Efe Duyan

Efe Duyan

Efe Duyan – poet, architect (b. 1981, İstanbul, Turkey) – has been invited to several workshops, poetry readings and international organizations including Kopenhagen Turkish Poetry Evening, Word-Express Project (series of poetry readings in Balkan Countries (2009-2011), Edinburgh Book Festival, London Book Fair, Berlin Poetry Festival, Lodeve Poetry Festival, Riga Poetry Days, Malta İnizjamed Poetry Festival, Transylvania Poetry Poetry Festival, Palabra En El Mundo in Venice, Sofia Poetics Festival, Chisinau Poetry Festival, Enemies Project & European Poetry Night in Britain, Shaar Poetry Festival in Israel, Sidi Bou Said Poetry Festival in Tunisia, Venice Dropping Seeds project, European Poetry Biennale in Brasov and Swiss PEN’s Day of Writers in Prison Meeting in Geneva.

Some of his poems have been translated into Bosnian, Czech, Chinese, Croatian, Danish, English, Estonian, French, Greek, German, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Kurdish, Latvian, Lithuanian, Rumanian, Macedonian, Maltese, Occitan, Slovenian, Ukrainian and Welsh.

His translation works in poetry includes poetry collections of Radu Vancu (Romania), Matthias Göritz (Germany) and Llyod Schwartz (USA).

He worked in the editorial committes of literature magazines Nikbinlik (2000-2005) and Sanat Cephesi (2006-2010). He co-organized poetry translation workshops with British, French, Italian, Israeli, Bulgarian, German, Swedish poets and Offline Istanbul Poetry Festival.

His critical essay “The Construction of Characters in Nâzım Hikmet’s Poetry” has been published in 2008. He edited a comtemporary poetry anthology “Bir Benden Bir O’ndan” (2010) and is a member of the editorial board of the acclaimed literature magazine Offline Istanbul.

His poetry collections are “Sıkça Sorulan Sorular” (Frequently Asked Questions, 2016), “Tek Şiirlik Aşklar” (One Poem Stands, 2012) and “Takas” (Swap, 2006).

He is currently teaching history of architecture at Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University.

Please visit: www.efeduyan.info





‘everything flows,’ said the Ancient Aegean
since the very first rain-charm
but everywhere along a river
poverty is much the same, it is like a birth mark

‘everything,’ he said – even those things
we suppose are sins and those we suppose are destinies
from our doorstep and from our unclean skin to the rivers

perhaps for this reason, Hindus bathing in the Ganges
are the ones who have already tamed death

as for the Amazon, I suppose it’s the most authoritative dictionary
of human idioms

for workers in Çukurova
the Ceyhan River is a fictional character

Kızılırmak River is
a tetchy but talented folk poet

you notice Asi has
its hand on Syria’s knee

if you ask me Meriç is
a child sleeping restlessly between its mitera and baba

as for Sakarya and Susurluk
they are close relatives who only visit each other once in a long while
like words from the Kurdish and the Turkish ends of the country

although everything flows from day to day
the Tigris and Euphrates are arm in arm
much the same, don’t you think, as the shackled slaves
in those souvenir photos, transported from Africa?

© Translation by Bill Herbert – from Tek Şiirlik Aşklar (2012)



did anyone ever touched upon the colour of the flag
hoisted in Potemkin in a school
instead of messing up blackboards with white chalk

or the coloured illustrations of slave ships in the Mediterranean
or the lost songs of mutinous mariners?

or that in Beykoz glassworkers once
wiped their eyes with pieces of broken glass

that in Eyüp when boatmen enter that profession
they mummify their hearts with moss

that as the sunlight hit Süleymaniye Mosque
its papers burst into flames beneath the glare of all the historians

or that on Galata Bridge there is still some dust from the archives
on the finger of a retired official removing the hook from a fish

that safety pins makes drops of blood appear
on the dark skin of children returning from the public fountains

that migrants who never see the sea are the true Stambouliotes
seascapes hang in their school corridors

and that the sun each day hits the eyes of a cleaning lady
who fell at that same hour while washing the window

who was the captain thinking about when he nearly crashed into the pier?
who were the migrants transported from the Black Sea?
who was lying dead at the bottom of the sea
who made love on the deck on a winter day?

so many event.
so many questions.

isn’t life only
a rope stretched between distant dreams and the pier?

© Translation by Bill Herbert – from Tek Şiirlik Aşklar (2012)

Published with the permission of Efe Duyan