Ivan Blatny (December 21, 1919, Brno, Czechoslovakia - August 5, 1990, Colchester, United Kingdom) was a Czech poet, member of Skupina 42 (Group 42). Blatny, the son of the writer Lev Blatny, was a member of the Skupina 42 (Group 42 - association of Czech modern artists. In March 1948, after the Communist seizure of power in his native country, Blatny left his country - just one of many figures in Czech Literature who chose to emigrate rather than go underground. However, he found life in exile difficult, as did many other ‚migr‚ Czech writers such as Ivan Divis. During his subsequent life in the United Kingdom, he spent time in various mental hospitals. From 1984 until shortly before his death, he lived in a retirement home in Clacton-on-Sea. A plaque commemorating his stay can be seen on the wall of the Edensor Care Home in Orwell Road. His ashes were taken to the central cemetery in Brno.
The Drug of Art: Selected Poems of Ivan Blatnyby Ivan Blatny, Veronika Tuckerova (Editor), Matthew Sweney (Translator), Josef Skvorecky (Preface by), Antonin Petruzelka (Afterword)
Translated from the Czech by Matthew Sweney, Justin Quinn, Alex Zucker, Veronika Tuckerova & Anna Moschovakis. Edited by Veronika Tuckerova. "The verses and fate of the poet Ivan Blatny complete the fate of Czech literature, which transcended the borders of the nation, often struggling for survival"Vaclav Havel. Lost to the world for twenty-five years, Ivan Blatny was, according to the Czech Ministry of Culture, "one of the most significant Czech poets of the twentieth century." Blatny fled Czechoslovakia after the Communist coup in 1948, but didn't cope well with exile. This volume spans fifty years of his career and is notable for being the first major collection of Blatny's work in English, including his multi-lingual poems written while he was housed in mental hospitals in England.
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