Ikinci Yeni - The Turkish Avant-Garde
Edited & translated by George Messo
Published by Shearsman Books Ltd (2009)
The Ikinci Yeni are five 20th century Turkish poets, who overturned conventional thinking and took Turkish poetry down a new, experimental and thoroughly modern path. The idiom is often dense and obscure; the metaphors frequently challenging for a reader more used to English classical and contemporary styles. The poetry of all five is illustrative of their melancholic lives; a fact exemplified by their seemingly collective problem with alcoholism. Previously unknown to me, this was not an easy collection to read and, perhaps with the exception of Süreya’s delightful ‘Striptease’, demands that the reader works hard at gaining access to each poem. Nonetheless, there is a power within this work which equally provokes the reader to read, puzzle, return and read once more with an almost masochistic inquisitiveness.
(First published on the website of The Poetry Society as part of the Corneliu M Popescu Prize 2011 Virtual Book Club. October 2011. http://www.poetrysociety.org.uk/content/competitions/popescu/bookclub/ )