As a poet, Pavol Horov followed in his poetry tradition of modern Slovak poetry, represented by Ivan Krasko and Laco Novomeský. His poems were inspired by Symbolism, Poetism and Surrealism and he tended to create his own individual style and poetics. He is often considered as a “poet of home”, as the key motif of his poems is his homeland around Zemplín area and the planes of Eastern Slovakia.
Such a tight connection to a land of his childhood is reflected in his poetry in using poetic language and elements Eastern Slovakia (Zemplín area) local dialects: a key word being “valal” marking the internal intimate space of home. The second key motif and a basic ethical constant is mother.
In poetic works of Pavol Horov we can identify three periods. The first period could be defined during 1940s, when he reacted to the horrors of the war and human suffering in his collections of poems Zradné vody spodné (Treacherous Ground Waters) (1940), Nioba matka naša (Niobe, Our Mother) (1942) and Defilé (A Celebratory March) (1947, with a Lyric-Epic cycle Panta rei (Panta Rhei)). The second period is created by his so called “sunny” collections of poems: Moje poludnie (My Afternoon) (1952), Slnce nad nami (The Sun Above Us) (1954) and Vysoké letné nebe (High Summer Sky) (1960). His last collection of poems Balada o sne (Ballade on a Dream) (1960) was followed by books Koráby z Janova (Ships from Genoa) (1966) and Ponorná rieka (Subterranean River) (1972), inspired by his impressions from his journey to Italy and elements of self-reflexion and evaluation of life.
Pavol Horov is considered to be an important innovator of poetic language. Among the typical characteristics of his work is the use of Eastern Slovakia dialect, using a contrast of abstract and concrete or domestic and loaned expressions. He used Antique and Biblical expressions to emphasize the symbolic and mythical level of his poetical expression that had a strong humanistic character.
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