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The page of Strážay, Štefan, English Reception

Image of Strážay, Štefan
Strážay, Štefan


From his first collection Strážay’s work has attracted attention with its lyrical individuality, based on the precise naming of things, their relationships and on the discreet, gentle and often only hinted - at response to his own human situation. His poetry is characteri­zed by artistic balance and the stability of his precise. mostly dis­illusioned poetic world. He prefers an ontological access to reality; searching for fundamentals common to both people and things which surround him. He achieves this in the form of a mosaic of perceptions, and "interior-like poetic notes. At other times he does it with more widely conceived poetic cycles (Wormwood and 96 Malinovsky Street). The literary critic Ján Stevček has noted another feature of Strážay’s poetry: “the uncovered poetic I”, his personal human presence in a poem. This is why we can find sharp, but unusually tender details of human intimacy in Stražay’s verses, unseen at first sight, but very valuable, often caught in hints, but at the same time very precise, without unnecessary posturing, stylisation and pathos, only with a tender undertone of sadness. This makes Stražay’s poetry attractive to readers. This is why he remains in his poetry “concentrated on being and its beautiful misery”. In his latest collections (Elegy, December, and Interior) Strážay’s refle­ctiveness comes close to the genre of essay. From the sensuous-experiential verses of his first collections Stražay has matured to a pure level of expressive asceticism which he now uses to express the sense of unauthenticity of human existence.

The lyrical energy in Strážay’s poems is shaped by their shortness and by the subdued imagery which results in an unusually delicate presentation. (Albin Bagin)

In a Strážay poem, which is untitled and wishes to be a poetical “note” on the edges of life’s accidental observations, we feel a clearly tender, unobtrusive lyrical pathos which “lifts” the observed scene to an understanding overview that liberates us from insignifi­cance and from the burden of the trivial. (Frantisek Miko)

Strážay’s poems communicate to the reader very often a re-felt, re-thought, and re-told story - with many details but also with many omissions of what could be hidden behind the scene. Hidden and suppressed is also the tension within an image, a movement, a ge­sture but still, one can feel it. Small tragedies of people living beneath their expectations, of nature, cities and streets carrying the burden of human fate. (
Milan Richter)
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