Tag Archives: letters

A Poetic Odyssey for İlhan Berk

ilhan berkThe Gümüşlük Academy in Turkey is commemorating the first anniversary of İlhan Berk’s death with a touring “Poetry Bus”. The poetry bus begins its three-day tour around the Bodrum area tomorrow, 26 August, and will celebrate the life and work of İlhan Berk, poet and painter, who died on 28 August last year in Bodrum. The tour will also celebrate two of the regions other distinguished poets, Ece Ayhan and Can Yucel. The program of events includes talks, poetry readings and discussions.

Poets taking their seats on the poetry bus include: Sina Akyol, Hüseyin Alemdar, Orhan Alkaya, Oruç Aruoba, Salih Aydemir, Salih Bolat, Ahmet Bozkurt, Metin Cengiz, Hüseyin Avni Cınazoğlu, Gökçenur Ç, Nevzat Çelik, Mehmet Can Doğan, Deniz Durukan, Enver Ercan, Haydar Ergülen, Seyhan Erözçelik, Tekin Gönenç, Ahmet Günbaş, Günseli İnal, küçük İskender, Mahir Karayazı, Metin Kaygalak, Tuğrul Keskin, Önder Kızılkaya, Seyithan Kömürcü, Zeynep Köylü, Akif Kurtulmuş, Namık Kuyumcu, Altay Öktem, Hüseyin Peker, Yücelay Sal, Sezai Sarıoğlu, Asuman Susam, Halim Yazıcı, Neşe Yaşın, Hayri K Yetik, Hilmi Yavuz.

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Radio Aktif’s Radyo Film program will also be celebrating the life and work of İlhan Berk in a special commemorative broadcast on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 21:15 and 24:00 (Turkish local time). Listeners can tune in from around the world at www.aktifradyo.com.tr

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The Poetry of Deena Linett

Deena LinettAnyone unfamiliar with the poetry of Deena Linett might like to try these two new poems at la fovea. Deena Linett is one of the most compelling poets I’ve read in years. Her two collections are Rare Earths (2001) and Woman Crossing a Field (2006) both published in New York by BOA Editions. Her craft and concision draw us close to the source of poetry’s self-making and in these two fine poems we’re reminded how fragile that balance of sense and sound can be, and how necessary it is when the balance is right.

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The Argotist Online

ilhan berkYou can now find five Ilhan Berk poems, newly translated into English, at The Argotist Online. Click the link to go straight to the poems.

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A Night Belonging to People

1. The air smells of apple.

2. For no accountable reason a bird called Friday hit the window.

3. A yellow bat left its perch and stopped on the train track.

4. A cloudy lightness you say…

5. Rivers trees grasses.

6. A night belonging to people.

Nude by İlhan Berk

From Madrigals by İlhan Berk, translated by George Messo

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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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The Jolly Diner

Sir Isaiah BerlinThe reputation of Isaiah Berlin, that “charming, witty, urbane” and “brilliantly talkative” man, takes a thrashing in A.N. Wilson’s merciless TLS review. The books under discussion are Enlightening: Letters 1946-1960 and The Book of Isaiah, a collection of personal impressions from those who knew the big man. I never got on with Berlin. His undernourished ideas cast long shadows into the gloom of my undergraduate years. Berlin was a big name lacking a big book. It’s refreshing to read Wilson saying what many have long thought, “…that the author of The Hedgehog and the Fox was not worthy to lick the boots of the author of Philosophical Investigations.”

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