Beyond the Walls: Selected Poems

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Nâzim Hikmet's poetry combines passion and simplicity with sophistication, producing work of enduring significance. He was both a superb narrative and lyric poet; his immense and continuing popularity in Turkey testifies to his common touch. This extensive selection ranges from his epic poem 'Sheikh Bedreddin' to the moving prison poems addressed to his wife. The book is introduced by the leading expert on Turkish literature, Talât Sait Halman, former Professor of Turkish Literature at Princeton and New York Universities and currently at Bilkent University, Ankara.

Nâzim Hikmet (1902-63), Turkey's greatest modern poet, was a political prisoner in Turkey for more than fourteen years and spent the last thirteen years of his life in exile, mainly in Russia, travelling widely through Europe and further afield.

Ruth Christie was born and educated in Scotland. She studied Turkish at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. She has taught English literature and has been translating novels, short stories and poetry from the Turkish for many years.

Richard McKane is a poet and the translator of Selected Poems of Anna Akhmatova' and, with Elizabeth McKane, of Mandelstam's The Moscow Notebooks' and The Voronezh Notebooks'. Anvil has published The Pillar of Fire', his selection from the poetry of Nikolay Gumilyov.

Ruth Christie and Richard McKane have jointly translated the Turkish poet Oktay Rifat's selected poems, Voices of Memory'.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780856463297
  • Publisher: Anvil Press Poetry, Limited
  • Publication date: 6/1/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard McKane is a poet and translator of poetry from Russian and Turkish. He lives and works in London. Ruth Christie was born and educated in Scotland. She has been translating novels, short stories and poetry from the Turkish for many years. Nazim Hikmet (1902-1963), Turkey's greatest modern poet, was a political prisoner in Turkey for eighteen years and spent the last thirteen years of his life in exile, travelling widely through Europe and further afield.
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Table of Contents

Introduction 9
Translators' Preface 21
835 Lines
from 835 Lines
Weeping Willow 27
The Worm in My Body 29
To Become a Machine 31
Extracts from the Diary of La Gioconda 32
from Varan 3
Barefoot 38
from The City That Lost its Voice
The Provocateur 40
Maybe I 42
Four Men and Four Bottles 43
Advice to Our Children 44
Why Did Benerjee Kill Himself?
from Telegram in the Night
The Blue-Eyed Giant, the Miniature Woman and the Honeysuckle 45
Before He Left 46
Three Cypresses 47
from Portraits
My Poetry 48
from Letters to Taranta-Babu
To Be Blind 49
Eighth Letter to Taranta-Babu 50
The Epic of Sheikh Bedreddin
The Dream 51
1-14 53
Sefik the Turner's Shirt 73
Ahmed's Story 74
The Epic of the War of Independence
from Chapter 4
A Letter and a Poem from Nurettin Esfak 77
The Turkish Peasant 79
from Chapter 7
'In the moonlight the ox-carts were rolling' 80
from Chapter 8
'Galloping full tilt from furthest Asia' 82
Poems Written Between 9 and 10 at Night (for his wife Piraye) 83
from Four Prisons
'In Istanbul, in Tevkifane prison yard' 97
1 'My darling' 98
2 'I feel so happy I came into this world' 99
3 'I love my country' 100
Concerning Death 102
A Birth and a Factory Chimney 105
The Doomsday Verses
1 The Verse of the Signs 107
2 The Verse of Evaporation 108
Letters from a Man in Solitary 109
Letters from Cankiri Prison (1-3) 113
A Cracked Washbasin 117
The Story of the Walnut Tree and Lame Yunus 123
Lodos 130
A Strange Feeling 133
Letter to Kemal Tahir 135
A Poor Northern Church: Satan and the Priest 138
Part 1 13 quatrains 146
Part 2 6 quatrains 149
Part 3 4 quatrains 151
In Bursa's Fortress Prison
Poems 1929-1935
'Before the dawn embraces the mountains' 152
Poems 1937-1951
'I want to die before you' 153
'Suppose Istanbul my hometown sent me a cypress chest by sea' 155
A Spring Scene 156
'I Shut My Eyes Tight' 158
In Bursa's Fortress Prison 159
The Weirdest Creature in the World 160
Illustration on the Cover of a Poetry Book 161
Uludag 162
Don Quixote 164
On Living 165
Angina Pectoris 168
Occupation 169
Autumn 170
Advice for Someone Going into Prison 171
Your Hands and the Lies 173
Five Days into the Hunger Strike 175
Sad Freedom 177
New Poems
Testament 179
Evening 181
The Postman 182
My Son is Growing up in Photographs 184
'To chop down the plane tree' 185
New Year's Day 186
Munevver's Letter from Istanbul 187
The Japanese Fisherman 192
'Light of my eye, my darling!' 194
I Got a Letter from Munevver, She Says 195
I Wrote a Letter to Munevver, I Said 196
The Walnut Tree 197
The Last Bus 198
Optimism 200
A Journey 201
Strontium 90 202
Fable of Fables 203
Chatting with Nezval who Died 205
Bees 207
Old Man on the Shore 208
Great Humanity 209
The Optimist 210
The Icebreaker 211
Last Poems
Two Loves 212
The Three Storks Restaurant 214
Morning Darkness 215
'My woman came with me as far as Brest' 217
In Beyazit Square 218
Flaxen Hair 219
'My time is coming' 231
Autobiography 232
'From stone, bronze, plaster, paper' 234
Where Have We Come From, Where Are We Going? 235
My Funeral 237
Appendix Early Poems (1913-1925)
'The Ways of God' 241
Dream 242
Old Man by the Brink of a Stream 243
Water Wheel in the Kitchen Garden 244
First Look at Anatolia 245
The Dark Fanatical Forces 246
Wanderlust 247
Notes 249
Index of Titles 253
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