Culture & Society Czech Republic News

Prague-based writers launch collective poetry book

soutteranians

Prague, Czech Republic – After an ambitious collaboration of nearly two years, more than 30 amateur writers based in Prague are launching this week-end a collective anthology of poems.

“Sharing poetry is not only sharing beautiful words of hope, love, joy, anger, but also sharing the results of exploring the mysteries of existence and our inner life,” reads the introduction to “Souterranians”.

Gathering several poems from 34 writers, both Czechs and foreigners from all around the world who at one point or another called Prague their home, Soutteranians is holding its official launch this Sunday evening, October 2, at the famous expat-go-to venue the Globe Bookstore and Cafe.

The ambitious project has been nearly two years in the making and was launched in January 2021 by Frenchman Marko Luth. “At the time I became really frustrated with the impact of the pandemic, the sense of isolation it brought, and thought it would be great to find a way to help everyone share their writings, their poetry, mutually enriching each other and creating new bonds,” he told Kafkadesk.

A long-term attendee and organiser of poetry readings and open-mic sessions regularly held around Prague, Marko already knew dozens of amateur writers who might be interested in the project, where individual creativity and collective inspiration go hand-in-hand.

Prague-based writers (a few of them have since left the Czech Republic) promptly answered Marko’s call, joining hands and minds in a project that grew in scope and significance over the months.

Creative freedom is at the heart of the initiative, and poets were free to choose the topic, form, length, or style of the 10 English-language poems they submitted, which were then selected via a unique peer-to-peer process: every writer was randomly paired with another – whether they already knew each other or not – and selected three to five of his or her counterpart’s poems, on top of writing a small introduction.

“We really wanted to be as inclusive as possible,” explains Marko, who’s already self-published about ten books in the past. Which is also why every pair of poets was free to work together as they saw fit, a key-added value to the whole project, according to Klez Brandar, another contributing writer and photographer.

“I was paired with Hannah Becher, whom I didn’t know before”, he told Kafkadesk. “In the run-up to the project, we ended up talking for more than an hour online to get to know one another and be able to write each other’s introduction for the book. The whole process went very smoothly, much of it thanks to Marko’s coordinating skills.”

More than half a dozen artists later joined the project to provide unique illustrations for each of the contributing poet, adding a wholesome and personalised visual beauty to the final anthology.

Independently published by Marko and his collective, Souterranians is available on request. Anyone interested may join tomorrow’s launch and buy a copy for 200 Kc, or get in touch directly with Marko Luth at the following email address: m.thull6[at]gmail.com