Ivan Blatný

Poet, son of the writer Lev Blatný (1894-1930). Born in Brno, he spent the first part of his life here – before escaping into exile in 1948. He lived in a house...

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František Halas

Poet, translator and publicist, Brno born, spent his childhood and youth here. He learned the bookseller’s trade from A. Píša and for a brief period (1919–1921)...

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Oldřich Mikulášek

Poet and publicist. Lived in Brno from 1937 until his death, latterly at Mášova street. He is linked to several cultural institutions (the Brno studios of Czechoslovak...

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Jaroslav Seifert

Poet, publicist, memoirist. The first – and so far the only Czech to receive the Nobel prize for Literature. In addition to the lasting popularity he won through...

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Jan Skácel

Poet, writer, editor and translator. Spent most of his life in Brno and is closely linked to a number of Brno cultural institutions (the magazine Host do domu...

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Vít Slíva

Poet and schoolteacher. His connection to Brno dates back to his university days. Apart from one interlude, he has been living to this day at Poděbradova street....

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Places (in alphabetical order)

Milan Ohnisko


Poet, journalist and publishing editor. Born in Brno, where he prematurely left grammar school, and a year later, secondary librarian training school. He made his living as a construction worker, storeman etc.; he was a signatory of Charter 77. After 1989, he ran his own publishing house ‘G’ (later renamed Ohnisko, which happens to mean a focal point).
Since the turn of the millennium he has been working closely with the publishing house Petrov (later Druhé město - the Second City), as a freelance editor and the editor of Tvar (since 2012 as deputy editor-in-chief). He started publishing his poems in samizdat and in the exile journal Listy. His debut was the collection Obejmi démona (Embrace the demon) (2001), followed by several others.  His poetry is characterized by a rational-glossary tone, not short of irony, sarcasm, and self-irony.  Brno is ever present in his verses.

The author and the places of his/her poems

Husovice, Tomkovo náměstí (Tomek Square) Maloměřice (by the weir)

The poem and the place

7 November 2001

On Tomek square
an old lady shat standing:
she tends to stand like that
not stinking too low 

Boys shout abuse at her
the cops leave her be 
upright citizens show disdain
and I greet her courteously

On the news-stand radio
I heard tell of a mother
who had a daughter
aged three
that she burned with a cigarette:
the doctors treated the child
returned her to maternal care

At the river two Romulenes
were sniffing a tin
labelled TOLUENE

and much more
enlivened my

                                                translated by Václav Pinkava

Ohnisko, Milan: Vepřo zelo zlo aneb Uršulinovi dnové (Pork-n-cabbage stodge aka Predickted days), Brno: Petrov 2003, pp. 72-73.


Jiří Trávníček  -   travnicek@ucl.cas.cz
Michal Fránek  -   franek@ucl.cas.cz

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