Miroslav Holub (1923-98) was the Czech Republic’s most important poet, and also one of her leading immunologists. His Poems Before & After: Collected English Translations (Bloodaxe Books, 1990/2006) covers thirty years of his poetry. Before are his poems from the fifties and sixties, poems written before the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia: first published in English in his Penguin Selected Poems (1967) and in Bloodaxe's The Fly (1987), with some additional poems. After are translations of his later poetry, all written after 1968, including not only those from his two Bloodaxe editions, On the Contrary (1984) and Supposed to Fly (1996), but also the entire texts of two late collections published by Faber, Vanishing Lung Syndrome (1990) and The Rampage (1997). Supposed to Fly – now out of print in its original edition – was an entertaining, illustrated gathering of poems with some prose interruptions drawn from his native city of Plzen, perhaps better known, for its world-famous beer, by its German name of Pilsen. Bloodaxe also publishes The Jingle Bell Principle, a book of Holub's prose pieces.
Books by Miroslav Holub