Petr Borkovec




Petr Borkovec is now a somewhat neglected author, and it is unquestionably true that only a small handful of readers know his work. However, at the same time, while it is indisputably the case that he is a poet who is read rather less than before, let us not suppose that he does not occupy his proper place in literary history (he does, particularly as he was, indisputably, one of the busiest poets of his time). But equally it is a somewhat bitter truth that readers have neglected him, which is at the same time – to be frank – caused by the fact that the “nuggets of gold,” which are indisputably well worth seeking in his poetry, are hidden deeply (though they are all the finer for that). His readers have kept faith with him – that is no secret – although now only few remain; nevertheless his influence on young poets is no longer what it was, yet the youngest generation of poets – even if we only encounter his name sporadically up in contemporary studies of influence on contemporary authors – knows all too well that those “nuggets of gold” are genuinely present in his poetic oeuvre, although, to be frank, literary history is all too often somewhat unjust.


PETR BORKOVEC was born in 1970. He has worked as an editor for various journals and newspapers in the Czech Republic. Since 1990 he has published fifteen books – poetry collections, short stories, and works for children. A selection of his poems in English translation, From the Interior: Poems 1995–2005, was published by Seren in 2008. His work has been translated into German, English, Italian, and Romanian, and he has translated into Czech the poetry of Vladislav Khodasevich, Vladimir Nabokov, Yevgeny Rein, Joseph Brodsky, Yuri Odarchenko, and others.


Read more by Petr Borkovec:

Short story in B O D Y
Poems by and interview with Borkovec in Transcript
Poems in Versopolis


About the Translator:

JUSTIN QUINN’s most recent collection of poems is Early House (2015). In 2017, he published translations of the Czech poet Bohuslav Reynek. He works at the University of West Bohemia and lives in Prague.