Tag Archives: Turkish Poetry

George Messo reads Water Clock by Ilhan Berk

Letters & SoundsClick the image to listen


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Filed under ilhan Berk, Poetry of the Middle East, Sufism, 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

& Silk & Love & Flame

& Silk & Love & Flame

My new translation of Birhan Keskin’s poetry, & Silk & Love & Flame, is fresh off the press from Arc Publications in England. It carries this fabulous endorsement from Mary Jo Bang: “These highly original poems are marked by a daring self-assurance paired with an eerie emotional precision. Birhan Keskin erases the delicate line between matter and consciousness and lays bare, in the clearest possible terms, what it is to be alive. In the ravishing world of these poems, every atom is perceived, every molecule insists we are one with the things we love: a black river, a curtain of rain, the silk slats of an open fan. George Messo has made us a gift by bringing these poems across into English.”

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

Threewells Street

A whole long day I watched the sea. Great sea.
Storms gathered in. I sat and chiseled out

a skiff. A road lapped its way to the sea,
later going down behind Pazardağ. Barely seen.

A Greek ship off shore was slowing, putting anchor down.
Aganta! I shouted suddenly. The sea echoed back.

The city was water. Water everywhere. Water, water, water.
I threw a fish into the air and the skiff bowed under me.

– The day’s shortened, air sharp as a knife! I said.
Then I got up and headed off for Threewells Street.


İlhan Berk
Translated by George Messo


Taken from İkinci Yeni: The Trukish Avant-Garde, 2009, published by Shearsman Books.

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


The four of us were taken in the park,
Me, Orhan, Oktay, Şinasi too…
It seems to be autumn
Some of us in coats, some in jackets
The trees behind us are leafless…
Oktay’s father hasn’t yet died,
I don’t have a moustache,
Orhan hasn’t yet met Süleyman Efendi.

But I never was that gloomy;
What is it in this picture that recalls death?
Still, we’re all alive.

Melih Cevdet Anday
Translated by George Messo

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

Literary Translation from Arabic, Hebrew and Turkish

Literature Across Frontiers has published a new study: Literary Translation from Arabic, Hebrew and Turkish in the UK and Ireland, 1990 – 2010.

You can download the media release here from the LAF website.

And you can download the complete study on the Making Literature Travel series research page here.

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Filed under ilhan Berk, Turkish Poetry

Books, I’m Giving Them Away!

It’s been a lean few months for updates. 2009 was a bumper year for books and all three of my new titles are now available through Amazon.co.uk. Hearing Still arrived sometime around June, and that was followed by an anthology of innovative modern poetry, İkinci Yeni: The Turkish Avant-Garde. Anyone with an interest in İlhan Berk, and the milieu of mid-century modernism will find plenty to engage here. In one important sense the anthology puts flesh on that phrase “Second New”, which many have read time and again in connection with modern Turkish verse. There are generous selections from all of the major Second New poets, an informative introduction and Turkish/English bibliographies of each poet’s work. Both books are from Tony Frazer’s pioneering Shearsman Books.

Coming closely after the İkinci Yeni anthology, İlhan Berk’s massive poetic trilogy, The Book of Things, finally arrived from Salt. Who could begin to describe the work of a poet as singular and eccentric as Berk? The Book of Things distils the very essence of Berk’s worldview, in just over 250 pages of scintillating summersaults, jigs and eye-bending parabolas.

And here’s the thing! I’ll mail a free copy of any of my new books to anyone who would like to write a review, anywhere in the world, be it for publication in print, online, or for a blog. Just drop me a line to say which book (or books) you want and where you want to post your review.

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Filed under Turkish Poetry