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Miroslav Holub

miroslav holub, miroslav holub poems
Miroslav Holub 13 September 1923 – 14 July 1998 was a Czech poet and immunologist

Miroslav Holub's work was heavily influenced by his experiences as an Immunologist, writing many poems using his scientific knowledge to poetic effect His work is almost always unrhymed, so lends itself easily to translation It has been translated into more than 30 languages and is especially popular in the English-speaking world Although one of the most internationally well-known Czech poets, his reputation continues to languish at home

Holub was born in Plzeň His first book in Czech was Denní služba 1958, which abandoned the somewhat Stalinist bent of poems earlier in the decade published in magazines

In English, he was first published in the Observer in 1962, and five years later a Selected Poems appeared in the Penguin Modern European Poets imprint, with an introduction by Al Alvarez and translations by Ian Milner and George Theiner Holub's work was lauded by many, including Ted Hughes and Seamus Heaney,1 and his influence is visible in Hughes' collection Crow 1970

In addition to poetry, Holub wrote many short essays on various aspects of science, particularly biology and medicine specifically immunology and life A collection of these, titled The Dimension of the Present Moment, is still in print In the 1960s, he published two books of what he called 'semi-reportage' about extended visits to the United States

Works in translationedit

  • Vanishing Lung Syndrome, trans David Young and Dana Habova Oberlin College Press, 1990 ISBN 0-932440-52-5; Faber and Faber, 1990 ISBN 0-571-14339-3
  • Intensive Care: Selected and New Poems, ed David Young Oberlin College Press, 1996 ISBN 0-932440-76-2
  • The Rampage, trans David Young, Dana Hábová, Rebekah Bloyd and the author Faber and Faber 1997 ISBN 0-571-19253-X
  • Poems Before and After: Collected English Translations Bloodaxe Books; 2nd ed 2006 ISBN 1-85224-747-9
  • Shedding Life: Disease, Politics and Other Human Conditions trans David Young, with assistance by Dana Habova, Todd Morath, Vera Orac, Catarina Vocadlova, and the author Milkweed Editions, 1997 ISBN 1-57131-217-X
  • Supposed to Fly trans Ewald Osers Bloodaxe Books; 1996 ISBN 1 85224 274 4
  • The Fly trans Ewald Osers, George Theiner, Ian & Jarmila Milner Bloodaxe Books; 1987 ISBN 1 85224 018 0


  1. ^ The New York Times 22 July 1998

External linksedit

  • New York Times obituary
  • Overview of poetic career by Jan Culík and Jiří Holý, in English
  • Dogmatika profile of Holub - Darran Anderson
  • Miroslav Holub at the complete review - many further links
  • Brief talk quoting his poem Ode to joy
  • Biography in Czech
  • Michal Bauer, 'The Portrayal of the United States of Miroslav Holub’s Writing From the 1960s'

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