During the course of the First World War, the poet Pavol Országh Hviezdoslav, one of Slovakia’s greatest literary figures, wrote a series of short but passionate anti-war poems which were impossible to publish during the war but eventually became known at the ‘Bloody Sonnets’. In 2018, John Minahane published his English translation of the Bloody Sonnets, which was met with critical acclaim. A special edition of the little book was presented personally to the late Queen Elisabeth II, with the Slovak Embassy in London issuing a statement at the time saying that the Queen appreciated the Sonnets’ ‘strong and humane message’. Jonathan McCormick spoke with John Minahane about this remarkable work by one of Slovakia’s most renowned figures.
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