By Pavel Šrut
Translated from Czech by Deborah Garfinkle
Pavel Šrut's Worm-Eaten Time collects the seminal work of one of the Czech Republic's most important living poets, in an award-winning translation by Deborah H. Garfinkle.
Publication Date: 2016-03-08
With dark humor and surprising tenderness, Šrut's Soviet-banned masterpiece is an elegy for Šrut's fallen homeland, written in the months following the Soviet invasion. An essential addition to the canon of twentieth-century banned literature, his work as a poet testifies to the power of poetry and the human spirit that can overcome the forces that would silence an individual's will to speak the truth.
Pavel Šrut (b. 1940) is an award-winning poet, essayist, writer and translator who belongs to the generation of post-war Czech writers whose voices gained prominence in the flowering of Prague Spring, voices silenced by censorship in the aftermath of the 1968 Soviet Invasion of Czechoslovakia. Šrut earned the Jaroslav Seifert Award in 2000 and the Czech PEN Club's Karel Capek Prize for lifetime achievement in literature in 2012. Aside from being a poet, rock lyricist and translator, Šrut is also a celebrated writer of children’s literature. He lives in Prague, Czech Republic, where he was named Czech Writer Laureate for 2015.
Deborah Helen Garfinkle is a writer, poet, and translator whose criticism, translations, and creative writing have appeared in literary reviews and journals in the US and abroad. Worm-Eaten Time is Garfinkle's second full-length translation from the Czech, and its translation won her a Literary Translation Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and a PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grant. Her first book, The Old Man's Verses: Poems by Ivan Diviš, was nominated for the 2008 Northern California Book Award. She lives in San Francisco.
“Ghosts were easier to contemplate than flesh and blood. Less complicated. Less present. I could consult books and the experts without any need to make it personal. So I continued to become an expert on ghosts, ignoring what had been staring me right in the face. That is until Pavel Šrut handed me one of his two copies of Červotočivé svĕtlo"
—Deborah Garfinkle, Remembering Pavel Šrut's Worm-Eaten Light
“Banned in the Soviet Union for its celebration of individuality in the face of assimilation, this book depicts the loneliness of sameness and the fear of erasure experienced under totalitarianism. Haunting and beautiful, Pavel Šrut’s lyric style expresses both the hollowness of loss and the vitality of forbidden preservation.”
—World Literature Today