New Czech-English poetry collection sings praises of Scotland

A new book of poetry about Scotland appeared in Czech bookstores on Tuesday. The book contains poems by two authors: John Lancaster, who lives outside Aberdeen, and the Czech artist and poet Milan Knizak, who is also the director of Prague's National Gallery. The two met in Aberdeen as Milan Knizak was doing research for his PhD, and as Alena Skodova discovered, they hit it off immediately:

To the old town of Aberdeen

Naked men jog in stone corridors

Rimmed with stone towers looking like stone age rockets

Ghosts serve their ashes at cemetery tables

(& I plan to fulfill my perverse dreams using their collaboration)

7 (magnificent) drummers push crowds together

To invade England

(Mel Gibson might help)

The ploughman drives his oxes in cloudy furrows

After bagpipe whistle pattern

To draw a maze

As a new law for tired Scottish souls

Bagpipe is important (because)

Scottish jungle has silent birds

Copyright Milan Knizak 2000

What comes as a surprise is that Mr. Knizak wrote his poems in English, and only after he and John had decided to publish their poems in a book, did he translate his pieces into Czech. As he told me, it was hard work finding the appropriate Czech expressions for his English verses. But what are his poems about? And if you're interested "Here in Scotland," published by Vetus Via, is available in bookstores throughout the country.