Poems of Nazim Hikmet

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The definitive selection by the first and foremost modern Turkish poet.
A centennial volume, with previously unavailable poems, by Turkey's greatest poet. Published in celebration of the poet's one hundredth birthday, this exciting edition of the poems of the Nazim Hikmet (1902-1963) collects work from his four previous selected volumes and adds more than twenty poems never before available in English. The Blasing/Konuk translations, acclaimed for the past quarter-century for ...

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The definitive selection by the first and foremost modern Turkish poet.
A centennial volume, with previously unavailable poems, by Turkey's greatest poet. Published in celebration of the poet's one hundredth birthday, this exciting edition of the poems of the Nazim Hikmet (1902-1963) collects work from his four previous selected volumes and adds more than twenty poems never before available in English. The Blasing/Konuk translations, acclaimed for the past quarter-century for their accuracy and grace, convey Hikmet's compassionate, accessible voice with the subtle music, innovative form, and emotional directness of the originals.

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Editorial Reviews

“Brilliantly conceived and executed, witty and passionate, and inspiring in a sense not found in most modern poems.”
The Boston Phoenix
“These translations are so colloquial, one forgets one isn't reading the originals.”
Multicultural Review
“One of the great poetic voices of all time.”
World Literature Today
“A potent testament to the Turkish poet's genius.”
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A leading modern Turkish poet, Hikmet (1902-1963) once wrote from prison, ``In the twentieth century / grief lasts / at most a year.'' First jailed in 1924 at the age of 22 for working on a leftist magazine, he spent 18 years incarcerated. Hikmet was awarded the World Peace Prize in 1950, the same year as he gained his release from jail, only to be exiled from Turkey in 1951 for the last 13 years of his life. The poet evidently never lost his faith in social justice. His love of life apparently didn't weaken, and his poems resonate with its power: ``Shot through ten years of bondage like a bullet, / . . . my heart is still the same heart, my head still the same head.'' But to consider Hikmet a political poet only is to miss his gift, and a temperament infected with joy. In ``Occupation'' he writes, ``In the afternoon heat I pick olives, / the leaves the loveliest of greens: / I'm light from head to toe.'' The translations by Blasing and Mutlu Konak convey the power and originality of the work; there are no weak poems here. As Hikmet grew, he delivered a richness and humanity unparalleled in its freedom from bitterness in poems like ``Things I Didn't Know I Loved,'' ``After Getting Out of Prison'' and ``The Last Bus.'' (Apr.)
Library Journal
This volume selects poems of Hikmet (1902-63) that the editors consider ``his best both in Turkish and in translation.'' A huge figure in Turkey, Hikmet was the archetypal exile. Outspoken and revolutionary, in and out of prison until 1952, he traveled until his death. His prison poems are deservedly famous, but those from the 1950s-set in Budapest, Moscow, Prague, and Warsaw-express a visceral longing for birthplace: ``my heart exploding like a hand grenade.'' Sensual and spiritual, they transcend everything that represses the psyche. A sublime humility lifts these sad, immensely ``life-loving'' poems above Cold War angst into universal statements of compassion for suffering. Replacing Selected Poetry (LJ 10/1/86), this comprehensive volume contains 15 unpublished poems, selections from longer poems, and ``Rubaiyat,'' which is only available in a private printing. Recommended for international literature collections.-Frank Allen, West Virginia State Coll., Institute
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780892552740
  • Publisher: Persea Books
  • Publication date: 5/17/2002
  • Edition description: Revised & Expanded Second Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 174,327
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Nazim Hikmet is considered Turkey's greatest modern poet. For his Communist views, he was imprisoned in Turkey and his work was banned. His poetry has been translated into more than fifty languages. He won the World Peace Prize (the USSR's equivalent of the Nobel) in 1950. He died in 1963 in exile.

