After my first publication ever, over at Poet Head, i got a friend request from a chap called Neil Patrick Doherty, over on the Facebook. i accepted. Neil lives in Istanbul & has done for a long time, if memory serves, 20 years or so. He is a translator of Turkish poems into English. He has made hundreds of translations. Along with his colleagues Mel Kenne & İdil Karacadağ they edit the journal Turkish Poetry Today. Neil has introduced me to so many important poets & thinkers i really wanted to show my support, so i have ordered a copy.

This issue, the 5th Vol, focuses on Gülten Akın, most of the poems featured come from her final book If you ask about me. Akin died in 2015. i have read a number of Neil’s translations of Akin’s work & it is incredible; so i just had to order my copy.

In addition there is an equilibrium of male & female contemporary poets, who i have not heard of & am very eager to get to know. When i asked Neil, he told me “the general poetry section is a mix of very new work from journals (Çayan Okuduci for example) and older poets like Sezai Karakoç (the leading Islamic poet in the country) and Metin Cengiz and Enis Batur. We also have a good gender balance with lots of woman poets like Süreyya Aaylin, Antmen, Birhan Keskin, Nilay Özer, Lale Müldür etc.”

i want to avoid sounding like a self-professed expert, what i know about Turkey i can fit in the palm of my hand; in my conversations with Neil (from which i have learned everything i know) he has expressed (directly to me & indirectly though the posts & links he puts up) how important poetry is in Turkish culture, lines of poetry are found written on the walls of Istanbul; i even recall him saying somewhere that it was chanted during protests. Writers are still thrown into prison, the universities still targeted, Erdogan’s government still seems to fear the potential poetry & literature have to stir revolt. Neil explained to me the cultural & political tension, informing the poetry with an intensity i certainly feel in Neil’s translations. Neil also told me there are no art’s councils, no grants of any sort for artists.  &  “most poets do not work in nice creative writing sinecures.”

i wish i could say more about Turkish poetry, maybe in time, after speaking with Neil & reading more; but for now, i just want to spread the word, get people gravitating to this journal. i see how little exposure world lit gets, especially poetry & it is a crime, it really is, especially when the poetry is so accomplished. The editors & translators at Turkish Poetry Today are one of a kind, they are there in the country (boots on the ground) meeting the poets & translating their poems so we can read them, their work is that of a dedicated servant to important works of literature. It needs to be supported & recognized for the addition it is to the literary oeuvre of the world. i can’t wait to get my copy.

You can buy it here, over at Amazon.

Posted by:DPM

DPM is an idea-logue (sic) and object-oriented speculative realist, attempting to be response-able in an irresponse-able society.

16 thoughts on “Turkish Poetry Today

  1. I didn’t think you would have a Facebook presence. I have a profile just to promote my posts, too. I started getting involved in the social back and forth for a bit then realized how angry these people get, so I stopped doing anything more than check comments on my WordPress links. It’s not too bad, for that. I just sent you a friend request. Cheers!

    1. Actually, promoting stuff on Facebook is useless for me, most my old friends & family don’t really have an interest in what i write, i don’t mind so much. i have a Facebook because i live very far from home & i can speak in real time to a few people i miss. WordPress is where i get any attention for writing. i write a few things at Facebook, it is a good tool.

      1. I joined a few Writer’s Groups and found myself asking and giving advice. It’s amazing how being in a high volume site increases exposure. I quickly amassed hundreds of “friends”. Recently I asked for a critique on my arbitrary use of the semicolon in my pieces and got very few responses, but several hits traced to Facebook on my WP stats. In the meantime it generated dozens of requests for friendships that are still ongoing. It’s an interesting machine. Twitter is the same. I enjoy trying to figure out the algorithm and see its response to random manipulations.

  2. Good morning Daniel.

    I have taken a step back, looked at my recent comments on your posts – also your Facebook threads – and realised that all I’ve been doing is dropping snippit little snarks on you. I apologise unreservedly, and can only plead that this is typical of my mood-changes and won’t last. But while it does, I’m going to take a further step back and refrain from commenting until I can function with more of my brain than the bit that produces sarcasm. However, I’m (obviously) going to keep on visiting, reading, and signalling my presence by hitting the ‘like’ button. Please bear with me until I am back in full comment mode.

    By the way, I have my copy of ‘isacoustic’ and hope to get round to reading it soon. As for the book of Turkish poetry, whilst I might have too much on my plate at the moment, I shall recommend it to a friend who is a supporter of a project at his university to diversify the range of literature studied. I hope he will take the opportunity to recommend it to the project.

    All the best,

    1. That is fine. i will say though that i haven’t felt like you were being snarky toward me. i have taken nothing to heart in any way. i enjoy my little back n’ forth with you, it keeps me on my toes. i am not a very sensitive person when it comes to criticism. i do however look forward already to your return to commenting, which i do enjoy.
      Enjoy the Isacoustic issue & thanks for your support & encouragement.
      Anything you can do to spread the word about Turkish Poetry Today would be helpful. i have no part in it, other than i am helping out a pal.
      Take it easy.

      1. I shall. Honestly, though, your poems, posts, and essays deserve better than I have been giving lately.

  3. Daniel, thank you for this post. I’m very interested in poetry from other cultures and will pop right over to Amazon for this book.

    1. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed Neil is a fine translator with a very moral character. & Turkish poetry is intense. The poet Gulten Akin is incredible, i have no doubt she will be one of your new favorite poets. I just want to make clear, i don’t benefit monetarily from this i just really want to help my friend who works hard & has a good mind. So thank you for helping me help him & those he works with.

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