by Pavel Šrut
translated from the 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. 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 in 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. 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. 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.
Deborah Helen Garfinkle is a writer, poet, and translator living in San Francisco. Her criticism, translations, and creative writing have appeared in literary reviews and journals in the US and abroad. Worm-Eaten Time: Poems from a Life under Normalization by Pavel Šrut 1968-1989 is Garfinkle’s second full-length translation from the Czech. 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.
Cover art by Jaya Nicely