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A Prisoner of Language: The Strange Case of Modern Turkish Poetry

A Prisoner of Language: The Strange Case of Modern Turkish Poetry The South Atlantic Quarterly :/, Spring/Summer . Copyright ©  by Duke University Press. in Turkey is the most favored form of personal expression, with perhaps just one possible exception: love letters. More than this extraordinary popularity, however, what strikes one as peculiar is the firm conviction shared by both ordinary readers and professionals about the allegedly worldwide superiority of the poetry written in Turkish. In fact, the majority of Turkish poets seriously believe in their capacity to revitalize world poetry, which they assume to be a dying form of art outside of Turkey. For instance, İsmet Özel, one of the leading contemporary poets and political thinkers, recently posited that modern Turkish poetry should be considered Turkey’s most significant contribution to modernity in general.2 What makes this claim sound rather naive is, of course, the fact that hardly any international student of modern world poetry seems to be aware of, let alone acknowledge, such a contribution. Actually, it is even quite unlikely that an average European or American poetry enthusiast could name a Turkish modern poet other than Nazım Hikmet, the exiled ‘‘romantic revolutionary’’ who is usually ranked with poets such as Pablo Neruda or Louis Aragon. What http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png South Atlantic Quarterly Duke University Press

A Prisoner of Language: The Strange Case of Modern Turkish Poetry

South Atlantic Quarterly , Volume 102 (2-3) – Apr 1, 2003

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2003 by Duke University Press
ISSN
0038-2876
eISSN
1527-8026
DOI
10.1215/00382876-102-2-3-529
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The South Atlantic Quarterly :/, Spring/Summer . Copyright ©  by Duke University Press. in Turkey is the most favored form of personal expression, with perhaps just one possible exception: love letters. More than this extraordinary popularity, however, what strikes one as peculiar is the firm conviction shared by both ordinary readers and professionals about the allegedly worldwide superiority of the poetry written in Turkish. In fact, the majority of Turkish poets seriously believe in their capacity to revitalize world poetry, which they assume to be a dying form of art outside of Turkey. For instance, İsmet Özel, one of the leading contemporary poets and political thinkers, recently posited that modern Turkish poetry should be considered Turkey’s most significant contribution to modernity in general.2 What makes this claim sound rather naive is, of course, the fact that hardly any international student of modern world poetry seems to be aware of, let alone acknowledge, such a contribution. Actually, it is even quite unlikely that an average European or American poetry enthusiast could name a Turkish modern poet other than Nazım Hikmet, the exiled ‘‘romantic revolutionary’’ who is usually ranked with poets such as Pablo Neruda or Louis Aragon. What

Journal

South Atlantic QuarterlyDuke University Press

Published: Apr 1, 2003

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