Daily Archives: August 6, 2009

İlhan Berk in Conversation

ilhan_Berk2Why the Book of Things: House?

Above all I want to start with the things I’ve experienced, been intimate with, known. Perhaps that’s why the house became a subject. I’ve said it before in conversation, objects fascinate me. I can’t just call paper, for example, paper. It’s love that binds me to it. I can’t simply look on those things I love, like the pens and papers on my desk or any other thing, without feeling. In fact, I personalize them, view them as intimates. For a long time I’ve wanted to write about the table. It’s the same with my study. At a certain time I move into the salon, but such is my relationship that as I leave my study, closing the door, I say “farewell then” to the room. The house is the same. I wanted to write about it because it’s a place I’ve experienced and known.

With this book your adventure, your exploration in writing continues…

First I ought to say that I seldom conceal the workings of the poems or essays that I’ve written. But if I am to conceal it, it’s on the paper to hand I conceal those deeply felt things of use to me in what I’ve written. Otherwise it doesn’t occur to me to hide what I want to say. But it’s in the nature of writing, that things get hidden, concealed, obscured, and you see it in this book. Within one vast page sometimes you see three lines, sometimes you find four, sometimes nothing at all. But the very next day you feel you can just about grasp the end of a sentence you looked at previously. At these times, yes, I’m hiding the work, and underlining it in those lines.

Could we read the book as a kind of “Dictionary of İlhan Berk”?

I’ve never been able to avoid it. I want to put a name to the notebooks in which I’ve collected my prose, and I imagine it will be called “Auto-I”. It’s as if there is an entirely separate person living with me and we’re both bound to each other in some terrifying way. I want to say that I’ve never been free of my identity. So in some books I’ve wanted to use things like a “Berk Dictionary”. I want to create my own universe. The poet wants to place himself at the centre of reality. That’s to say, in a poem, in a piece of writing, I want the writer to be seen. Only then do I feel that art has been made. I want the reader to be with me, to know and to feel as I do. That’s when I think the work acquires real meaning. Continue reading

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