Petr Hruška (born 1964) is a poet and literary historian. He also writes essays and short prose works. In 2013 he received the State Literature Prize for his poetry collection Darmata (2012). He has been involved in a number of scholarly works. His last specialist book to date is the monograph Někde tady: Český básník Karel Šiktanc (Somewhere Here: The Czech Poet Karel Šiktanc, 2010). He lives in Ostrava.
May 2017, 56 pages
Available material: English sample
Rights sold: Germany (Edition Azur), Croatia (Umjetnička organizacija Artikulacije)
The owner of the State Literature Prize. A story of futility and the desire to confront futility.
A collection of poems by a State Literature Prize winner: as always we find a civil, economical and apparently simple description of situations where everything happens at a depth, under the surface of inconspicuous-seeming situations. Hruška often needs banality as a starting point for seeking and guessing the mysteries and hidden meanings that determine human behaviour. Not My Own brings together poems about the literary figure of Adam, inspired by the poet’s stepson, but these are not records of ordinary everyday events: Hruška’s poems always depict emerging affinity or disaffection, i.e. the defining dimensions of human experience. Each one of us can then become that ”not my own”. Besides, the name Adam also points to the biblical context, the expulsion from heaven and the endless quest to regain it. Perhaps that is why the episodes in the poems do not have cheap punchlines and dénouements, but urgent internal drama. Just as in real-life situations we cannot instantly see the entire story so much as the long-term action whose meaning will only be revealed as time goes by.
“’Reading Not My Own is not necessarily easy. Its dark hints are chilling, because they are quite plausible. Where a news report or a documentary film might be able to slide into emotional extortion and self-flagellation, Petr Hruška offers an intimate time-lapse portrait.”