Poetry From East To West

POETRY MAY BE THE BACKBONE OF SPEECH, RECOGNIZING NO SPATIAL OR TEMPORAL BOUNDS, BUT IT IS TRANSLATION THAT MAKES TRAFFIC BETWEEN LANGUAGES POSSIBLE. WE HAVE TRIED TO UNDERSCORE THAT RICHNESS THROUGH TWO WIDELY SEPARATED EXAMPLES.

MODERN IRELAND
Europe’s island country on the Atlantic, Ireland has made a significant contribution to world literature as is evidenced by the fact that many writers subsumed under English literature are actually of Irish origin. An outstanding poet herself, Gonca Özmen, has proven this once again in her collection, ‘Çağdaş  İrlanda Şiiri’ (Contemporary Irish Poetry). Translations by such respected names as Tozar Alkan, İlhan Berk and Cevat Çapan add special value to this book, which includes poets like Oscar Wilde, Samuel Beckett and William Butler Yeats.

ÇAĞAN IRMAK IS DECIDEDLY A NIGHT PERSON...  THE DIRECTOR, WHO GREW UP IN SEFERİHİSAR, TOLD US ABOUT HIS HOMETOWN, TURKEY’S ONLY SLOW TOWN.

You recently shot a documentary about Seferihisar. How did that come about?
This is part of the Cittaslow movement involving towns that are trying to live at a slow pace by keeping their distance from modern technology and preserving their natural beauty. Every slow town has made its own documentary, so we decided to make one about Seferihisar, Turkey’s first and, for now anyway, only slow town. The 30-minute documentary, which focuses on vestiges of the past in the memories of its elderly people, describes the town’s local cuisine and spots of natural beauty.

What color is Seferihisar to you?
Blue. Green. Bluish green. Actually, both of these are childhood colors. As children we see the world in blue and green. For me Seferihisar is very poetical, very childlike, very everybody, very me.

What color is the world now?
I don’t know. It varies from person to person. All I know is that when I was a child it was green and blue. Of course, this may be true only of people who grew up in coastal towns. Perhaps childhood colors are yellow and orange to a child who grew up in the steppes.

What do you love about Seferihisar? What do you eat and drink there?
I eat fish of course. Red mullet… And black-eyed peas. The kind that grow in the fields.  We use a lot of garlic and olive oil, and the juice of unripe grapes. That’s my favorite thing.

Formerly known as Keltepe, Kartepe as it is now named is one of Turkey’s popular new centers for winter sports enthusiasts. One of the highest peaks in the Kocaeli - Sapanca area, the center boasts a variety of facilities at altitudes of 1,150 to 1,640 meters. The center, which is crowded on weekends due to its proximity to Istanbul, is ideal for skiing in view of both mountains and sea.

If you lack ski equipment you can get everything from the ski shops along the way. You can also find what you need at the big hotels in the vicinity. There are four facilities at Kartepe: Kartepe (chairlift), Karlıktepe (ski lift), Geyikalan (chairlift) and Kadıkonağı (chairlift). Twelve pistes ranging from 400 to 3,500 meters in length offer skiing at every level of difficulty. The highest is Kartepe itself at 700 meters with a total of six ski runs. Thanks to its proximity to Turkey’s largest city and province, Kartepe is poised to become the destination of choice for those seeking a weekend getaway.

BeautIful In every season 
Kartepe is suitable not only for winter sports but also for nature walks and camping. You can hike comfortably between Kartepe and nearby Maşukiye. And Kuzu and Altıoluk Highlands are two more places you’ll want to add to your hiking route. Be sure to make time for a hike some time soon when nature is waking up from its deep winter sleep. The landscape and colors will enchant you.

WHAT SORT OF WAR WAS IT? ACCORDING TO SOME THE MOST NOBLE: THE LAST GENTLEMEN’S WAR. ON ONE SIDE WINSTON CHURCHILL, ON THE OTHER HALİL KOÇ FROM THE VILLAGE OF HALİLOĞLU IN GALLIPOLI. WE COMMEMORATE GALLIPOLI WITH STRIKING SCENES FROM THE FRONT.
THE ANZAC AND HIS PERISCOPE

“Invented by the Australian Sergeant William Beech, the ‘periscope’ was useful for observing the Turkish side. After capturing a periscope in an enemy trench, the Turks started using it as well. The ‘periscope rifle’ was the most interesting weapon of the war. The soldier who took aim with this instrument, made of reflecting parts and invented by the Anzac soldiers who never raised their heads out of the trenches even for an instant, could fire on the enemy without exposing himself.”

Source: Yetkin İşcen, 10 Kasim 2005
www.gallipoli.org

Veteran Mehmet Aşkın Speaks
“We were on our way down to the Karayürek River. They sent me out on patrol that evening and I was walking in the riverbed. I was dying of thirst. The river was a babbling brook so I filled my canteen and took a few gulps. The water tasted very different. When I poured some out into my hand, I realized that I had filled my canteen with blood.”“The company was under bayonet attack and a severely wounded man collapsed next to me. For a while he was silent and then he said, ‘Halil, I’m near death. After I die don’t send my body back. Bury me here with your own hands and continue fighting above me, so I can hear the footfalls and the Allah-Allah cries of the Gazi warriors in my grave.’ And with a smile on his face, he surrendered up his soul.”

THE ANZAC AND HIS PERISCOPE
“The enemy were advancing in several columns in regular formation, still believing they would not encounter any presence or any action and making do with only light infantry out in front. When our infantry hurled themselves down on those columns from the hills above and our artillery’s unerring shrapnel made contact with the enemy formations, their discipline, morale and command were broken.”

Source: An interview with Anafartalar Commander Mustafa Kemal. Ruşen Eşref, 1930.
Photograph: Ataturk’s Life in Photographs. Yapi Kredi Bankası, 1971.