Poet, short-story & song writer, essayist, drama critic, translator and photographer, Dr. Yusuf Eradam graduated from Darüşşafaka (İstanbul) and received his BA, MA, PhD from the Department of English Language and Literature of Hacettepe University, Ankara. (Dissertation: The Haunted Individual in David Mercer’s Stage Plays). One of the seven founders of ASAT (American Studies Association of Turkey), and ÇEVBİR (Translators’ Union), Eradam received a British Council scholarship and studied in Moray House College of Education, in Edinburgh, Scotland for an M.A. in TESOL with his dissertation Literature in Language Teaching (1988-89).
He worked as an instructor of English at Hacettepe University (1977-85). He taught comparative literature and film at UNLV (1994) and at SVSU of Michigan (1999). He taught American literature and translation at the Department of American Culture and Literature of Ankara University for 20 years (1985-2004) and retired as the Chair.
Eradam, with many awards in creative activities, is the author of 13 books (poetry, short-stories, essays. He is also known for his translations of two Paul Auster novels, Melville’s Bartleby, the Scrivener, Sylvia Plath’s Ariel poems and Gabards’ Psychiatry and the Cinema. He has contributed to and edited many more. He has held five photography exhibitions, one in Michigan, USA. He represented Turkey at the 1999 Cambridge writers and translators gathering of the British Council, 25th Anniversary, and at the first Conference of Waltic writers and translators in 2008.
Yusuf Eradam lives and writes in Cihangir, Beyoğlu, Istanbul, working as an Independent Scholar after 44 years of Higher Education experience. After having received the “2021 Honorary Award” from the Association of Translation in Turkey, he is currently translating Emily Dickinson’s poetry, writing his first novel, and working on projects for ecological ecesis, his theory for a peaceful planetarian existence.
- Gül Kanadı Dudağım. (My Lips Bled Roses) İstanbul: E, 1994. (Poetry)
- Ben’den Önce Tufan: Sylvia Plath ve Şiiri. (The Deluge Before the Self: Sylvia Plath and Her Poetry), Ankara: Imge, 1997. (Eradam’s Associate Professorship Dissertation)
- Aşk Bir Şiddet Eylemidir: Latifeli Yazılar. (Love is an Act of Violence: Enigmatic Texts) Istanbul, E, 1999. (Essays, memoirs, letters)
- Kirli Kırlent: Latifeli Öyküler. (Dirty Cushion Cover: Enigmatic Stories). Istanbul: E, 1999. (Short Stories)
- Ahkam Vakti Tohumları (The Seeds of Revelation Times). Istanbul: Okuyan-Us, 2002. (Poetry)
- Yamyamın Yemek Kitabı (Cookbook for Cannibals), Istanbul: Okuyan-Us, 2002. (Satire)
- Zıvanasız Denemeler (Unleashed Essays). İstanbul: Alkım, 2003 (Essays)
- Vanilyalı İdeoloji (Vanilla Ideology: Essays on Global Memory), İstanbul: Aykırı, 2004.
- Cihangir Vampiri (The Vampire of Cihangir). İstanbul: Aykırı, 2005. ( Short Stories)
- Susma Cesareti (The Courage of Shutting-Up), 2006 (Essays)
- Plinth Dwellers of Cihangir. Istanbul: Kirmizi Korsan, 2008 (A book of his latest photography exhibition and his bilingual haikus for life accompanying the photos)
- Aşk: Faili Meçhul Cani (Love: The Criminal, Maker-Anonymous), Izmir: Şenocak Yayınları, 2008.
- Thespis’in Delileri: Tiyatroda Tek Etki (The Madmen of Thespis: Totality in Effect in Theatre), Ankara: Elif Yayınları, 2010.
Eradam’s Translations into Turkish:
- Paul Auster, Cam Kent. (City of Glass), 1994.
- Paul Auster, Kilitli Oda (The Locked Room), 1994.
- Okot p’Bitek, Lawino’nun Türküsü. (Lawino’s Song) (Trans. with G. Siper), 1996.
- Sylvia Plath, Ariel, 1997.
- Herman Melville, Katip Bartleby (Bartleby, the Scrivener), 2000.
- Krin&Glen Gabard, Psikiyatri ve Sinema (Psychiatry and the Cinema) (Trans. with H. Satılmışoğlu), 2003.
