Josef Straka

Kirche im Nebel

The 1980s - the period of the so-called late normalization, it is this time that the author returns to in his book to have a inner dialogue with his hometown Jablonec nad Nisou. The whole city is dominated by a church in the fog; it is a city that was world-famous at the beginning of the 20th century and that was heavily industrialized in the 1950s. Many buildings were demolished and - as some texts show - numerous houses in the style of the so-called Sudetenland Jugendstil were in a fairly damaged condition. The author captures this city in his melancholic-depressive texts on the edge between poetry and prose.

Church in the Mistis the final instalment of a triptych formed by two other books of poetry and prose, Hotel Bristol(2004) and The City of Mons(2005). Its continuous stream of poetic language, the existentially coloured lyrical texts, observes, passes through and penetrates the world around the poet.

-Ondřej Hanus

Straka's poetry feels atemporal, or more precisely, non-temporal, through its conception of time and life as vacuum, and is surprisingly contemporary.

-Simona Martínková-Racková