(The poems contain reflections of the war, with strong epi...)
The poems contain reflections of the war, with strong epical elements, with regular strophes and very complicated system of rhyme. And the musical scheme is so powerful, beautiful and clear that it enters our ears like the voice of a stream.
(Although both works are rich with graphic imagery, portra...)
Although both works are rich with graphic imagery, portraying a dark period in Prague's history, we catch glimpses of Holan's irrepressible humour, optimism and love of life.
Holan attended gymnasium at Truhlarska Street, Prague, and earned a diploma from it in 1926.
Vladimir Holan gained attention of critics as an extraordinary poet in the 1920s, publishing the collection Triumf smrti (“The Triumph of Death”). The young Holan was hailed as a great poet by Frantisek Xavier Saida, an influential contemporary critic. In the 1930s, during a period when Czech writers seemed divided into two opposing camps—politically active writers addressed social issues while others cultivated what they considered pure literature—Holan passionately dedicated himself to poetry in its purest, most abstract form.
In his discussion of Holan’s position in relation to Czech Surrealism, Alfred French writes in The Poets of Prague: Czech Poetry between the Wars, "The phantoms of phantoms, and abstractions of abstractions, which haunt his verse, have given Holan the reputation of being among the ‘purest’ and most withdrawn of Czech poets."
Thus, during the period between the two world wars, Holan, along with such poets as the 1984 Nobel laureate Jaroslav Seifert, upheld the literary ideals of “poetism”, a movement that viewed poetry as a purely spiritual expression of humankind’s deepest concerns, liberated from any physical or even intellectual constraints.
After World War II, following the installation of a Stalinist government in Prague, Holan attempted to conform to the new style of socialist literature. Although the enthusiasm expressed in his “new” poetry was sincere, he was blacklisted by the government, remaining a proscribed writer until 1963, and living in poverty and isolation. Recognized as a living writer in 1964, Holan was able to publish again, and he returned to his personal style of poetry, producing volumes that brought international critical acclaim, as well as national and international awards. Although seemingly melancholy and enigmatic, almost undecipherable—even stretching the limits of language and thought—Holan’s poetry, critics have written, spans the entire spectrum of human feelings, from sadness to joy, from despair to exhilaration.
Holan was a member of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia for 5 years from 1945.
Holan was a member of the Union of Czechoslovak Writers.
Holan had a daughter, Kateřina, born in 1949. Unfortunately, she died in 1977.