Betül Tarıman

Betül Tarıman

Betül Tarıman was born in 1962, in Edirne’s Keşan county, Turkey. After completing her primary and secondary education in various cities throughout Anatolia, she entered Hacettepe University (Ankara), where she majored in history. She is now working as a history teacher in Antalya.

Her first poem appeared in Kıyı (1992). Her poems and articles have since been published in various magazines, the main ones being the following: Varlık, Gösteri, Kitaplık, Sözcükler, Şiir Odası, E Edebiyat, İnsancıl, Damar, Düşlem, Edebiyat ve Eleştiri, Son Kişot, İnsan, Bahçe, Yasakmeyve, Yeni Biçem, Akatalpa, Adam Sanat, Şiir Ülkesi, Eski, Şiiri Özlüyorum, Amik, Mühür, Kavram Karmaşa, Le poete travaille, İmgelem, Öteki – Siz, Ada, Yom Sanat, Ȕç Nokta, Dize, Esmer, and Cumartesi. The prize-winning poet (she was awarded the prestigious Behçet Necatigil prize in 2005) has produced the following volumes of poetry: Ay Soloları (1995), Üzgündü Kırlar (1996), Kardan Harfler (2000), Güle Gece Yorumlar (2002), Yol İnsanları (2004), Kar Merdiveni (2007), Elma Dersem Çık (2008).

Betül’s book reviews appear regularly in the book supplement of Cumhuriyet, a well-known Turkish daily. She also ran a poetry workshop in Kastamonu, where local women were encouraged to participate. She initiated a poetry prize in memory of Rıfat Ilgaz and acted as arts adviser of Kasatamonu Mahalle Evi, established under the auspices of World Academy for Local Democracy (WALD). Betül launched Toplu Fotoğraflar magazine, and one of her documentaries was a prize-winner at theum 6th Festival of Docentaries at Safranbolu. The poet has also helped organize a literary symposium on Oğuz Atay, Turkish short-story writer and novelist, and contributed towards the establishment of short story and novel prizes in his memory.


that city

in bed all by yourself
and the autumn hours
up curls the question mark
all objects
the fork waits in vain and the glass
sitting there in mid-afternoon
passes through as if passing out
the city with scratches

who is the impure or the vile criminal
who knows how many madnesses will come
   out after lovemaking
broken glass shards on in one’s palm
black overflows the sink

and the boys got caught red-handed
and a deep pocket from malayta, a mother and a father
in the vortex of life’s suffering
just like every mortal
hoping to get old one day

the other city

i too am on that page
my dirty hands
my bleached hair
one covered in veil on top of every mountain i walk
and a cry
of ecstasy of forbidden flowers
i leave, got no time anyway
don’t let go of your pride my man, ask the mountain
   for a dance

this city

– clink clink cheers
– did you hear me
– not you the other
– why did you turn to look, is your name didem
– curious, as I was leaving myself
– oh city, my worry tops one another

Betül Tarıman
© Translation by Gönenç İnal


first move: on the road now

say once i’m going down fast
holding war and peace in my hands, adding insinuation
   to time
a well-rehearsed scent of melon pervades
as life comes back from a watermelon cut into two
i leave what i cut on the face of the earth
to let the story of the world and weeds grow

trucks pass by
to make it to a resolve
snow tyres and tarp on
a driver on the rear-view mirror
with wise eyes that slice the horizon in two
as if singing a lie
as if horses consumed life away

I know the lie, the morning
those were the moments kissing the skies and their crops
in a woman’s most secluded area
when a man confused his own person
the city bowed deeply to the lifetime of docks
the self-exhausting world had embraced the slopes
then who had walked over junipers
breathing the scent of mountains
smelling of basalt and titanium
consuming a song in every language
consuming a song in every language

you moved on with global warming on one side,
   national security on the other
stories of war, the twin towers
with the spirit of revolution everywhere
hours, declare the time of suffering all around the world
hours, declare the time of suffering all around the world
go beyond lengthy sun soaked cities
beyond people’s bargaining of rights
let there be a world to enfold you
let there be a world to enfold you

last move: ambition

my feet on the gas pedal
I’m passing out two hundred kilometres per hour
wearing a red sweatshirt and jeans
states and boundaries close to nothingness
let the courage of going away fill me up

Betül Tarıman
© Translation by Gönenç İnal


god’s house extends inside me for everything lasts only so much
birds will die on the branches screaming, drawing emptiness
   on a piece of paper

bundles of fabric will fray of furling in and out, rushingly

the pain of chestnut as it cracks since it is ripe, will it exhaust
   its loved dream out of love
and the dream passes out in the middle of the ground
   i pulled myself together

in the middle of the ground i pulled myself together
   am i a mortal jellyfish
or a cat kicked aside or a broken mirror in the attic

the river i bored off with my presence has changed,
   looking for a sofa to topple over
perhaps i will see if i lay down on myself,
   what makes time stand out

it stopped and conceived the impossible by itself

i seek myself at the addresses i gave but i am not there,
   a river on the fields of Amuk

absent at the dawn of brim

my one half is a wormy apple, the other alluring as hell,
   as i repeat to myself to go to blazes
where am i when an angel can descend from the skies any minute

Betül Tarıman
© Translation by Gönenç İnal


I combed my hair buttoned up my breast-buttons
checked out the phone just in case
couldn’t succeed as a sister role model for my twin
no sense of direction lost between vast
continents no language no religion or nation
since giving up those i couldn’t give up
from balta harbour to feshane
rolls down red before being hauled up
in nets at beşiktaş

the streets come to my mind where i strolled
streets with lonely children and a lonely horse
horse-throw me out of myself into orbit
from the house of earth to the house of moon
i am ready for an appointment at
the muhallebici* i am ready don’t pretend
leave off naivety get some tranquillizers have a shave
i am self-posssessed something gained from experience
you don’t propose to someone you’ve met by chance

*local pudding-house/cafe

Betül Tarıman
© Translation by Hasan Kahya


maybe her eyes are away from herself employee of pain
she is your mum crumbles bread, gathered sky to her door
set aside bed sheets like eastern part of the country
laying body fragranced of fig into the lust of knowledge
between you and sky made employee of taunting…
know what will be your part from this sky

with crooning wind at april noon’s in your room
so mystical are mimosas hidden mouth and garnet
in his pocket sad-coloured lilac he is your dad his eyes will beat
like two sisters gathered from the balcony in a hurry
your sister is a horse tired hit the road since Tigris
we enthused infused new life stubbornly towards a dead

you thrilled but there was a man whose sea hasn’t came
   named cemal
he put out love with his right hand lessening desires fairy tales
he was a pain waiting for being gathered you didn’t recognize
   his nothing
now a copper coloured private without stripes slow
a child heard with heart in every dusted memoir

when you can’t carry your legs with a pinned phthirus
   to a comb
a woman with a face draughted can be hardly found now
guarded in front of the door when she became mature
know me so away from myself

Betül Tarıman
© Translation by Didem Atayur

Published with the permission of Betül Tarıman