Books in English

nakladatelství Druhé město

Selected poetry IN ENGLISH (tr. Andrew Oakland, Benjamin Paloff)

This collection is an anthology of my poems in English translation. The book completely leaves aside three collections from the 1990s, towards which I personally foster feelings of ever growing nostalgia (who wouldn’t!), yet I still cherish them with a certain fondness. Admittedly, this poetry is so heavily rhymed, and so crammed with various private references and uncanny allusions as well, it is basically untranslatable. As far as my work from the past decade and its translations are concerned, the poems are much more approachable. That is why anthologies from both of the latest collections were published in the United States: a small compilation called Where is the Urn? in 2005 (Ellsworth, Maine) and No Through Road, published by San Francisco publisher Art Bureau in 2007. Naturally, these two collections were my main source in piecing together this anthology; however, more than a quarter of the poems have not yet been published, either in Czech, or in English.

nakladatelství Art Bureau (US-CA)

Selected poetry IN ENGLISH (tr. Andrew Oakland)

The work of Martin Reiner (as translated by Andrew Oakland) is compact and powerful, touching on nature, man, and machine. “Es wird mehr Maschinen gebraucht!” Reiner makes micro-commentaries on life through his perception of reality in the Czech Republic. Reading through this collection you begin to realize that life, no matter the physical location, is a universal phenomenon. Well, if you take a look at the original limited edition screen prints the Bureau is producing, it may give you an idea of where this chap is coming from production-wise. It is printed beautifully, with rounded corners, collages by Ivan Wernisch, and its font and colouring suit it perfectly; it is truly an artistic chap in every sense of the word.


nakladatelství Filozofická fakulta UK v Praze

Prague's Inter­national Literary Renaissance 1990–2010 An Anthology (It contains three pieces by Martin Reiner.) IN ENGLISH

nakladatelství Slavica Publishers (Indiana University)

A Bilingual Anthology of 20th Century Czech Poetry (It contains three pieces by Martin Reiner.) IN ENGLISH / IN CZECH

nakladatelství New Europe Writers

A collection of Central European contemporary writing (It contains the poem The Answer by Martin Reiner.) IN ENGLISH

nakladatelství MW Enterprises (US-NC)

Anthology (It contains Cat at the Window – an essay on the future of the word by Martin Reiner.) IN ENGLISH

Stories, essays, lyrics and verse from a generation defining itself…

English extracts from Czech books

nakladatelství Druhé město

A novel IN CZECH (for copyright, please write to the author at reiner.cz@gmail.com)

Lucy, Maceška, and I, Martin Reiner’s second work of prose, is a story of special internal sensitivity and mystery. These two ingredients alone give it the necessary suspense and dynamics, and they are given ample support by the manner of the narration. Its short chapters each comprise a miniature text with a brief title; the rapid pace of the narrative, the cuts from one time-scale to another and the delaying of the climax all give the reader the impression of an almost investigative quest. The work is highly readable, smooth-flowing, always sure; it is infused with poetry and lively language. The trio at its heart – a little girl, an elderly poet and a self-seeking young man – at first make a disparate trio, but the co-ordinates come together to form effective and mutually indispensable parts of a touching, multi-layered and artfully woven story.

nakladatelství Druhé město

A collection of feuilletons IN CZECH (for copyright, please write to the author at reiner.cz@gmail.com)

Martin Reiner came up with the character of a millionaire who wants to talk in 2007. His successful book, published in April 2008, consists of 58 feuilletons, written mainly for the most widely read Czech daily newspaper Mlada Fronta Dnes.

Other Languages

Most Important Published Works in Czech

nakladatelství Větrné mlýny

A collection of verses IN CZECH (for copyright, please write to the author at reiner.cz@gmail.com)

This is love poetry, yet it isn’t – Reiner doesn’t open up easily or cheaply, nor does he do things for show. The work is discreet but not cryptic. Reiner has a dexterous command of language and verse but he is more interested in contours, atmosphere, the whole reconstituted from the fragments; in something we – that is, those of us who are not content to pass through landscapes as if we have no place in them – attempt in vain to capture our whole lives long. The collection includes poems from Reiner’s travels (in Bath, Hayes Valley, Whangaroa, Utah, France, and the small Moravian town of Kunštát) in which this ‘view’ is particularly distinctive.

nakladatelství Host

A collection of verses IN CZECH (for copyright, please write to the author at reiner.cz@gmail.com)

Reiner’s most recent opus is charming and dramatic, shocking and soothing. Readily comprehensible but full of mystery. Exactingly concentrated but nonchalantly flowing. Wernisch’s co­llages are a source of excitement in themselves, very much more than mere “visual accompaniment”. Old and Other Times is a book its authors can be proud of; every home should have one. The book received two nominations for Book of the Year in the prestigious Lidové noviny competition.

