Václav Hrabě

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Václav Hrabě

Václav Hrabě (June 13, 1940, Příbram, Czechoslovakia – March 5, 1965, Prague, Czechoslovakia) was a Czech poet and writer, and the most important member of the Beat Generation in former Czechoslovakia.


Hrabě was born in Příbram to Jan Hrabě and Magdalena Kalinová. He spent his childhood and youth in Lochovice and attended a high school in nearby Hořovice. He graduated in 1957 and moved to Prague, where he continued his education at the Faculty of Pedagogy, studying Czech language and History. After graduation from the university in 1961 he served two years in the army. Upon his discharge he worked in a variety of jobs - as laborer, librarian, writer for the literary magazine Tvář (Face), and finally as teacher.

Hrabě's untimely death at the age of twenty-five (he died in his sleep, accidentally poisoned by carbon monoxide), robbed Czech literature of the most important poet of his generation. Hrabě is buried in Lochovice.

He was briefly married (1962–64), and his son is Jan Miškovský.

In 1965 Hrabě met and interviewed American poet Allen Ginsberg during his visit to Prague.


Hrabě's poetry, like the writings of other Beat Generation writers, was greatly influenced by jazz and blues music. He taught himself to play on clarinet and saxophone, and played with student bands.


Hrabě debuted in 1962 in the magazine Universita Karlova (Charles University), and some of his poems were also published in army magazines Zápisník, Československý voják and Obrana lidu. As a collection, his poems were published only after his death, however. It was primarily thanks to Miroslav Kovářík that Hrabě's poetry became widely known to his peers. Kovařík began promoting Hrabě as early as in 1965. Between 1965 – 1967 he dedicated literary evenings to Hrabě at the Docela malé divadlo (Just a Small Theater) in Litvínov; later he edited and helped publish Hrabě's poetry in several editions. Some of Hrabě's poems were also set to music in the 1980s by Vladimír Mišík.

Poetry (publication dates in brackets):

  • Stop-time (1969)
  • Blues v modré a bílé (1977)
  • Korunovační blues (1981)
  • Černé nebe nad městem (1985)
  • Blues pro bláznivou holku (1990)
  • Blues (1995, 1999)

Other works:

  • Horečka - short story (1967, 1994)
  • Margot – theatre play (autograph lost)


  • Štěpán Kučera: Zpěvák blues. Divoké víno 15 (2005)

External links (in Czech only)[edit]