossom, the volunteers from Klinika centre were attacked by a fascist commando.
The public officers who now refuse to arrange the legal adjustments necessary for Klinika to keep working not only harm a good cause, but also in fact assist in moving the Czech Republic further to the East, somewhere into the “Putinzone” and in close proximity of attempts at a total control of the society.
Jáchym Topol

This video was shot by Ondřej Mazura at a Klinika event last weekend and shows a reading of poet Adam Borzič in the occupied building.

We at lyrikline and Literaturwerkstatt Berlin (Haus für Poesie) support Klinika and hope they will be able to continue their humanitarian and cultural work for a tolerant society. We wish all the protesters who stand united perseverance and, finally,  success!

We ask for your solidarity, for example by spreading the news or signing the petiton (see below).

Further links:
Online Petition against the closure
Klinika on Facebook in Czech and in English



Movement in Czech literature

Posted in Jaromír Typlt, Kateřina Rudčenková, our network partners, Radek Malý by lyrikline on 28. December 2014

Right before the end of this year we invite you to take a look at what’s going on in the Czech poetry world. Internationally, not very much has been heard of Czech poetry in the last years. At least two developments will certainly do their bit to change this.


Jaromír Typlt

First of all, and sort of household news, we started a partnership for lyrikline in the Czech Republic this year and are happy to publish the first three poets resulting from this partnership. Enjoy the poetry of Jaromír Typlt, Kateřina Rudčenková, and Radek Malý. Moreover, a group of about 30 Czech poets and writers founded a Writers’ Association at the end of November 2014 in Prague. The founders of this organisation were discontent with the current professional organisation, the Writers‘ Guild, and felt it had failed to defend the interests of writers. The new association aims to strengthen the Czech literature landscape as a whole, to be a credible partner in negotiations with government institutions, and to establish international collaborations. More Czech writers are expected to join the new organisation. Already among them are the poets Adam Borzič, Ondřej Hanus, Ondřej Buddeus, Božena Správcová, and Jonáš Hájek. Read more about the newly founded Writers’ Association on CzechLit. And here’s a German language radio feature of Radio Prague about the new group.