Ivan Martin Jirous

Ivan Martin Jirous bigraphy, stories - czech writer

Ivan Martin Jirous : biography

September 23, 1944 – November 10, 2011

Ivan Martin Jirous (September 23, 1944 – November 10, 2011) was a Czech poet, best known for being the artistic director of the Czech psychedelic rock group The Plastic People of the Universe and later one of the organizers of the Czech underground during the communist regime. He is also known more frequently as Magor, which can be roughly translated as "loony" or "blockhead" and is supposedly derived from "phantasmagoria". This nickname was given to him by the "experimental" poet Eugen Brikcius. His wife, Věra Jirousová, wrote a good deal of the Plastics’ early lyrics.

Trained as an art historian but unable to work as such under the Communist regime in then Czechoslovakia, Magor/Jirous was a member of the dissident subculture there. His particular contribution to Czech dissidence was his work on the concept of the "Parallel Polis," or "Second Culture." Magor believed that simply expressing oneself through art could ultimately undermine the totalitarian system.

He was friends with Václav Havel, and is mentioned several times in Havel’s Letters to Olga.