Petr Borkovec
Czech Republic
Petr Borkovec was born in Lou?ovice pod Blaníkem in Central Bohemia in 1970. He lives and works as a poet, translator (including Russian poetry and ancient drama) and cultural editor in ?ernošice near Prague. Like no other young poet of his generation, the critics concede his sovereign use of traditional poetic means and early development of a characteristic voice, which represents an independent successor to some of the most important lyric poetry of the 20th century – DIE ZEIT concludes: "This is a young Prague poet of quiet perfection".

In 1995, Petr Borkovec received the acclaimed Ji?í Orten Prize, as well as the Hubert Burda Prize and Norbert C. Kaser Prize in 2002. In 2003, Borkovec was lecturer in poetics at the TU Dresden. Since 1990, he has presented seven volumes of poetry: "Prostírání do tichého" (Expansion into Silence, Prague, 1990), "Pousterna, vestírna, loutkárna" (Hermitage, Place of the Oracle, Doll's Shed, Prague 1991), "Ochoz" (Dealings, Prague, 1994), "Mezi oknem, stolem a postelí" (Between Window, Table and Bed, Prague, 1996), "Polní práce" (Field Work, Prague, 1998), "Needle-Book" (Nadelbuch, Prag, 2003).

Two volumes of selected verse are available in German: "Aus drei Büchern" (1995) and "Überfuhr" (1996), which appeared as bibliophile prints by the book workshop Thanhäuser in Ottensheim an der Donau. In 2001, also translated by Christa Rothmeier, the Edition Korrespondenzen published the volume of poetry "Feldarbeit", a 90s diary of the periphery of Prague with its prefabricated estates and the suburb of villas ?ernošice, where the author lives. "Nadelbuch" (2004) is a subtle approach to the world of his mother and grandmothers.

In a quiet and succinct way, Borkovec uses his poems to document the period of radical change in the suburbs of Prague. He creates precarious snapshots of the everyday, according to Ilma Rakusa, and morbid magic overlays the concrete world. While Borkovec tells of everyday objects and private spaces, he simultaneously takes an analytical look at the modern interior of Europe: the world appears as an interim realm in a state of decay, glossed over by a unique poetic language.

"Petr Borkovec from Prague is a poet who sets out to express unimagined but imaginable worlds in language. He is one of those quiet writers who evades the demanding press of the world's roar and descends to inner worlds. Unerringly, he searches for a language that gives voice to the soul. This poetry is like something that has fallen out of our time, for it only feels a responsibility towards its own, inner time." (Salzburger Nachrichten)

Borkovec's poems from the years 1990 to 1996 are available in the volume "Fünfter November und andere Tage" (The Fifth of November and other Days, 2006). The roving lyric I traverses a village world, but this is far from being a Romantic idyll – it is an inhospitable, monotonous landscape in which houses, towers and trees point to the sky in an alien manner: "No more, nothing familiar, rain again."

"Petr Borkovec is not a relaxed expert in rhetoric or a waster of words, but a lyricist of concentrated eloquence." (FAZ)