- Anthony Storr, Birbaşına (Solitude) (with Misbah Şengül; to be published in 2010.)
- Herman Melville, Katip Bartleby (Bartleby, the Scrivener), Istanbul: Apollon Yayınevi, 2009. (bilingual edition).
Translations into Turkish Edited by Eradam and some of his contributions to other books and anthologies:
- Samuel Huntington, Medeniyetler Çatışıyor (The Clash of Civilizations), 2002.
- John Gray, Alexandre Tekniği Rehberiniz (Your Guide to Alexandrian Technique). Ankara: Imge, 1996.
- Vineland Sagaları (Vineland: Sagas of the Vikings). Ankara: Imge, 1996.
- Francine de Plessix Gray, Aşıklar ve Zorbalar (Lovers and Tyrants), Ankara: Imge, 1996.
- Maya Angelou, Kadın Kalbi (The Heart of a Woman), Ankara: Imge, 1995.
- This Same Sky: A Collection of Poems from Around the World, Naomi Shihab Nye (ed). 1988.
- The Space Between Our Steps: Poems and Paintings from the Middle East, Naomi Shihab Nye (ed). 1992.
- Sei Şonagon, Yastıkname. Ed. Tuncay Birkan. İstanbul: Metis, 2006. (a novel 83 translators of the Book Translators Association contributed)
- Che in Verse. Ed. Gavin O’Toole and Georgina Jiménez. London: Aflame Books, 2007.
- Side by Side: Poetry for Art from Around the World. Ed. Jan Greenberg. New York: Abrams, 2008.
i was a child, a little child i played
games with child friends whose names i forgot
i was the best at grabbing the five stones off the ground
thanks to those five stones in one hand
i could never ever hold a sling to kill birds
i didn’t even know their names
with my tit-cat and my kite i could
naturally be one with all the children of the world
i was also good at singing to the ten green bottles
hanging on the wall full of my childhood dreams
until headmasters cudgeled them down one by one
my fingers are immune to killing since then
i never played with matches
for fear of burning something alive
then i saw life-size cartoons of wars, of massacres, of genocide,
of owls sling-shot dead for brooding,
of fingerprints crying out for their owners,
of the fingers for freedom of conscience broken,
of artists, singers, poets, cartoonists burnt alive,
of caretta carettas crying for help,
of mothers shedding tears after their deceased children,
of pinocchio leaders trying to black-out the sky,
of fools in arms to fool children by toys,
of nuclear chimneys sooting colorful pencils,
of animals in fables hands up before civilization,
of people marching only to be able to speak their language,
of incessant cruelty, and
of intolerance and violence run wild, and
of human beings indifferent to human affliction.
now in my room with birds from all over the world
i play hide-and-seek in poems
hoping to shed light onto lullabies
hoping not to pluck out eyes with a fling
when drawing eye brows
and hoping not to be
the stone for a sling.
(Published in: The Space Between Our Footsteps: poems and paintings from the Middle East. Selected by Naomi Shihab Nye. New York:Simon and Schuster, 1998:88)
(Also published in: The Flag of Childhood: poems from the middle east. Selected by Naomi Shihab Nye. New York: Aladdin Books, 2002.)
I am the track left behind a boat
anchored on the other side of the water
I am as silent as the worn out socks
that fed moths being worn not even once
I am the secret the wind is too lazy even to hit
on a mountain side at the other end of the world
I am bodiless like a moment
on the calender waiting to be circled
I am cleaner than the child inhaling the night
with eyes on the moon and naked feet in the sea
I am the visitor you have welcomed only in your dreams
the moon phospor-essence you would not like to see on your wet feet
I have dropped my rusty anchor and left the sun in the water
because you mistook the night for the day
I am the only vice to be pardoned
I am following my wind to the mountains
I cannot look back you will be frightened
I am following my own track
to the time when I will smoke but no soot
do not touch me if you’re not clean
You’d rather get on this poem
take your calender with you
and come to this country of mine
don’t sit there no-bodiless
Be my moth and consume
or get in my circle
be my body and be consumed.
Jan 24, 1993 (Turkish original)
Feb 24, 1993 (translation into English)
HAIKUS FOR LIFE
Open me carefully
pink music is the bookmark
love is to the seer.
Why are they so happy?
spring light is good to souls
and they watch their dreams.
If a falling leaf
sees me dying
it remembers you.
