Skip to content

Keywords

Articles tagged "Turkish Literature"

First Read: From “Istanbul Istanbul”

Image: From the cover of Istanbul Istanbul (OR Books) Istanbul Istanbul, by Burhan Sönmez and translated by Ümit Hussein, is forthcoming from OR Books. Burhan Sönmez appeared in New York City on April 28 and April 29 as a part of the PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature. Four prisoners—Demirtay the student, the doctor, Kamo the barber, and Uncle Küheylan—held below the streets of Istanbul and subject...

from “The Lost Lands of Paradise”

Aram, I am but a poor, ignorant woman. I have no one. My grandchildren laugh at me. I hear the whispers of the people who come to visit me. "She lived too long. Let her die and be at peace already!" I am unlucky, ignorant, unfortunate, lonely, unhappy, resentful, and angry . . . Aram, what would you do if you could see my miserable life now? Would you put me out of my misery with that shotgun you always had with you? Ah, Aram, the answer to all my questions. If only you knew how much I...

Omaira

The question I left you takes a lifetime to answer dear friend whose linen sleeve smells of blood The master’s gaze is bare, I lean back, untroubled my checkmate at hand, a cyanide solitaire in my ring and these two wayward angels, my groomsmen calling the end of the line, the adventure of the adventure, this love muddled with your name Here, a few hazy images stolen time, cloaked in atlas weft in the shuttle, cherry laurel a province dulled under snow Was it love or adventure, this...

Breaking the Taboo: Turkish Writers Face the Kurdish Past

Istanbul is a booming city these days. Neighborhoods where no one used to venture after dark become “in” areas full of restaurants, cafés, and art  galleries;  old, decrepit buildings are restored and converted into hotels or cultural centers; huge shopping malls pop up at a dizzying pace. The businessmen are optimistic; new projects in arts and culture abound. Similar developments can also be observed in many smaller Turkish cities. For those who care to look...

Translator Relay: Aron Aji

What is your connection to the language(s) you translate from and/or the place(s) where the books you translate are written? I was born in Turkey and translate from Turkish. Raised in a multilingual family, I am not ever sure which language was my native tongue or—unclearer still—my “mother tongue,” since my mother probably spoke Ladino before she spoke Turkish. English is my literary language in which I studied form, style, voice, cadence, and the rest. For my...

To the Islands

She hadn’t seen him since the day when she had bitten his nose and he had chewed on her ear, in a fight over secondhand books. So when, from her comfortable seat on the swing under the mulberry tree, Hazel saw Mutti appear that afternoon, pokerfaced, she didn’t know quite what to do. He came to her and, carefully maintaining his serious expression, said: “I want to take you somewhere.” Under ordinary circumstances, her price for fulfilling this wish of...

The Map

In one of Ankara’s forgotten streets, there is a narrow, dark bookstore. I stop by there every now and then to look at the dusty old books. The moldy old books interest me; the smell of dust gets into the back of my throat there, I chat a little with the old bespectacled bookseller, who sits in a corner at a worm-eaten desk , then I go out into the sunny streets again and walk away. Late one afternoon I went into the bookstore, where the sun rarely penetrates and which has a kind...

Selam Berlin

Hi. My name is Hasan Kazan. In Berlin some people call me Hansi though my parents gave me the name Hasan Selim Khan. Oh yeah, my parents . . . They left Istanbul years ago and moved to West Berlin, the Kreuzberg district. That's where I was born. My parents believed in the West. To them, it meant progress, technology, and jobs. But as my brother Ediz and I grew up and actually started to come into contact with Western values, morals, and schools, my parents changed their minds....

The Knowledge Holder Doesn’t Choke on Cleverness

Feridun Zaimoğlu's Koppstoff: Kanaka Sprak vom Rande der Gesellschaft (1998) presents the fictionalized voices of twenty-six women of Turkish heritage living in Germany. "Koppstoff," which when translated literally means "head material," refers not only to the headscarf worn on the heads of many Muslim women, but also to what is going on in their heads—their thoughts, perspectives and inner lives. ındeed, the book seems to offer readers information "straight from the...

Green Card

The kid was turning his stubby little chest this way and that with his arms stretched wide like the wings of a glider whirling out of control. There were few people on the sidewalk of September 3rd Street and so his mother didn't have to hold the groceries in one hand and him by the other. She let him walk along the side farthest from the road under a regime of partial autonomy. The kid spotted the tin can in Victoria Square at a distance of about ten paces. Previously he had kicked...

Coffee Grinds

"In our house lilies, roses, magnolias, jasmines are blooming, while you are reading fortunes, while I am watching, while I am reading fortunes, while you are watching." 1 People hold hands . . . this one in front, the other by the feet, the other by and by, a tower of people toward the sky. Stretching toward the sky. Trying to catch the flying fish, reach it, to arrive at it. (You're first, of course...) People burning incense in the sky. One of them is holding the fish...

Tante Rosa, Would-be Horse Acrobat

At the age of eleven, Tante Rosa read the following caption beneath a photo of Queen Victoria in cavalry garb, in the weekly family magazine You and Yours: "The eighteen-year-old Queen Victoria inspects the Royal Cavalry Troops. Decked out in a fashionable military cap, spurred boots, and a uniform-like dress, Her Majesty once again conquered the hearts of the cavalry troops and citizenry alike." Shortly after committing to memory the phrase "conquered the hearts" together with the...

