Poem BY EFE DUYAN

Efe Duyan
 EFE  DUYAN  (b. 1981, İstanbul, Turkey)
 He has been invited to several workshops, poetry readings and international organizations since 2009, including Turkish Poetry Evenings in Copenhagen, Word-Express Project (series of poetry readings in several Balkan Countries), 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 Tunisi, Venice Dropping Seeds Project, European Poetry Biennale in Brasov, Swiss PEN's Day of Writers in Prison Meeting in Geneva, Goran's Spring Festival in Croatia, Felix Poetry Festival in Antwerp, Writer’s Month Reading Series in Slovakia, Czechia, Poland and Ukraine, Mexico City Poetry Festival, Divan: Berlin-İstanbul Project, Eurovision Poetry Series in Berlin, İzmir Literature Festival, Iowa University International Writers Residency, and Hurst Visiting Professorship at St. Louis University. 
 He gave guest lectures on poetry at Ca-Foscari University, Atlanta University, and George Washington University, affiliated to Boston Massachusetts University as a short-term scholar.
 Some of his poems have been translated into Bosnian, Czech, Chinese, Croatian, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, French, Greek, German, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Kurdish, Latvian, Lithuanian, Rumanian, Macedonian, Maltese, Occitan, Polish, Slovenian, Slovakian, Spanish, Swedish, Ukrainian and Welsh.
 His translation works in poetry includes poetry collections of Radu Vancu (Romania), Matthias Göritz (Germany), Lloyd Schwartz (USA), and Madara Gruntmane (Latvia).
 He co-created poetry workshops with British, French, Italian, Israeli, Bulgarian, German, Swedish, Dutch, Japanese, Hungarian poets and the Istanbul Offline International Poetry Festival, Turkish American Poetry Days and Gaziantep International Poetry Festival. He acts as the Turkish co-editor of Rotterdam Poetry Foundations’s Poetry International Archives and advisor to Nâzım Hikmet Poetry Festival in North Carolina.
 He has been included in the anthology of Turkish Poetry PAPER SHIP (Great Britain, 2013), European Poetry Anthology GRAND TOUR (Germany, 2019), and EUROPOESIE – 21st Century Poetry Anthology (Great Britain, 2019).
 He worked in the editorial committees of literature magazines Nikbinlik (2000-2005) and Sanat Cephesi (2006-2010) and Istanbul Offline Magazine (2016-2019). His critical essay The Construction of Characters in Nâzım Hikmet’s Poetry has been published in 2008. He edited a contemporary 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 in Istanbul.   

PHILOSOPHICAL THESES ON LOVE

Efe Duyan

Translated by : Aron Aji

Everything started around a beat-up table

when one of us, as if giving away a secret, said

according to schopenhauer

only the reproductive urge draws people together

yet love is etched in my mind like a tattoo

or a sketch drawn on a napkin

the finer details yet to be determined

love is an idea

a choice

we give secrets in shiny gift packages

we ride the air bubbles rising in the water

eager to reach the surface

before popping

it’s dangerous

sartre says

worse still for him, attachment inhibits freedom

I had noticed when we held hands

at a certain angle

our hands

perfectly fit together

your wrist-bone in my palm’s hollow

my fingers wrapped around your fist-bones

I call it the angle of freedom

like that perfect angle

caught by an upwind sail

if you listen to wittgenstein

you can love someone only as much as you can express it

I have no objection

because in that small, even rather ugly park

where nouns, breaking off the objects they signify

fell to the world

like rain drops

and our love suddenly rekindled itself

hurry, we said, we have little time

let us also go to where language ends

carrying in our bags rich, creamy beginnings

spread on sandwich bread

we reclined on camping chairs

and watched love’s clouds relieved of secrets

till the names reevaporated.

ARON AJI 
He translated the poem from original Turkish Language.

Aron Aji is the Director of MFA in Literary Translation. A native of Turkey, he has translated works by Bilge Karasu, Murathan Mungan, Elif Shafak, LatifeTekin, and other Turkish writers, including three book-length works by Karasu: Death in Troy; The Garden of Departed Cats, (2004 National Translation Award); and A Long Day’s Evening, (NEA Literature Fellowship, and short-listed for the 2013 PEN Translation Prize). He also edited, Milan Kundera and the Art of Fiction. Aji leads the Translation Workshop, and teaches courses on retranslation, poetry and translation; theory, and contemporary Turkish literature. He is also the president of The American Literary Translators Association. 
TRANSLATOR’S NOTE
 By Aron Aji 
 
Some poems, built like houses with architectural intention, draw us in through their overall design, clean fine lines breaking at striking angles, guiding our eyes through carefully defined spaces opening to hallways that irresistibly lead us to unexpected enclosures where natural light plays among the walls breathe life into the lives for which they are intended.  Where form and function are inseparable, the space is not merely for dwelling. It asks to be experienced. Physically, materially. 
 This is how I first experienced the work of Efe Duyan the Turkish poet who is also, unsurprisingly, a scholar of architectural history at Mimar Sinan University, named after the greatest Ottoman architect whose breathtaking structures lend Istanbul an unrivaled beauty.
 Efe Duyan’s verses are composed so patiently, meticulously that they may as well have been drawn rather than written.  The lean interlacing of the words, the considered sparseness of the stanzas, the slow accretion of meaning along these afford the reader a striking transparency: we almost feel as if experiencing the poems taking shape as we read them.  
 In these translations, based on Duyan’s own drafts in English,  my principal aim was to strip the English text to its leanest and foreground as optimally as possible the formal ingenuity of both verse and poem.  Given the infamous incommensurabiltity of English and Turkish grammar, the process often required forcing the natural Turkish syntactical order on the English in order to foreground the physical direction of the verse and the gradual accretion of meaning.  In the Turkish originals, individual verses bring the reader to surprising semantic shifts and reversals; the movement through the poem, too, deftly builds on these surprise turns.  To follow Duyan’s meaning means to follow the physical lines as if on an architect’s blueprint.  Duyan’s initial drafts were principally, and justifiably, concerned with getting the meaning across as fully as possible.  After all, I am a native reader of Turkish and would then be able to concentrate on recreating their formal elegance, their seemingly effortless flow in the Turkish.  At best, I tried to create poetry written in English inside intrinsically Turkish forms, resonant with sounds and shades of the original language.   

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