The page of Rúfus, Milan, English Reception
ReceptionCHARACTERISTICS OF HIS WRITING
The work of Milan Rúfus is one of the most expressive poetic phenomena in Slovak literature. His first published collection of poetry (Boy being his real début) When We Have Matured was a breakthrough in Slovak poetry, marking a departure from declarative poetry and schematism to innovation in both form and content. Rúfus introduced himself as a poet with an autonomous view of existential and moral values; of truth, beauty, suffering and tragedy of man and life in the second half of the 20th century. The philosophical potential of his work was underlined by clear stylisation, perfect form, and precise metaphors with rich subtext. He sang of the ambivalent character of the times, the world, of man and of the far reaching connections between events, behaviour, perception, and acquisition as well as of the ambivalent nature of man’s inner world.
M. Martinček’s photographs of Rúfus’s home region Liptov as well as of the Tatra Mountains inspired the poet to create the collections People in the Mountains, Cradle and The Forest. The paintings of Ľ. Fulla inspired his collections A Cradle Sings to Children and Music of Shapes while the paintings of M. A. Bazovský gave him inspiration to write the collection A Search for an Image.
His books for children represent a separate field. Rúfus creates a masterfully imagined world filled with love, purity of relationships, understanding and perception of things, phenomena and actions, justice and truth, moral values. His little prayers’ became very popular with Slovak readers, young and old, and they are often read even in church.
The work of Milan Rúfus achieves a unique unity of life and poetry. Rúfus has created poetical transcendence because he tries to change the indifferent world to a world of humanity. In spite of tragedy there is joy hidden at the very bottom of his poetry, from the depths of a sad song, very often a ballad, there is a silent and pure chord of joy emerging on the surface.
ON THE AUTHOR
Rufus created with his debut When We Have Matured a milestone in contemporary Slovak poetry. It was a counter-weight to surrealistic games of dreams and most of all it differed totally from the schematic-declarative “lyrics” of that “constrictive” Stalinist period... Rúfus’s poetry has become a persistent corrective in the world’s crazy merry-go-round. It doesn’t adjust to it, but it resists, having found support in anthropological human constants. (Štefan Drug)
Rúfus is a poet of unusual moral strength, never accepting the regime of the communist totality. In his poetry and essays, however, he reflected first of all the moral crisis of today’s man against the background of the crisis in today’s civilization. The heroism and uniqueness of his attitude is based on his search for a medicine against this disintegration and decay of mankind. (Wiliam Marčok)
State Prize for Literature (1970)
Golden Key International Prize (1990)
Order of T. G. Masaryk (1991)
Order of Ľ. Štúr of First Class (1993)
Honorable Doctor of Literature (1998)
Struga Festival Prize (2001)