In 1984, Jaroslav Seifert (1901-1986) was the first Czech to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. "Endowed with freshness, sensuality, and rich inventiveness," the Nobel Committee stated, Seifert's poetry "provides a liberating image of the indomitable spirit and versatility of man. . . . He conjures up another world than that of tyranny and desolation — a world that exists both here and now . . . one that exists in our dreams and our will and our art."
Milan Kundera on Seifert:
"In 1969, when the Russian horror was battering the country . . . [t]his little nation,
trampled and doomed — how could it possibly justify its existence?
There before us was the justification: the poet, heavy, with his crutches leaning
against the table; the poet, the tangible expression of the nation’s genius."
"Seifert's three great subjects are the beauties of women, art, and his nation. He characteristically
celebrates all three within a single poem, although his perpetually thrilled adoration
of women registers most powerfully and most winsomely. Perhaps Keats,
had he lived to old age, would have become such a poet."
"These are simply marvelous poems ... What I find truly valuable about Osers' translations ...
is the way he renders the surprising variety of Seifert's images, and the way that he catches
the breathtaking suddenness of the poet's coiled metaphors."
—New York Press
Although Seifert lived through the many historic turns of his homeland, his was not a political poetry, except in its constant expression of love for his country, its beauties and its values. He was the great poet of Prague, of love, of the senses. His work was unpretentious, lyrical yet irreverent, earthy, charming. Seifert was known for the simplicity of his verse, yet his poems are full of surprises, never what at first they seem. They are marked by imagery that is beautiful or comical, by good, deep values, and by love in all its forms. This is a collection of poetry written throughout his life, but focused on the later years.
$14.95 paper, 255 pages, ISBN 0-945774-39-7. Also available as an e-book.