This ballad is based on Havel's recollections of an early experience in his life as a writer, which he recounts in his book "Disturbing the Peace."





score: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14


Songs for Vaclav Havel




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The Ballad of Havel's Literary Debut




Young Communist progressives, relatively speaking,

Start a magazine supposed to be the cutting edge.

So Havel picks up a copy, and he gets the impression

that they may have good intentions, but they don't have a clue.


For one thing, they don't know about the older generation

who revitalized poetry and whose works are suppressed.

So Havel writes them a letter, and he points out a few things

about what they don't know, because it wasn't taught in school.


And then to his surprise, they publish his letter,

and they even invite him to their writing conference.

He feels a little weird about bout joining this group,

but it's the first time he's been published, so he says, "Why not?"


When he gets to the conference, they ask if anyone there

has anything to say, but no one is prepared.

So he puts up his hand and he delivers a talk

that he's carefully drafted, and he lays it all out.


He reveals a literary world that they don't know about 

because the authors are banned or at best they are ignored.

Now the whole writers' conference is taking its cue

from what Havel had to say and the reaction he drew.


So now he's on the map.

He's got a reputation

as a trouble maker to be reckoned with.