Imprisoned poet, art historian, band manager of the Plastic People of the Universe, and free-spirit under all circumstances, Ivan Martin Jirous (1944-2011) was together with Václav Havel one of the key actors of the Czech cultural dissent, representing its rawer, underground part. Throughout his stormy life he wrote hundreds of poems often revealing the tender and even pious side of his wild personality.
Sensitively translated by Marek Tomin and illustrated by Lucie Ferlíková, My Itinerary Has Been Monotonous for Quite a While is the first collection of his work published in English. It presents a selection of poems written during his sentence in Valdice in the 1980s, later published in Czech as the award-winning Magor´s Swan Songs, and some poems and short stories written for his daughters Františka and Marta.
The book launch will be introduced by translator Marek Tomin and Czech literary critic Martin Machovec. Followed by a concert featuring members of the famous Prague Agon Orchestra – Ivan Acher and Ivan Bierhanzl (formerly of DG 307 and The Plastic People of the Universe) – and their UK guests. The evening will also present some of Jan Ságl´s Super 8 films documenting the concerts, happenings, author’s readings and daily events of the semi-illegal world in Czechoslovakia behind the Iron Curtain, a world that was possible largely thanks to Magor´s vision, courage and insanity.
“Jirous was unique, a historian, a poet, a rock-and-roll magus, a brave spirit whose life testified that culture is politics.” Tom Stoppard
My Itinerary Has Been Monotonous for Quite a While is published by Divus London.
Initiated and supported by Czech Centre London.
In partnership with Jantar Publishing.
Beneath the hawthorn tree they took me away
As you were disappearing through the archway
Františka waved for the last time by the door
Now it’s just God and I, alone once more
At least, Lord, tell me this part of the story
Am I already in purgatory?
Ivan Martin Jirous, 1985
Part of the 21st Made in Prague Festival
8 November – 6 December 2017