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New Poetry in Translation: Haydar Ergülen's Selected Poems

2019, Haydar Ergülen, News, Poetry, Selected Poems, Translation, Turkey -

New Poetry in Translation: Haydar Ergülen's Selected Poems

We are so pleased to be launching Haydar Ergülen's Selected Poems, Pomegranate Garden, into the shops next month with UK launch events planned for November. Haydar is one of the most prominent poets writing in Turkey today. Author of more than a dozen books of poetry and another dozen of essays, his work is only beginning to appear in English and this selected works will change his reach significantly. His most recent book is Öyle Küçük Şeyler (Kırmızı Kedi, 2016). He lives in Istanbul.

The poetry of Haydar Ergülen unquestionably draws upon and expresses many of the basic forces that continue to shape Turkish culture and literature; however, as with most of the best poetry produced anywhere, its central focus is the common, down-to-earth concerns of humanity itself. At the core of Ergülen’s work is the pervasive sense of poetry-writing as an inseparable part of life: that the co-existence of poetry, goodness and love is indispensable to the poet as a human being.

Edited by Mel Kenne, Saliha Paker and Caroline Stockford.

The poems have been translated by Mel Kenne, Saliha Paker, Caroline Stockford, Arzu Akbatur, Gökçenur Ç, Nilgün Dungan, Arzu Eker Roditakis, Clifford Endres, İdil Karacadağ, Elizabeth Pallitto, Selhan Savcıgil Endres, İpek Seyalıoğlu, and Şehnaz Tahir Gürçağlar.

For more of an introduction to Haydar's work here is the foreword from the new book, written by editor Saliha Paker:

Haydar Ergülen was born in Eskişehir, Turkey, in 1956. He published his first political and cultural broadside paper, Ekin (Culture), with his friend Şahin Şencan, when they were in middle school. At the age of eighteen he wrote articles protesting the death by capital punishment of political activists Deniz Gezmiş, Hüseyin İnan and Yusuf Aslan, activities that led to his month-long confinement by the police and expulsion from high school. He later took a degree in Sociology from Middle Eastern Technical University and held the position of teaching assistant in the Communications Faculty of Eskişehir Anadolu University while pursuing a Master’s Degree in marketing and public relations. In 1983 he moved to Istanbul and began writing advertising copy.

His first poems and short stories were published in 1972 in the Eskişehir magazineDeneme (Essay). In 1981 he placed second after the renowned poet Murathan Mungan in Hürriyet Gösteri magazine’s poetry competition, and his poetry began to appear in such magazines as Somut, Felsefe Dergisi, Türk Dili, Yusufçuk, Hürriyet Gösteri, Yarın, Yeni Biçem, Akatalpa, Sombahar, Nar, Yasak Meyve, Budala, Öküz, Hayvan, Ot, Bavul, Şiir-lik, Kitap-lık, Heves and Varlık.

Ergülen’s first book of poetry, Karşılığını Bulamamış Sorular (Questions Without Response), came out in 1981 and was followed in 1983 by his publication, along with poet-friends Adnan Özer and Tuğrul Tanyol, of Üç Çiçek (Three Flowers), which was recognised as the first magazine of Turkey’s ‘1980s-Era Poets.’ From 1986 onwards he contributed to the editorial board of Şiir Atı magazine, and went on to work with Eskişehir friends Rahmi Emeç and Erol Büyükmeriç on the editorial board of Yazılıkaya Şiir Yaprağı.

From 1998 to 2007 Ergülen wrote the column ‘Open Letters’ for the left-wing dailyRadikal and contributed to the daily BirGün. From 2010 to 2012 he wrote regularly for Cumhuriyet newspaper. He continues to write for BirGün’s Sunday supplement.

Ergülen is now serving as Director of the Izmir International Poetry Festival, the Eskişehir Tepebaşı International Poetry Festival, and the Nazım Hikmet International Poetry Event, organised by Ataşehir Municipality in Istanbul. He attends poetry festivals and translation workshops throughout Europe and leads creative writing workshops in Istanbul. For the last seven years Ergülen has taught Contemporary

Poetry at Boğaziçi University, lectured on poetry at Kadir Has and Bahçeşehir universities, and given public lectures each month in Eskişehir.

Ergülen continues to write poetry and short stories, and twenty-one books of his poetry, including two written especially for children, have been published in Turkey, while two collections of his work (Carnet intime and Grenade / Nar, translated by Claire Lajus) have been published in France, with German, Italian and Bulgarian editions due to come out soon. In addition to these, numerous books of his criticism and essays, along with three anthologies that he edited, have been published since 2000.

Ergülen and his wife Idil have a daughter, Nar, and four cats. Gülten Akın, Özdemir İnce, Ece Ayhan, Ahmet Telli, Veysel Öngören, Metin Altıok, Enis Batur, Murathan Mungan, Salih Bolat and Ali Cengizkan are the poets he knew and liked in his years in Ankara. His favourite poets are Yunus Emre, Pir Sultan Abdal, Nazım Hikmet, Cemal Süreya, Ergin Günçe, and Federico Garcia Lorca. He also greatly admires the Anatolian folk singers Aşık Veysel, Aşık Mahzunî Şerif, and Neşet Ertaş.


1981 Hürriyet Gösteri magazine poetry prize (2nd) Unutulmuş Bir Yaz İçin 1996 Halil Kocagöz Poetry Prize – Eskiden Terzi
1997 Behçet Necatigil Poetry Prize – 40 Şiir ve Bir
1997 Cahit Külebi Special Prize at Orhon Murat Arıburnu Awards – 40 Şiir ve Bir1998 Akdeniz Altın Portakal Poetry Prize – 40 Şiir ve Bir
2005 Cemal Süreya Poetry Prize – Keder Gibi Ödünç
2008 Metin Altıok Poetry Prize – Üzgün Kediler Gazeli
2015 Honorary Prize of the Language Association (Dil Derneği) 2017 City of Mersin Prize for Literature