Blatt Fest Rocks P-Town

It's not often that a literary event manages to shake people up. But that's exactly what the upcoming Blatt Fest, scheduled to take place May 3-7 in Vinohrady's Café Metropole, intends to do

It's not often that a literary event manages to shake people up. But that's exactly what the upcoming BLATT Fest, scheduled to take place May 3-7 in Vinohrady's Café Metropole, intends to do.



Scheduled concurrently with what the organizers describe as the "increasingly boring" annual Prague Book Fair, it seems fitting that Prague's most confrontational literary magazine would be responsible for what looks to be a wine-soaked week-long party interspersed with readings and book launches.



BLATT was founded earlier this year by Miro Peraica, man about town and owner of Anagram Books, writers Joshua Cohen and Travis Jeppesen, and graphic designer Mário Dzurila. While they've only published one issue so far, the magazine has garnered a significant amount of praise both in Europe and the US. Among other events, the Festival will see the inauguration of BLATT Books, the magazine's new publishing imprint.



BLATT Fest will kick off on Wednesday night, May 3, with a launch of the latest offering from local publisher Twisted Spoon, the aptly named May. Authored by Czech Romantic poet Karel Hynek Macha in 1836 shortly before his death at the young age of 26, May is a masterpiece of Czech literature. All Czech children are required to learn passages from the poem by heart in school, and it later became an important influence for the Czech Surrealists.



The launch of May will feature readings in the original Czech and of Marcela Sulak's English translation by curator Michaela Hajková and expat poet Laura Conway, respectively.



The following night, May 4, will feature a reading and discussion centered around the theme "Slovenian Literature Today." Why is it that Slovenia, a nation boasting fewer than two million souls, also has one of the most prolific literary scenes in all of Europe? Brane Mozetič, one of Slovenia’s most controversial writers, and Jana Putrle Srdić, a member of the youngest generation of Slovenian poets, will be on hand for a reading and "talk show."



Punk enthusiasts can get their fix on Friday night, May 5, with the launch of Berlin Bromley, a frank memoir by English writer Bertie Marshall, who hung out in the Sex Pistols' entourage long before punk rock became a household name. He'll be on hand to read from the book, sign copies, and regale Praguers with tales of his friends Siouxsie Sioux, Billy Idol, Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood.



Local scribe and BLATT co-editor Travis Jeppesen has collaborated on a book with artist and musician Jeremiah Palecek. Poems I Wrote While Watching TV, the first in the new BLATT Books series, will be launched on Saturday night, an event that will be crowned with a performance by Palecek's "anti-musical" project King Vitamin.



The Fest will go out with a bang on Sunday night, May 7, when two of Berlin's most active English-language performance poets, Gaby Bila-Gunther and Alistair Noon, arrive in town for a reading.



Gaby Bila-Gunther was born in Romania, raised in Australia, and is currently based in Germany. Her reviews, profiles, and nonfiction articles have appeared in many cultural magazines in Australia, Germany, and England. She self-published her own book of tram tales, Validate & Travel, on a moving tram in Melbourne, Australia in 2000. She has performed spontaneously in many public places, such as launderettes, public toilets, train stations, lifts, and hairdressers. Her poetry has been published on many windows, cans, shopping bags, aprons, and tram shelters in Melbourne. Her spoken word CD, Off the Main, is layered by an echo laden of techno beats, making the words stronger. In Berlin, she's the host of the monthly FUEL reading series at the Hotel Bar.



Alistair Noon's poems have been called restless, engaging, hilarious, mysterious, affecting, gloomy, disruptive, dusty, and intriguing. In the early nineties he co-edited a Berlin-based poetry magazine called Symtex and Grimmer, and has had poems published in numerous magazines, anthologies, and as a chapbook (Ground Detail, with Leo Mellor, Berlin 2002). His first proper collection, Propaganda Window, is currently looking for a publisher. He has read at international festivals in Germany, France, Switzerland and the UK, and been heckled off stage for performing his bizarre sound poems by a Frenchman with a potato installation. Most recently, he coordinated last year's successful Poetry Hearings Festival in Berlin.



All events get underway at 8pm, and best of all, are free.



Café Metropole is located on Anny Letenske 18 in Vinohrady. Link: www.cafemetropole.com

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