Tag Archives: Translation

Yellow Dog

By Ömer Faruk Toprak

Yellow Dog Crying by MagerlIn Edremit, on the north facing slopes of Mount Kaz, winter lasts seven months. On the western sides the weather is warmer, and for nine months brings to the people there a spring-like climate. At eight hundred meters the cold, cool air increases. The people of these parts, more especially the villagers and shepherds, know well the coldness, the ill-minded winds of this mountain, and they’re keen to sense them coming. In these winds the sheep are driven into hay barns for shelter. There are seven types of mountain grass, and you’d be surprised to see mountain flowers you’d never seen elsewhere. Continue reading


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Zafer Ekin Karabay


silently secretly morning light unfolds,
spilling out over rooftops: to the face
of an old man drinking coffee on a broken chair,
to the simit hidden beneath its seller’s knitted
cloth, to the little finger of a child’s gloved
hand and to the city’s newly moving traffic.

but to others it never extends: the hands
laying hold to nihilism, a few books and
rock music, to a fragmented revolt
and the in-between-me that it doesn’t see.
beside me: sounds, barely distinct — i must
have left my radio on — i look out onto
the world from the vacuum of an apartment:
john lennon leaning on a wall smiling still.

Zafer Ekin Karabay
Translated by George Messo

Zafer Ekin KarabayZafer Ekin Karabay was born in Kayseri, Turkey, in 1975. He was a graduate of Ankara University’s faculty of law and later taught at Eskisehir University. His poems, film reviews and essays were widely published. In 1999 he won the Yaşar Nabi Nayır Prize for young poets and received the Special Jury Award for the Arkadaş Z. Özger Poetry Prize in 2000. He committed suicide on 13 September, 2002, two and a half months before the publication of his first and only book, Şubatta Saklambaç (February Hide & Seek).

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Berk at Shadowtrain

ilhan berkFour new translations of Ilhan Berk can be read online, in the September/October issue of Shadowtrain.

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Remembering the Master

Remembering the MasterIt’s exactly one year to the day since that seemingly unstoppable man of letters, Ilhan Berk, died in his beloved town of Bodrum. I was in Yemen when the news finally reached me on August 31. I’d been up in the mountains near Kawkaban with Zeeshan, firing Kalashnikovs at olive cans and taking a tour of the ghat farms south of Shibam. It was one of those disembodied Middle East days, when the intense summer heat stirs each living soul into a post-noon trance and everything levitates two feet off the ground. We came down with a crash in San’a when I opened my mail and read the news from Ilhan’s son.

So here we are, one year on. For me, it’s been a year filled with Ilhan Berk: his epic poetic trilogy, The Book of Things, is due from Salt any day now; the anthology Ikinci Yeni: The Turkish Avant-Garde, with a broad selection from his work, is coming from Shearsman in November; Inferno, a new book of diaries, journals, essays and poems, is penciled in for 2010.

A Leaf About to FallAnd here, in celebration of his life and work, in the garden of Translation House, I’m giving a short reading from my 2006 translation, A Leaf About to Fall. We’ve had a sprinkling of rain, followed by a firm, cool breeze waking the walnut tree. In the deep black beyond the reach of the few candles lighting my seat, I like to think there’s another ear, turning in the wet grass, hungry for that other song. It’s as good a place as any to find the master.

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Translation House, Switzerland

panoramaI finally arrived two days ago at the magnificent Ǜbersetzerhaus Looren, situated near the Swiss hill village of Wernetshausen, east of Zurich. I’m here in this spectacular location to prepare the final manuscript of Ikinci Yeni: The Turkish Avant-Garde, due from Shearsman Books this November. And with that wonderful panorama (above) facing me everyday, the hard work is in turning away and keeping my eyes on the books. The garden is a riot of greens – and coming from Saudi Arabia, what a blast that is to the senses – peppered with vibrant yellows and purples, brilliant whites and pinks of wild flowers fringing the lawn. There is a small vegetable plot and a herb garden next to the house, and as the storms rolled in last night I sat out there under hazels getting slowly soaked in the rain and the scents of jasmine and thyme – the first rain I’ve seen for eight months.

I’m also here to work on a small book of poems by Zafer Ekin Karabay. Zafer was a remarkable young man and a gifted poet. We first met back in 1999, playing table-football in a café in Ankara. Next month, 13 September, sees the seventh anniversary of his death. He died, by his own hand, two and a half months before the release of his first book of poems, Şubatta Saklambaç.

So, Switzerland. There are three fresh peaches ripening on my desk. If the sun comes out (and I’m hoping it doesn’t – you can really miss clouds you know!), I’ll eat the first for Iftar. Allah kabul etsin. Before then, and while the sun is still a stranger to my fruit, I’m going out into the garden again…

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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.


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 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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