Gonca Özmen in Shearsman 100

Shearsman 99/100Shearsman Magazine’s next double issue will be its 100th. This issue contains poetry by Gabrielle Alioth, Martin Anderson, James Bell, Linda Black, Rosie Breese, Geraldine Clarkson, Ken Cockburn & Alec Finlay, Claire Crowther, Makyla Curtis, Harry Guest, Gary Hotham, David Kennedy, Peter Larkin, Mary Leader, Yann Lovelock, Becka Mara McKay, Christopher Middleton, Helen Moore, Sonia Overall, Simon Perchik, Peter Riley, Alexandra Sashe, Hilda Sheehan & translations of Gastón Baquero by Peter Boyle, of Ivano Fermini by Ian Seed, and of Gonca Özmen by George Messo.

For more info & to order your copy, go to the newly designed Shearsman website here.

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Filed under Gonca Özmen, Poetry of the Middle East, Sufism, Turkish Poetry, World Literature

Muharrem Erbey

Muharrem ErbeyThe trial of human rights lawyer, writer and PEN Turkey member Muharrem Erbey is set to resume on 3 February 2014, after the trial against him and 80 other defendants descended into chaos during a 13 January 2014 hearing. PEN International is reiterating its calls for his immediate and unconditional release along with all others who are imprisoned solely for peacefully expressing their views. Read more by going to PEN International

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Filed under Censorship, Political discussion

OUT NOW!

Turkish Poetry Today 2014OUT NOW! Turkish Poetry Today 2014, with stunning poetry by Güven Turan, Asaf Hâlet Çelebi, Melih Cevdet Anday, Lâle Müldür, Sami Baydar, and Bedri Rahmi Eyuboğlu. Among the translators: Ruth Christie, Murat Nemet-Nejat, Mevlüt Ceylan, and Clifford Endres. A one-of-a-kind bilingual journal of modern and contemporary Turkish poetry edited annually by George Messo, Şenol Bezci, T. Kenny Fountain, and Fahri Öz. Order your copy now, from over 100 online bookstores worldwide.

See more Red Hand Books at rhbks.com

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Filed under Poetry of the Middle East, Travels, Turkish Poetry, World Literature

George Messo and his Authors

George Messo[1]Here is a very short interview with me talking about translation on the Authors & Translators blog. Click the link for more.

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Filed under Gonca Özmen, ilhan Berk, Orhan Veli, Poetry of the Middle East, Turkish Poetry, World Literature

NIGHT LOOKS TO THE EAST

I

…sentences began with Syrian merchants.
Much later I opened a window facing the river.
A wounded woodcock came in.

I woke to the sounds of rough Latin.

II

We fell from the middle of a book, medium-sized sentences in search of our place, in a city we didn’t know (for the city’s name was nowhere to be seen) all through the night we wandered. It looked like London, but it wasn’t, that’s for sure; how could we be so sure? Nowhere did the Thames bridges suddenly appear; no Oxford Street, no Hyde Park; it looked like Istanbul but it wasn’t Istanbul; it could have been Venice, Amsterdam, canals everywhere, water, everything living on water, but it wasn’t; maybe Baghdad, Delhi, Peking; the three of us kept our eyes to the floor and didn’t speak; but fireflies, birds, playing cards, ants, suspension bridges, Carthage – yes, Carthage – dinosaurs, dogs, water ways, sewers, water flies and bandages all caught around our ankles and kept stopping us and still we couldn’t find our place on pages.
Maybe our existence was prescribed.
We were cast off.

III

We were in a Palace of Delights, then moved to a House of Dotage.

IV

I’d undress you.
Your feathery nudity would hit a cloud and stop.
(I couldn’t reach out.)

V

O word transformers!
You stopped giving news from above.

VI

Sentences are being destroyed…

The world belongs
To ovals and circles!

ILHAN BERK
from The Book of Things (2009), translated by George Messo

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Filed under ilhan Berk, Poetry of the Middle East, Turkish Poetry, World Literature

SLUG

From out-
side it looks as if it inscribes a circle but when time comes to close back in from whence it came suddenly it retracts both ends of the line and darts inside.
A bungalow.
Spherical.
Shape of shapes.
You see it resembles nothing other than itself.
But if we must compare it to something, then let’s say a restless water drop.
(Armoured, solid, luminous)
In a shell as thin as a membrane and so strong, transparent
A spiral
Alluring.
When you touch its shell with your forefinger:
- Ping!
you’ll hear a sound. Or
— Crack!
when it’s broken.
When you take it and look at it in your hand you’ll see it creates a spiral bandage which wraps its beautiful shell like a ball.
(Fast growing and discarded.)

ILHAN BERK
from The Book of Things (2009), translated by George Messo

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Ilhan Berk Remembered

ilhan BerkAugust 28 marks the fifth anniversary of ilhan Berk’s death. In remembrance and celebration of his life and work Nurol Art Gallery in Bodrum, Turkey, will host a memorial exhibition of the poet’s paintings and drawings. This year also sees the opening of a museum devoted to Berk in his former house.

Tomorrow I’ll share some of my favourite ilhan Berk poems here on the blog and post details of upcoming books and translation projects for 2014 and beyond.

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Filed under Art, ilhan Berk, Poetry of the Middle East, Turkish Poetry, World Literature