Door

Pass through me, I'll remain, I'll wait, pass through me, but where you pass through me I cannot know. I was told, there's a ripe fruit behind the curtain of patience, the world will teach you both patience, and the ripe fruit's taste. They said, you waited like these trees, a vision like these trees, sorrowful like these trees. I was opened, I was closed, opened, closed, I saw those who went as much as those who came, where is the end of patience,...

The Train

Some weekends my parents and I went from Mardin to Syria and stayed in Kamışlı, the town nearest to the Turkish border. Although it was a town, I compared Kamışlı, with its wide, well-kept roads, its big buildings and hotels, to the great cities I'd seen in films and come across illustrated in atlases and encyclopaedias. I remember we stayed in the Semiramis Hotel, then a night club ... it was the first time in my life I'd seen a nightclub. I think it...

The Hidden Me

Here is the photograph. It was taken on the day my father came out of the Diyarbakır Prison. A huge convoy of hundreds was already at the Kızıltepe entrance and cut off my father's path. As before he was lifted high up on their shoulders, accompanied by drums and zurnas. We entered Mardin in a great procession. While he was in prison my mother and I came and went daily to and from Diyarbakır. Going along that road every day in the frightful heat of summer was...

Sacrifice

I bought you a lampshade today just the tip of my mind baltimore or an open-doored green Chevrolet, registered a masterpiece sacrifice is the tape you play wayward toward the shore all around us angelhoods, in blood cleaning at each other's throats, hanging on each others' calls I wrote you a letter today, more than trivialities, talking of roses the anxiety of turning into a rose can't you remember I bitched, wept left and right cigarettes lit, burnt out...

from “Harbinger”

when yıldız was a little girl, big letters were always a problem for her. also the big ideas written in big letters. from the very beginning some people said that it was a disorder. for example, when she was only in elementary school—she must have been about five and a half years old at that time, her teacher asked her mother one monday morning—a gray, rainy morning, after the flag-raising ceremony it was—and a nasty, grumpy anger could be felt in the voice of...

The Prisoner

She woke up long before the alarm. As though wanting to make sure the night was over, she blinked for a while in the dawn. She'd slept a total of three hours, but the night, full of tossing and turning, and full of realistic dreams, dreams far more painful than reality, had seemed to last forever. An endless waiting... For hours, she'd lain like a chained ghost, ears pricking up at the slightest sound, afraid to budge, knees bent to her chest. Unable to cry, unable to sleep, not...

For Years

The hospital odors do not offend anymore. We have been here since yesterday morning and I am used to them. There are two beds in the room. Day is breaking. The man in the other bed is my brother. His still silhouette and even breathing tell me he had a comfortable night. A little while ago, I reached and turned on the small fan on my bedside table. My nephew brought two early yesterday evening. He placed one on his father's table and one on mine. He is set to join the army next...

Story of an Island

And in the desert between the two rivers the battle which had been going on for many days continued. Day and night the whole desert was filled with the intermingled sounds of cannon and machine-gun fire, the neighing of horses and the shouts of soldiers. In disorderly groups, one after the other, the soldiers of the disrupted army fled south to the farther end of the desert straight for the Mediterranean Sea. Many cannonballs caught up with them and exploded in the middle of these crowds...

from “Black Sky, Black Sea”

May 1977 The Byzantine aqueduct stretched from the houses by the fire station over the boulevard and then curved in toward the back of the city theater. Four lanes of traffic flowed under its still solid arches. Saraçhane Square lay in the middle of a park by the same name, surrounded by the ruins of the aqueduct, the Şehzade Mosque, and the City Hall. It was a bustling and lively area, with public offices, theaters, cinemas, and thundering traffic. But the most remarkable...

from “City in Crimson Cloak”

March marks the end of the long dry season in Rio. It's the month when the tropical rains begin, rains that persist for days, nights,weeks. A huge army clad in black suddenly spreads over the horizon; it approaches at a gallop, full speed, and attacks just like that, without warning. It descends upon the city like an abominable, inescapable fate, without even allowing time to pull down the shutters. A furious, savage, vengeful, insufferable, merciless downpour . . . The sky finally...

Offering II

You are earth. You lie beneath everything. Everything is above you. Even the earth's crust. You are water. You are afraid of and for the stones you will strike as you flow. You stop for fear that the stone's skin will be scraped. Go on, flow. You'll stop if the stone bleeds. If you fear pain, you'll exhaust yourself. You are air. Wind curves inside you. Whereas you are invisible. Blow. Even if no trace of you remains, plane trees remember every breeze....

House of the Edge

Retreat to places that smell of soap Go to wet balconies Wrap your hands in cool, damp gauze Scrub your flesh stark white Purify your tongue and all you've seen Gather your illuminated words onto snow white paper Retreat from the war zone, you can't manage, The deaths in this zone are contagious Full of crumpling and scuffling maggots, I say flesh has gone wormy- What difference does it make If it's yours or someone else's! * In midafternoon,...

Seven Aches

After grasping the games and their rules The fatigue of participation becomes less and less bearable. Straight after grasping the knowledge of gain One must leave the game; This is not the story of losing But of not winning Because: The city is a woman so forlorn she can't say "no," Who makes love because she doesn't want to speak; The city is a badly beaten dog That no longer responds to pain; The tonic words that touch the hearts of urbanites Can't handle...

Page 1 of 2 pages  1 2 > 

Like what you read? Help WWB bring you the best new writing from around the world.