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Miroslav Holub is perhaps the most famous living Czechoslovak poet, and one of the leading poets of Eastern Europe. He is also a scientist and his poems have a clarity and humour which makes them i...nternational and extremely effective in translation. Since his Penguin anthology in the late 1960's and a further collection published by Cape, Holub has been well known in this country. He speaks English well. But he is only occasionally able to visit Britain. On a recent visit for the Cambridge Poetry Festival in 1975, the Open University recorded a public reading he gave, with translations of his poems read by the young English poet, John James. Miroslav Holub also read more of his poems and discussed his poetry with the poet Jon Silkin, editor of Stand, who was among the first people to publish Holub in Britain. The Open University programme on Miroslav Holub shows these readings and this discussion. It is concerned to make Holub's poetry as accessible as possible to viewers and readers in this country, and to show Holub' s original ideas about poetry and its relation to science in his own work.
Metadata describing this Open University video programme
Module code and title: A306, Twentieth century poetry
Item code: A306; 15
First transmission date: 11-09-1976
Published: 1976
Rights Statement:
Restrictions on use:
Duration: 00:23:02
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Producer: Alasdair Clayre
Contributors: Miroslav Holub; John James; Edwin Morgan; Jon Silkin
Publisher: BBC Open University
Subject terms: Czech literature; Literature; Poetry
Footage description: The programme opens with Edwin Morgan providing a brief introduction to Miroslav Holub over film of the poet at the 1975 Cambridge Poetry Festival. Holub reads in English his Dialogue with a Poet. John James reads and English translation of Holub's poem Napoleon. Holub himself then reads the Czech original. Morgan comments on Holub's use of irony, and introduces the poem Man Cursing the Sea. This is then read in English by James and in Czech by Holub. Morgan comments briefly on Holub's style of reading. The poem The Corporal who killed Archimedes is displayed on the screen and read by James. Holub then reads it himself, firstly in English, then in Czech. Morgan makes some remarks about the above poem. Jon Silkin, poet and editor of Stand, interviews Holub about the political content of his poems. Holub explains his use of simple parables. Silkin questions Holub about the scientific element in his poetry. He explains how his poetic style has developed as a result of his scientific training. Holub explains why he tries to distance himself from his own poetry. He gives his views on the sacred nature of life. Morgan briefly introduces the poem Bull Fight, which is read by John James at the Cambridge Poetry Festival. Morgan looks at the poem's message and at Holub's compassionate view of life. The programme closes with James reading a translation of the poem The Fly, followed by Holub's reading of the Czech original.
Master spool number: 6HT/71832
Production number: 00525_3193
Videofinder number: 728
Available to public: no