from Slovak Spring by Ladislav Novomesky
Translated with an Introduction by John Minahane

Table Of Contents

(with links to extracts)


Page 5




  • The melancholy of youth—page 7
  • Poetry and politics in Prague—page 10
  • "The poet Majakovskij is dead"—page 14
  • The world´s enchanted beauty—page 19
  • Hamlet in Spain—page 26
  • The Saint beyond the Village—page 29
  • The Minister of Cultural Revolution—page 34
  • Error and treason—page 39
  • Invisible in Prague—page 45
  • The reform of socialism—page 46
  • 30 minutes to townpage 50
  • On false confession—page 56
  • Campaigning against censorship—page 65
  • Apologia pro vita sua—page 68
  • 1968 and after: Novomesky and the invasion of Czechosovakia—page 74
  • Claudio Magris on Novomesky—page 82
  • On this and previous translations—page 86  


(1)    POEMS

From Sunday (1927):

Sunday (extract)—89


Colours on a palette—92      

From Rhomboid (1932):

On a dactyl of Otakar Brezina—94


The wind over the valley—95

From Open Windows (1935):

Ordinary verses—96

Death at the railway station—96

Aeroplane over the city—97


Section 1 (the portrait)—98

Section 2 (image of the village)—99

Section 3 (the Saint beyond the Village)—100

Section 4 (conclusion)—101

If you need an epilogue—102

From The Saint Beyond the Village (1939):

Motto to The Saint Beyond the Village—103


A stroll—104

The sea—105

The smuggler—106

Prince of Denmark—106

Slovak Spring—107

Message 107

The way you are—108

A row with a bird who is counting away life—109

A word—111

From With a Smuggled Pencil (1948):

Thousand and one nights—111      

With a smuggled pencil—112

From Villa Tereza (1963):

Extract 1   (self-portrait)—113

Extract 2 (Zizkov, 1920s)—113

From Thirty Minutes to Town (1963):

Extract 1 (Childhood, about 1914)—114

Extract 2 (Memories of peasant women)—117

Extract 3 (The false confession of Vladimír Clementis, 1952)—118

Extract 4 (On science, technology, and the human future)—119

From From Over There and other things (1964):

In memory of Vladimir Majakovskij—121

Prague Spring 1956—121


Just like that—123

All of a sudden—123


Motif 1950—125


Early evening—127


Out loud!—128

From songs on unity—129

Night dialogue—130

From The House where I Live (1971):

Prievozska Street —131

At Zelezna Studnicka—131

Tearing in two—132

Poems about Novomesky by living authors:

Now he is ten days dead by Milan Richter—133

The poet in prison by Milan Rufus—134

(2)   ESSAYS

The 1931 Poet (1931)—135

Among The Books (1941)—145

Notes to the introduction, with a list of abbreviations used—149

Sources, and supplementary notes to the poems—160

Four Novomesky poems in the Slovak original—161


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