Welcome to the Prague Summer Program blog. 2013 is our twentieth anniversary, and we will herein celebrate the incredible talent that has passed through the program since Prague was first called “the Left Bank of the 90s.” Nearly 2000 students and faculty have composed the PSP, and their publications over the past two decades would fill a bookstore! This space will attempt to reflect at least a small portion of the luminous and varied talents of the PSP family. We will publish anecdotes and testimonials, as well as poems, stories, and personal essays.
I offer up (in the next post), in the spirit of inauguration, an essay I wrote several years ago, one in which I meditate, most of the time with my tongue in my cheek, on issues of quality, quality control. It’s titled “Czech, Italian, Mexican Cuisine,” and is about my relation to Czech culture and the Prague Summer Program. The tone seems a bit harsh to me now, though I stand by it. It’s from a time when my ex-wife was the PSP in-country coordinator, and I must say that my mood regarding things Czech has brightened considerably since she disengaged her considerable talents from the program!
The Prague Summer Program has existed for most of the years since the Velvet Revolution, and it has changed in character even as Prague has changed, as the relationships between Czechs and Americans, Czechs and the world, have changed. Prague has transformed from being the capital of a tiny country in which a tiny though incredibly beautiful and literarily replete language is spoken, into a truly international city that has shed most vestiges of a provinciality imposed by more than forty years of totalitarian rule. An entire generation of Czechs for whom the Velvet Revolution is history are now the driving cultural force of Prague, and many perceive themselves as European primarily, and Czech secondarily.
Let this space resonate with the passions and, yes, the ambivalences, we feel about that incredibly beautiful city and its sometimes dour, often droll, always ironic, beautiful people.