Over 40 years
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Zbyněk Hejda (Czech Republic)

Zbyněk Hejda was born in Hradec Kralove in 1930. A poet, essayist and translator from English and German, he worked as publishing editor and second-hand bookseller and, after he joined the Charter 77 movement, as janitor until the Velvet Revolution in 1989. After 1990 he taught medical ethics at Charles University.

His first volume of poetry, All Pleasure, was published in Prague in 1964, but all his subsequent work had to come out in 'samizdat' [underground] editions and was only republished in the 1990s. His collected poems came out in 1996. A selection of his poems in English translation was published under the title A Stay in the Sanatorium, translated by Bernard O'Donoghue and Simon Danicek, and some of these are reprinted here.

Hejda has translated the work of Emily Dickinson, Georg Trakl and Gottfried Benn. He divides his time between Prague and the village of Horni Ves.