Letter to Václav Černý (1938)

Prague, 20 Nov. 38
My Dear Friend,
I am sending the enclosed poem to Kritický měsíčník (The Critical Monthly), but only if you haven’t come to hate in the depths of your soul poetry of such pain. In the event that you have no use for it, kindly send it back by post, since there is little chance that I will see you this year; for I have been bed ridden since returning from the war, and my illness has worsened after a short walk the week before last, so I will not budge again from my home for at least another month. So, if you do not use my poem, at least let me know if I can have it printed elsewhere.
I am practically cut off from the whole world, and rarely even see a newspaper. To tell the truth, I don’t miss them, but would like to be with you all again from time to time. I heard something about the “scandal” that you apparently had in the Community of Czechoslovak Writers concerning some English support; also a tenacious voice, otherwise I have no news: what’s happening, what are you working on, what are you thinking about? Forgive a famished person for asking so many indiscreet questions, even if they may not be answered. Perhaps you think that I have an open window to the world through some friends from Blok. But this isn’t so. I am alone and am unable to contact any of them, and actually was never
that close to them. And since I have been gradually going through your study on Baroque poetry the past few days, you have somehow become a more intimate friend and I feel closer to you, and so I am sending these few sighs to you.
Around the 8th of this month I wrote a longer poem entitled “Old Bohemia” which I wanted to have published on two sheets and offered it to Fürt. I’m sure that it brought no shame to his name. He returned it to me, pointing out that he had already accepted several similar works. Yet I feel that none of the poets whose works he is publishing has conceived the “catastrophe” the way I have “Old Bohemia”. You will see for yourself once everything comes out. If you have the chance, ask Fürt if this was really the reason.
Kindly pass on my regards to your wife and tell her that I have already read her French novels (de Lacretelle’s Silbermann is especially beautiful and captivating – unfortunately so current today).
Best wishes,
František Nechvátal
Subject: In the network
Author: Nechvátal, František
Title: Letter to Václav Černý (1938)
Licence: Free license

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