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for godot [archive]

research in poetry

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* "Holub's concentration on molecular destiny, perhaps strategically, overlooks the fact that we are storytelling animals dependent on each other, and moving towards a goal in ways that are partially constrained by the way we have already moved. (...) Holub has been called a humanist -- why, I can't say. Perhaps "humanist" is intended to designate someone who finds no human act or discovery or experience too odd. Otherwise, Holub is about as far from the Erasmian ideal as it is possible to be." - Iain Bamforth, Parnassus (2001 ; Vol.25, Issue 1/2)

* "Holub is an immunologist, and the rigorous logic of the scientist shows in many of the poems, which are almost mathematical in their analogies. But it is a mathematics with blood in it." - Paul Breslin, Poetry (7/1997)

* "His dislike of "poetical" embellishment, his concern that poetry should be rooted in plain, unadorned fact, is a product of years of Communist propaganda in Stalinist Czechoslovakia. It has also been influenced by the methods of the laboratory, which depend, above all things else, upon clear-headed inquiry." - The Economist (5/8/1995)

* "This ability to find wonder in the betrayals of DNA and the workings of viruses and cancers is one of Holub's greatest poetic gifts. He is endlessly fascinated by the grotesque, diseased and deformed. Accordingly, for all its talk of genes and genomes, Holub's poetry seems as much imaginatively indebted to Robert Chambers's theory of monstrous birth as to Darwinian natural selection." - Tim Kendall, Times Literary Supplement (15/5/1998)

* "His wry humour was, paradoxically, eminently serious. He may not have been out to improve the world- he probably did not believe in the perfectibility of man - but he was entirely serious about showing up human frailty and folly." - Ewald Osers, New Statesman (7/8/1998)

* "Witty, austere, classical, totally without egotism or sentimentality, he was a tireless awakener of the cynical and the servile. Throughout his poems and his prose writings, he insists that we learn a humility that can oppose the corrupt and vicious totalitarian state - the labyrinth in which his favourite symbol the minotaur stalks and stumbles and growls. His poems have a strict, undogmatic openness and wit as well as a heartening strictness and throwaway severity. In them we had that distinctive form of ethical joy we find in Aeschylus." - Tom Paulin, The Guardian (16/7/1998)

* "Holub has much in common with Auden -- a profound interest in science, a highly developed sense of irony, a strong sense of oneself as a citizen, and not least a distrust of the ego and the ego's sense of its own value, what he describes (...) as "the dubious theatre / of a thousand actors and one spectator". It is not the world which vanishes, in Holub, but ways of coping with it, such as Communism, serum shots, or particular types of humour." - John Redmond, Times Literary Supplement (28/3/1997)

* "Miroslav Holub seems to expect his readers to act like scientists, who are curious in every direction, take nothing for granted, and are willing to accept any truth, however unexpected." - Matthew Zapruder, Verse (Volume 15, Numbers 1 and 2)


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