Ján Smrek (real name Ján Čietek) (1898-1982), poet, National Artist, translator, journalist and cultural organiser
Ján Smrek was a journalist, from 1925 to 1930, editor-in-chief of Narodné noviny in Martin, and from 1930 to 1939 editor with the Leopold Mazáč publishing house in Prague. Exponent of a poetry of vitality and immediacy (Galloping Days/Cválajúce dni, Divine Knots/Božské uzly, Only Eyes/Iba oči, Poet and Woman/Básnik a žena), in the Second World War he promoted the sanctity of human life (The Feast/Hostina, The Well/Studňa). In subsequent work he celebrated the natural world and returned to the motifs of his early poetry (Image of the World/Obraz sveta, Strings/Struny). His other work included books of verse for children (among them, Blotches/Machule), memoirs (Poetry My Love/Poézia moja láska) and translations of Hungarian, French and Russian poetry. He was founder and editor of the review Elán and, from 1925 to 1937, of the Young Slovak Writers imprint of the Mazáč publishing house. After moving to Bratislava in 1939 he was also publisher of the monthly Elán, around which he managed to gather most Slovak writers and which he made into a mirror of the nation's cultural life. The kernel of his work, however, remains his own poetry. He was named National Artist in 1966.