School bells stopped ringing
the sun will melt their ice-cream
it’s kids’ holiday.
One hand is plane tree
but soft like rose buds of May
the other, art on water.
Herald of life anew
is the cherry breeze
to the street cat.
I write my destiny,
death, be not proud in vain!
haikus will remain.
Once innocence is crossed
love walked its way up the hill
to forget the shame
I saw you again
my name echoed in plum blossoms
when you did arrive.
Haiku in May bed
is to miss the young lover
in some purple dream.
Gather the fall leaves
scatter them on to the sky
light will make them stars.
The scar on my face
is to you mysterious beauty
purple blossoms to me.
Hardworking ants run in spring
and ignore empty glasses
winter is at hand.
Hardworking ants run in spring
and ignore empty glasses
winter is at hand.
My eyes may be smiling
spring calls me I hear
cheers to you sorrow!
Full moon it was
to herald the fall
has been its duty.
The flag carrier knows not
same light falls on the may leaves
and her hair in the open.
Hands are like roses
poison for the receiver
cure for the giver.
is under the fig tree now
it will give us life.
Storks migrate and
no drop can fall
without being perfected.
the firm foot on the ground
will push the breaks hard.
April smiles on his face
he eats ‘simit’ as he’s hungry
nobody knows it.
Homeless yearns not for home
but for his lost childhood dreams
piling up in his head.
Oh April showers!
after how many leaves
will you fall on me?
Naughty child is snow
rings the bells and runs away
hides from spring breeze.
She is the naive one
the rose-thorn nightingale
they cut off her tongue.
It is easily noticeable
autumn has fallen in the heart
once the word ended.
Cats board on kites
when march is over
and sail to neverland.
Fire is the tinner’s friend
shadow is the cell he hides
the sun mercies not.
The neighbor indeed
gives you the right hand in need
and always laughs with you.
my good life’s sorrow harvests
always fire my heart.
when cherries blossomed
spring is a friend’s hand.
Too early to believe
not ripe yet, the pomegranate,
the joy of figs bake.
Thin silent handed
angel salutes you dearly
and gathers olives.
the horny tomcat
doesn’t see the thorn, nor the wall
it’s time to make love
The basil smelling wind
woke up to its lullaby
fire before autumn.
It was full moon and
couldn’t say summer is over
and migrated to the cloud.
If a falling leaf
sees you dying too early
it remembers me.
Snow covers all ugliness
binman is getting a life
people come and go.
The full moon is loose
to Basho, the haiku master,
it brings but sorrow.
The peanut pine tree
bore the full moon suddenly
The cloud set it.
The crab is shivering
in the fire hearted cloud
that came with spring.
In the April sun
we are three rings intertwined
you, me and the sea.
Curious are cats
listening to the wind of children
in the cool sunset.
The shadow is waiting
to entertain little kids
the sunset cat knows.
Spring is on time
for children on the playground
breeze is their best friend.
The road is entwined
ivy hides the homeless face
idea of life stays.
The last cool morning
pigeons watch the cherries
the Judas tree leaves.
The rose is to bloom
you are always on my mind
like the snow to the sun.
Wheat in autumn
is bread in spring for the hungry
life waits on shelves.
You are like a dream
I held you to burn my hands
spring branches bloomed.
Life is like artichokes
short but it is the duty
of spring in liver.
Art waits for new life
to guard the sleepy dwellers
summer is at hand.
Wicked is this May
it devours all my power
to hide in flower.
If the lover is gone
the pain left after the fall rain
is nothing but love!
My sakuras are melting
untouchable iron from
The air smells basil
The island wind never falls
on penny royal.
Snowflakes are tigers
like the dreams of an infant
Blake’s window burns bright.
Light conceals homeless
snowflakes are gods blind eyes
she is invisible.
My heart is cold
it snows when it is sunny
come early in the morning.
Water way dried up
is a road to fall people
bread is a must in hand.
in elderly dreams of man
framed is presentiment.
Tea taste at sunset
is a sign of miracle
life is here and now.
Wicked is the sun
the stone knows and is quiet
man remains and leaves.
While plum trees blossom
death is but a coincidence
my life but a haiku.
The big juicy peach
yielded its taste to my smile
once I gave it a bite.
For other contributions by Yusuf Eradam, please follow the link below:
Poetry in this post: © Yusuf Eradam
Published with the permission of Yusuf Eradam