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Product Details

$20.00  $18.60
Twisted Spoon Press
Publish Date
6.06 X 7.52 X 0.61 inches | 0.66 pounds

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About the Author

Karel Hynek Macha was born on November 16, 1810 in an old part of Prague where his father was the foreman at one of the city's mills. At school he learned Latin and German, the two languages approved by the Hapsburg authorities, and later studied law at Prague University. His great model was Byron, with whom he shared a romantic idealism, wandering the Bohemian countryside to visit castle ruins, always making sketches and notes describing the natural beauty surrounding him. Influenced by the Czech intellectuals who were trying to revive the language at the beginning of the nineteenth century, Macha wrote May and many of his poems in Czech (though his early writing was in German, the compulsory language of his education). In this way he identified himself with the Byronic hero who gives his life to a cause. Macha died of pneumonia on November 5, 1836 just shy of his 26th birthday.
Jindřich Styrský (1899-1942) was a painter, poet, editor, photographer, and collagist. His outstanding and varied oeuvre included numerous book covers and illustrations. He also wrote studies of both Rimbaud and Marquis de Sade. He became a member of Devetsil in 1923, participating in their group exhibitions. Between 1928-29 he was director of the group's drama wing, the "Liberated Theater," and he was also an active editor. In addition to his Edition 69 series, he edited the Erotic Review which he launched in 1930, and Odeon. He was a founding member of The Surrealist Group of Czechoslovakia.
Marcela Sulak is the author of three collections of poetry, most recently Decency (Black Lawrence Press, 2015), and her essays have appeared in The Iowa Review, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Rattle, and various anthologies. She's translated four collections of poetry: Orit Gidali from Israel, Karel Hynek Mácha and K.J. Erben from Hapsburg Bohemia, and Mutombo Nkulu-N'Sengha from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Some of these have been performed in the Prague National Theater and in Warsaw, and have been used as subtitles for films. She is an editor at The Ilanot Review and Tupelo Quarterly, and hosts the weekly radio podcast Israel in Translation at TLV.1. She directs the Shaindy Rudoff Graduate Program in Creative Writing at Bar-Ilan University outside of Tel Aviv, where she teaches American literature, hybridity, documentary poetics, prosody, and literary translation.


To my mind the most modern Czech poem is K.H. Macha's May. -- Jindrich Styrsky
Marcela Sulak has beautifully maintained the same style of poetic language as Macha, with the use of the dash to represent silence and time lapse. Sulak's Introduction is also informative for the non-reader of Czech and fairly explains the difficulties in maintaining a true English parallel to the original. -- Slavic and East European Journal
Many works of art and literature are beloved because they are linked inextricably to the culture and age from which they sprang. [...] Macha's "May" seems to fit both categories: Stylistically, it has no real precedent in Czech literature, and yet over the past two centuries it has taken a central place in the hearts and minds of [Czechs] as the crowning achievement of Czech Romanticism. That fact is reason enough to read the poem. Marcela Sulak's skillful, sensitive translation of Macha's groundbreaking language is another. --The Prague Post