Randy Blasing, a former National Endowment for the Arts Translation Fellow, is the author of seven books of poetry, including Choice Words: Poems 1970-2005. He is also the eminent translator, alongside Mutlu Konuk, of the renowned Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet. He lives in Lincoln, Rhode Island.

Mutlu Konuk Blasing, a native of Istanbul, is Professor of English at Brown University. Her books include Lyric Poetry: The Pain and the Pleasure of Words. She is the co-translator (with Randy Blasing) of the renowned English translations of Nazim Hikmet, and the author of four scholarly books on American poetry.

Carolyn Forché, poet, translator, and activist, is professor of English at Georgetown University. She has published two award-winning volumes of poetry, Gathering the Tribes and The Country Between Us. In 1990 Ms. Fourché received a Lannan Literary Award, granted to poets and writers of literary excellence "whose work promotes a truer understanding of contemporary life." Her most recent volume of poetry is Blue Hour.

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Table of Contents

Translators' Preface
About My Poetry 3
Regarding Art 4
Gioconda and Si-Ya-U 6
A Spring Piece Left in the Middle 32
On Shirts, Pants, Cloth Caps, and Felt Hats 35
Letter to My Wife 38
The Epic of Sheik Bedreddin 40
Hymn to Life 72
Letters from a Man in Solitary 74
On Death Again 78
Istanbul House of Detention 80
Hello 84
Letters from Chankiri Prison 85
A Strange Feeling 92
On the Twentieth Century 94
Letter from My Wife 95
9-10 P.M. Poems 97
Ninth Anniversary 113
Hazel Are My Lady's Eyes 116
Rubaiyat 117
Since I Was Thrown Inside 123
I Love You 126
On Ibrahim Balaban's Painting "Spring" 127
About Mount Uludagh 129
The Strangest Creature on Earth 131
On Living 132
It's This Way 135
Angina Pectoris 136
Occupation 137
You're 138
I Made a Journey 139
About Your Hands and Lies 141
Some Advice to Those Who Will Serve Time in Prison 143
On the Matter of Romeo and Juliet 145
Sadness 146
On Ibrahim Balaban's Painting "The Prison Gates" 147
After Getting Out of Prison 149
You 155
Last Will and Testament 156
To Lydia Ivanna 158
The Mailman 160
Message 162
About the Sea 164
Last Letter to My Son 166
Letter from Istanbul 170
In the Snowy Night Woods 176
New Year's Eve 178
Elegy for Satan 179
Faust's House 181
Prague Dawn 183
Noon in Prague 184
Optimistic Prague 186
To Samet Vurgun 188
I Got a Letter from Munevver Saying 189
I Wrote a Letter to Munevver Saying 190
From Sofia 191
Bor Hotel 193
The Balcony 194
The Last Bus 195
This Thing Called Prague 197
Some Memories 199
Optimism 204
Thirty Years Ago 205
A Fable of Fables 208
Bach's Concerto No. 1 in C Minor 210
Conversation with Dead Nezval 212
Elegy for Mikhail Refili 214
Early Fall 216
The Bees 217
Windows 218
The Old Man on the Shore 221
The Optimist 223
Because 224
This Journey 225
The Icebreaker 226
Two Loves 227
Waitress 229
To Vera 230
Early Light 231
Baku at Night 233
The Cucumber 234
My Woman 235
Vera Waking 236
Separation 237
Loving You 238
Because of You 239
Suddenly 240
Six O'Clock 241
About Us 242
Straw-Blond 243
Untitled 256
Falling Leaves 257
Welcome 258
Autobiography 259
Things I Didn't Know I Loved 261
I Stepped Out of My Thoughts of Death 265
I'm Getting Used to Growing Old 266
Berlin Letters 267
My Funeral 269
Vera 270
Notes 271
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2001

    A poet who inspires

    Nazim Hikmet inspires thinking, love and understanding on a universal scale. I can read his words over and over and receive the same love from him as though he were standing right there in front of me and we were talking about the great and the little things we hold dear in this life.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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