Journalist, Author. During his youth he began writing poetry and dabbling in journalism, and saw his first poetry published in 1918. His first collection of poems was to come in 1921. He also edited the Communist newspapers 'Reflektor,' 'Rovnost,' and 'Srsatec,' served on the editorial staff of numerous avant-garde publications, translated works from French into Czech, worked at a Communist bookstore and publishing house, and continued to write and publish his own poetry throughout the 1920s. He was expelled from the Communist Party when, in March of 1929, he and six of his friends signed a manifesto denouncing the Bolshevik-like leadership of the new leaders of Czechoslovakia's Communist Party. Throughout the Thirties and Forties, he continued to edit and write for various journals, along with being actively involved with anti-Nazi publications and other resistance activities during World War II. When he was forced to leave the field of journalism in 1949, due to the Communist takeover, he turned completely to his poetry and prose, this time mainly writing childrens' literature and things with apolitical themes. He was awarded state prizes for his writing in 1936, 1955, and 1968. Much of his work had to be published abroad or underground after the Communist takeover, and he spoke out against this regime and the Soviet invasion of 1968 as vociferously as he had spoken against the Nazis during their earlier occupation of his country. He was Czechoslovakia's National Artist in 1967, Chairman of the Czechoslovakian Writers' Union from 1968-70, and winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1984. Because he was too ill and old to travel to Sweden, his daughter Jana accepted the award on his behalf. Frequent themes of Seifert's poems are memories of his childhood and his birthplace Zizkov (a suburb of Prague), his love for his native land, his anger and sadness over what happened to it under the Nazi occupation (though he himself wasn't Jewish, he wrote some poems dealing with the destruction of the Jewish community there, along with the famous Old Jewish Cemetery), and his positive celebration of women and sexuality. The only Czech to ever win the Nobel Prize for Literature, today he is still very beloved by the Czech people, held as one of their great national poets, as well as having a high school named after him.
Bio by: Carrie-Anne