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Walls
by Vladimír Holan
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ISBN: 9781845495633
Format: softback
127 x 203 mm
(5 x 8 inches)
Pages: 124
Imprint: arima
Cover Price: £8.99
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Walls
 
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  • Description

Through all the changes in direction of Holan's life and work, the word wall took on an immense breadth of meaning to him. He chose the epigraph "thy walls are always before my eyes" from the prophet Isaiah to refl ect the sensory boundaries of the body and the boundaries of existence. Th is book is an anthology of Holan's poems connected by the central motif of a wall or walls.

The walls of creation, the walls of words that open to vision and hearing, are dramatically rendered in small poetic portraits (Keats and Homer) and in certain echoes or responses to the poetry of, for instance, Rainer Maria Rilke and William Shakespeare, revealing a dimension in his poetry of conversations with poets he admires.

In Holan's open universe, he makes a diffi cult search for the meaning of art and poetry in the the catastrophes of modern history, during World War II and aft er. A wall, so concrete, can carry a metaphor of ascension, be a threshold to and articulate a poetic vision that transcends time and space: "And sometimes, a face bending down appeared, / which was spurning time so magnifi cently / that it looked like a hole in the wall of Paradise, / plugged up by the bottom of an angel…"

The wall also becomes that special place between there and here, as if it were shedding as a wall fl akes off lime, time between something and nothing, when he writes of "A beautiful limy wall, which is mirrored in dung water …" Holan's poetry bursts through to the miraculous.

Translation from Czech by Josef Tomáš
Illustrations by Jáchym Šerých

 
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