Miroslav Holub 
was born in 1923 in Pilsen and studied science and medicine at Charles University, becoming a pathologist and later research scientist in immu-nology. He is widely known both for his scholar-ly publications and his poetry and essays, having published sixteen collections of poetry and ten books of essays. His Selected Poems were published in the Penguin Modern European Poets series in 1967, Poems Before & After: Collected English Translations in 1990. Intensive Care was published in 1996 and Shedding Life, essays, appeared in 1997. 

Narodil se v roce 1923 v Plzni a vystudoval lékařskou fakultu UK v Praze. Pracoval jako patolog a později jako výzkumný pracovník v oblasti imunologie. Ve světě je známý svými odbornými publikacemi stejně jako svými eseji a poezií, které byly přeloženy do více než třiceti jazyků. Výsledkem několika dlouhodobých pobytů v USA byly esejistické knihy Anděl na kolečkách a Žít v New Yorku a básnická sbírka Beton. Mezi jeho nejvýznamnějsí sbírky patří Ačkoli, Denní služba, Achilles a želva, Takzvané srdce, Zcela nesoustavná zoologie a Interferon čili O divadle


We lay aside 
useless bones, 
ribs of reptiles, 
jawbones of cats, 
the hip-bone of the storm,  
the wish-bone of Fate. 

To prop the growing head 
of Man 
We seek 
a backbone 
that will stay 

The Fly 

She sat on the willow bark 
part of the battle of Crécy, 
the shrieks, 
the moans,  
the wails, 
the trampling and tumbling. 

During the fourteenth charge 
of the French cavalry 
she mated 
with a brown-eyed male fly  
from Vadincourt. 

She rubbed her legs together 
sitting on a disemboweled horse 
on the immortality of flies. 

Relieved she alighted 
on the blue tongue  
of the Duke of Clervaux. 

When silence settled 
and the whisper of decay 
softly circled the bodies 

and just 
a few arms and legs 
twitched under the trees,  

she began to lay her eggs 
on the single eye 
of Johann Uhr, 
the Royal Armorer. 

And so it came to pass – 
she was eaten by a swift 
from the tires of Estrés. 

translated by Stuart Friebert and Dana Hábová


Li Po was glass. 
Kant was glass. 

We observe ourselves like transparent 
sea anemones 
We see the dark purple heart  
we see the grey lungs, wings 
rising and falling, 
we see the oligochaetic 
worms of thought 
gnawing under the cap. 

Linnaeus was glass.  
Mozart was glass. 
Franz Josef was glass. 

In the transparent belly 
we see the tubular moon, 
and behind the crystalline mouth 
the swallowed words. 

A prisoner is glass, 
a policeman is glass, 
sixty glass robots  
reside in the castle. 

Behind the swallowed words 
we see the glass-wool 
of incessant melody. 

Only the dead 
draw the curtain 
from within. 

translated by David Young and Dana Hábová
  19:00  Wednesday 22 April  Franz Kafka Centre  Staroměstské nám. 22, Praha 1 
programme   authors   conversation   exhibitions   acknowledgment
program   autoři   hovory   výstavy   poděkování