Category Archives: Censorship

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

Coming soon…

Turkish Poetry Today 2013From July 1 the debut issue of Turkish Poetry Today is in more than 100 online bookstores worldwide. Edited by George Messo, with Senol Bezci, Fahri Oz and T. Kenny Fountain. The 2013 issue includes poems by Bejan Matur, Zeynep Koylu, Necmi Zeka, Melih Cevdet Anday, Polat Onat, and Murathan Mungan, in translations by Ruth Christie, Mel Kenne, Sidney Wade, and more, all side-by-side with the Turkish originals. 150 pages of stunning, vital poetry.

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

Oh Yeah Now That’s a Table

A man filled with life’s joy
Placed his keys on the table
Put down flowers in a copper bowl
Put down his milk, his eggs
Placed light coming from the window there
Sound of a bicycle, sound of a spinning wheel
He placed there the softness of weather and bread

On the table the man
Put things that occurred in his mind
Whatever he wanted to do in life
He placed it there
Who he loved, who he didn’t love

The man put them too on the table
Three times three equals nine
The man placed nine on the table
He was next to the window next to the sky
He reached out placed infinity on the table
For days he’d wanted to drink a beer
He put the pouring of beer onto the table
He put down his sleep his wakefulness
Placed there his fullness his hunger

Oh yeah now that’s a table
Never once complained about the load
Once or twice it shook then stopped
That man kept putting things on.


Edip Cansever
Translated by George Messo


Taken from Ikinci Yeni: The Turkish Avant-Garde (2009), edited & translated by George Messo.

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Filed under Censorship, Poetry of the Middle East, Political discussion, Turkish Poetry, World Literature

Edip Cansever Censored

Edip Cansever by Metin ElogluAccording to the Turkish daily newspaper Hurriyet (Feb 13, 2013) two verses from Edip Cansever’s poem “Table” have been cut from the National Education Ministry’s high school poetry textbook. The offending verses have been axed because they contain the word “beer”. It’s the latest in a disturbing trend among the overseers of Turkey’s moral well-being. Previously Amin Malouf’s Samarkand was investigated for allegedly being “vulgar and insulting” to Islam. You can read the full story, in English, at this link: Hurriyet. And in the post above you can read my translation of “Table” by Edip Cansever, in full.

Also on the theme of censorship, Turkish Airlines’ inflight magazine Skylife was recently fined for censoring an article by the well-known writer Buket Uzuner. In her article about the district of Moda, Uzuner criticized the Istanbul Municipality for its ban on the sale of alcohol in the district. Uzuner’s criticism was cut from the June 2009 edition of Skylife without her permission. A court ruling in Uzuner’s favour ordered THY to cancel the June 2009 edition and republish the original article in full. See the Feb 23, 2013 edition of Hurriyet here.

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Filed under Censorship, Poetry of the Middle East, Political discussion, Turkish Poetry, Uncategorized, World Literature