The CROWD is on the move – please make yourself at home!
While others may get by with a little help from their friends, the CROWD Omnibus Reading Tour would not be taking place at all without them. In this portrait series, we would like to introduce you to those who have allowed us to fill in the gaps on the map and bring the whole of Europe together in the name of literature. From May to August 2016, our associated partners will be hosts, havens, and potential life savers for over 100 authors as they snake their way through 15 different European countries and over 40 cities. We asked our partners to tell us about their work in their respective regions; their vision for the CROWD network, and the significance of literature for them both within and beyond Europe’s borders. This is what Tomáš Čada from H_aluze said:
What do you expect of the CROWD?
I don’t know. I’ll let myself be surprised. Ustí nad Labem is a strange city (which normal city has its own quarry in the center? Or a cable car that takes you to the shopping mall?). North Bohemia is a pleasant and magical place with an unhappy history and a present full of fear and suspicion, so it’s a good place for poetry.
Can you tell us about your current projects / your work?
Now I am trying to bring up two small happy people, which these days is getting harder and harder. In the Czech lands, where we know foreigners usually as tourists with harder currency than ours, we are full of fear for things we have never seen and never lived through. But if I look at other European countries, nowhere is it better. So I am afraid that I have to get used to it.
What are the main activities of your work?
I can say that I create a cultural magazine with friends. The speciality of our magazine is that it is open for everyone. We have no permanent editors, we try to be an open platform for all art but most of the space is focused on literature. I can say that I write (usually) poetry, sometimes I perform, sometimes I do some journalism, sometimes I organize cultural events. And now I teach hearing impaired children. But the truth? If I knew the answer, I would act on it. I’m still trying to find it. And that’s good.
How does the situation (political, economic etc.) in the Czech Republic influence your work?
Two years ago I was really interested in everything. Now I try to focus on myself and my family. And try to help others however I can, with things, money, a helping hand. I leave discussions and demonstrations for people with much more time and much more energy. And with much more peace of mind.
What is special about the literary scene in the Czech Republic?
For me the best thing about Czech literature is that it is so diverse and the borders between genres are blurred for many writers. I myself have poems which look like short stories, written in a simple language, and I appreciate these experiments with language, natural lyricism, concepts I develop according to mood and situation.
What is literary activism supposed to mean? What does this term mean to you?
It’s using activism by literary means. It can be a well-written text sometimes.
Do you think of literature as a European mother tongue?
No. Not only. Not necessarily. It could be anything else that connects us. But I think that art is a good connector.