A collection of verses IN CZECH (for copyright, please write to the author at email@example.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.