Guest edited by John Casquarelli
We’d like to introduce Beyond the Bosphorus, a new issue on contemporary Turkish literature guest edited by John Casquarelli of Koç University in Istanbul, with Burhan Sönmez’s autobiographical essay “The Names on the Stairs,” first published in the anthology Tell Me Your Name (Bana Adını Söyle) in which writers tell the story of their names (Istanbul, 2014, Yapi Kredi Yayinlari). Following Sönmez are Birhan Keskin’s three haunting poems “Broken Vortex,” “Hydrophore,” and “www.anitsayac.com,” translated by Öykü Tekten, in which Keskin probes the limitations of love in a sexist society, the historical legacy of discrimination and violence against women, and the widespread crime of femicide. Kuzey Topuz’s two poems “The Pregnancy Journal” and “This Is How I Picture My Year With You” subdivide narrative flow into individual components in a poetic response to the phenomena of time, change, transformation, and instability.
Murat Nemet-Nejat’s essay on the cultural value of poetry, “Is Poetry a Job, Is a Poem a Product” analyzes the conditions of production and the perfect inversion of capitalist values in the writing process, while Volkan Hacioğlu’s poems “On Reading Eugene Onegin” and “The Silhouette of a War” reimagine the historical past in images that alternate between immediacy and irretrievability. Eşref Ozan Baygin’s “Psychedelic Poems” pay tribute to Aldous Huxley and Albert Einstein in complex imagery that probes the intoxicating and the hallucinatory.
The focus shifts from poetry back to prose as the issue continues with the opening chapter from İrem Uzunhasanoğlu’s novel Once Upon a Spring, which traces the dreams and unfulfilled longings of two women friends who haven’t seen one another since school days. “A Good Day for the Crows,” an excerpt from Aydin Behnam’s novel The Tree of Wheat, describes two boyhood friends quarrelling over a get-rich-quick scheme which—as soon becomes painfully obvious—is doomed.
Stay tuned for coming works in this new issue!