nakladatelství Petrov

A collection of verses IN CZECH (for copyright, please write to the author at reiner.cz@gmail.com)

In The Thawing of the Walk Reiner stumbles, albeit with a firm tread, between two attitudes: the first of these is gentle, indeed very gentle, as we see in the variation on Nezval’s Sbohem a šáteček, in which he fends off tears only by exerting all his (creative) powers. The same emotional attitude is symbolized in the title of the volume. In the poem of the same name, the “thawing of the walk” is a metaphor for nightfall composed in the manner of Mallarmé, whose meanings – which taken together would make a good subject for a short essay – include a mirroring of one’s own figure on the water. Reiner’s second attitude is one of profanity; where he succeeds with bravura in feigning rhythmic clumsiness, we can take this as a formal level of irony. And he handles his lexicon with comparable skill. Recently he has managed to create for himself a genre which (so it seems) suits him particularly well – I would term it ‘ironic romance’. This is more than mere irony of tone: it is present in the demolishing of the romantic tradition and in the complex verbal construction which serve to shift the text as a whole to the level of metaphor and narrative. Poems such as Post coitum and Ménage à trois are masterly examples of their type; the second of these in particular is an exceptionally thoughtful and well-wrought piece. Reiner is always at his best where the metre bursts at the seams; this can be said of The Thawing of the Walk, and is one reason why I would place this collection at the leading edge of contemporary poetry.

nakladatelství Petrov

A novella IN CZECH (for copyright, please write to the author at reiner.cz@gmail.com)

The novella Spa is Reiner’s prose debut. It is such a fluent read that one is tempted to read it quickly. But if we wish to savour the author’s lyrical style and appreciate the mystery of the story, we must return to it and take our time over it, take pleasure in each metaphor, sentence and scene.

… The light, gloomy, sometimes magical tone of the novella Spa is illuminated by episodes of great subtlety. Whilst wringing a humour fraught with meaning from school, bar and marriage, Reiner presents with great sensitivity moments from the life of a young man suffering from a terminal illness. The novel is set in the city centre, trams and housing estates of Brno as well as in the spa town of Třeboň. There is little doubt that the author has drawn on his own experiences, but it would be wrong to search only for impressions of a particular past.

Brno’s Martin Reiner is the author of four volumes of poetry. After the novella Spa, which puts him on a footing with authors a generation his senior, such as Michal Ajvaz and Jiří Kratochvil, Reiner the prose writer will take a long break. But he will certainly be back.

nakladatelství Torst

A collection of verses IN CZECH (for copyright, please write to the author at reiner.cz@gmail.com)

Martin Reiner creates experience which engages the senses. He is also an aesthete and master craftsman of form whose deep appreciation of poetry tells him that practically everything is out there already. Reiner’s poetry is a joyous embracing of the erotic, yet he is happy to keep the company of Ivan Blatný, Ivan Wernisch and J.H. Krchovský, all of whom are in a sense his “guests”. And for this author the notion of “guests” is no poet’s abstraction: it is a concrete requirement of the social being. Reiner’s use of metaphor, stanza and rhyme is so exemplary that some of these poems could be used in school textbooks; at the same time there is an irrepressible light-heartedness in words set down in all earnestness.

nakladatelství Český spisovatel

A collection of poems IN CZECH (for copyright, please write to the author at reiner.cz@gmail.com)

Reiner’s second collection is a complex yet functional literary organism whose purpose is the careful consideration of extreme experience and the rediscovery of a lost equilibrium.
The author succeeds in this book in pacifying and clarifying internal and external realities by interesting means. There are many objective worlds for the senses to perceive in The Last Year; we could populate these with a few episodic characters to create a unit of prose quite comfortable to read – although our concentration on the inner story would be too insistent to admit the common “humanizing” images of genre. The author has avoided all themes suited to the essay form, as if his way of seeing had more in common with the Latin than the Czech experience. But this is about more than the use of Italian exteriors. Where we might expect an anguished dissection of an emotional state with an emphasis on embarrassing detail, we are relieved to be given effective descriptions – of a particularly visual nature – of highly-charged sensual experience. The poet entrusts the reader with a burden – a burden the reader knows by seeing. There is no question of plundering the human heart, nor are we witness to a common descent into vulgarity. Moments of despondency are burdened with nothing but their own weight.

Several of the poems in this collection were translated by American scholar of Czech Benjamin Paloff and published in the Boston internet magazine Double Room.