Ken Fifer

Ken Fifer

Ken Fifer‘s poetry collections include Architectural Conditions (2012, with architect Larry Mitnick), After Fire, Water Presents, The Moss That Rides on the Back of the Rock and Falling Man. Ken Fifer has edited three anthologies of poems by children. His poems have appeared in many American and international journals, including Barrow Street, New Letters, and Ploughshares.

His translations of contemporary Turkish poetry (with Nesrin Eruysal) have appeared in The Wolf (UK), Söyleşi Üç Aylık Şiir Dergisi (Turkey), The Literary Review (USA), and other magazines, including Mediterranean Poetry.

Ken Fifer has a Ph.D. in English Language and Literature from The University of Michigan and is a Professor of English at Penn State University, Berks campus. He lives with his wife Elizabeth in Center Valley, Pennsylvania.


Three Poems for Ahmet Ada

Maybe the Man

Arbor: where the apple trees go to sleep?
Ardor: why trees wear pink?

Ahmet Ada: when he paces from room to room?
Alphabet: Alzheimers, aubades, afternoons?

Maybe the man called Ahmet Ada doesn’t exist.
He’s always the other, the easternmost of the east.

Maybe, who knows, his sorrows will lift.

Ahmet Ada Speaks to Me

This frivolous voice
of the fig and the pomegranate
close to the sea at the far end of the city
mixes with the barking of a dog
in the long tranquility of his garden.
Last year’s sad trees told him their dreams.
This year, robust and serene,
they’re not saying anything.
The evening is withdrawing into the headland.
The evening is holding on to its knees.
Mmm, he says. Mmm.
You need to speak Turkish
to understand what it all means.

Past the Shore

after Ahmet Ada

I’m amazed by it all,
the plow headed for the sea, the sky’s
fishing line, a single sun ray, dangling
down through summer shade, a boy
in a hat staring at the sea too long.

Seagulls bob and weave and rest.
Fishermen mend their nets and forget.
The boy fidgets a little less.
They’re all preparing for the voyage.
The sky’s a cotton reverie.

I shake off my shoes and walk past the shore
where air and water form a single seam.
Seed pods blow out over the waves.
What are these boats and birds and seeds?
Why are we dressed in mortal cloth?

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Poetry in this post: © Ken Fifer
Published with the permission of Ken Fifer