Jaromír Typlt – Critical Reflexions

In the early 1990s, his poetry and many essayistic and literary-critical texts made Jaromír Typlt one of the most notable authors of the youngest generation of Czech poets. In his beginnings, he was most prominently influenced by the self-destructive poetics of rock music and the increasingly strong surrealist inspiration. A programmatic manifesto of Typlt’s early career is the collection Lost Inferno, in which a cascade of metaphors, neologisms and archetypal imagery charts out a “new cosmogony,” a defiantly construed poetic universe streaming from the poetic subject.

After 2000, Typlt has published his texts only sporadically by way of bibliophilic prints. In them, his literary expression is tightly connected with the artistic one, the word and graphics complement and inspire each other, and it is only through their interaction that they achieve a unified meaning. This is characteristic of the so-called “author books” Typlt has been creating since 1999 with artist Jan Měřička, some of which have been collected in one volume entitled that the unstuck (2003).

Typlt returned to broader literary publishing in 2007 with Squeeze, a sundry collection of his poetry, prose & essays written between 1993 and 2007. In these texts, Typlt does away with programmatic accents and proclamations of surrealist affiliations. His style is still marked by a prominent authorial gesture, experimentation and playfulness. His prose is marked by strong lyricism and experimentation with the compositional build-up. The thematic level of the texts is covered by dreamy indefiniteness, the logic of the narrative is permeated by deliberate absurdity. The poetic texts of Squeeze are also playfully experimental and draw heavily on the graphic side of expression, where irrational imagination meets features of discursive language.

Dictionary of Czech Literature after 1945


With the addition of the wordplay and self-reflective levels, we get the whole technique of the “squeeze” which inconspicuously, although surely, disturbs the real. Typlt the creator becomes a tempter, player and recorder. I know no other contemporary writer who would so obsessively and on so many levels tempt emptiness without getting enmeshed in existentialist clichés.

Petr Boháč, Souvislosti literary review, 2008


At first, Jaromír Typlt’s work derived its intellectual dimension from seemingly incoherent sources: modern French philosophy, the spiritualism of the Giant Mountains, Baroque architecture, the life and work of Ladislav Klíma, and his interest in psychological states between “derangement” and visionary extasy. Specificity in his poetry and prose was most clearly expressed in his close tie to the genius loci of his native Nová Paka and its surroundings, as well as his conscious followership of the local writing traditions (Jan Opolský, Josef K. Šlejhar, Josef Kocourek et al.). Impulses have also been drawn from fine arts, the Nová Paka members of Group 42 (Ladislav Zívr, Miroslav Hák, František Gross).

Martin Pilař, Czech Literature Institute, 2008


The effort to capture the word’s meaning and communicative dimensions in richer and concealed expressions often leads him to overlaps with other expressive modes – typical of Jaromír Typlt is his unceasing search in the realm of intermedia. His works often arise  (frequently in collaboration with other artists) on the border between literature, film clip, visual art and self-contained acoustic recording. On these recordings, the word and utterance undergo a deformation in order to bear witness to the presence of new, unexpected messages.

Petr Hruška, Czech Literature Institute, 2014


Characteristic of Jaromír Typlt is a sort of estrangement of imagery, suggestiveness of unintelligibility. Here, the world hides in language performances which require no deciphering. The impression resulting from a Typlt text can be disorientation and doubtfulness. However, the creator and the witness can switch roles, a seeming powerlessness can suddenly change into power.

Jiří Zizler, Czech Literature Institute, 2014


Jaromír Typlt resolutely refuses the writer’s turn toward society. Creation for him is a personal experience, issuing primarily from the borderline region between dreaming and waking, and consequently fought-out between intuition and rational choice.

Roman Kanda, Referendum Daily web portal, 2013


In the contemporary Czech literary environment, one would surely find poets that could be labelled experimental and radical with their work with language, emphasising the word or the phoneme as object. For instance Jaromír Typlt, who originally departs from surrealism, has quite ingeniously combined sound, writing and image, balancing between the word sound and text sense; his words become real objects, grinding, cracking or glidingly clambering.

Pavel Novotný, lecture at the Goethe Institute, 2016


Typlt’s poetry presented in the new collection, In a Long While (2016), can be perceived as a notation of a high-class game. By this I don’t mean to claim that Typlt builds the space of his poems out of the same “props” one meets in the texts of the members of the former French group, Le Grand Jeu (the Great Game). Surely there are external similarities to note (i.a. attention paid to “emptiness” or alienated self-observation, insight into one’s own body, one’s own head), but I find the essential followership of the great game project in the inner mind frame, setting, almost “obstinacy” with which Jaromír Typlt approaches poetry. His language frightens, discomforts, discomposes, irritates, its sound sometimes literally cutting, grabbing by the throat. Most prominently, the poet’s own throat, but also ours – if we’re willing. “Know thyself…” says the final text of the collection, a poetic variation on the Heraclitean B 101 fragment. At the end of the trip of knowledge undertaken in Jaromír Typlt’s poetry, however, there is no salvation or redemption – only the ever-stronger feeling that “here madness dwells.” But a true player never ceases to play.

Veronika Košnarová, Tvar literary review, 2017

The longest piece, „Fragment B101“, which forms the last third of the collection, In a Long While, is the most epic of Typlt’s texts. Even the lover of shorter and more concentrated verse can let themselves easily be swept away and driven further and beyond. For me, it’s not only the pinnacle of the collection and one of the peaks of Typlt’s poetry, it’s definitely also one of the most remarkable poems written in Czech over the recent years.

Pavel Kotrla, Host literaty review, 2017


English translation by David Vichnar