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Thursday, 12 October 2017

POET OF THE MONTH #43: Bejan Matur



BEJAN MATUR, c 2004






GROWING UP IN TWO DREAMS


While you talk about sleep like someone
who grew up in two dreams
my heart splits.


The light reflected on the wall makes words ––
perhaps while I slept they appeared ––
still swirling around me.
Mountains, they say
the mountains stand still
with the blood of belief.


Because it’s morning after all
that will shake us awake.
Earth and our birth-right
have been stolen.


You walk a mountain road.
A house with a smoking chimney ––
like colour dispersing in water ––
doesn’t tell the truth.


The one speaking to us
is still invisible.
Who is it?


History has already opened these wounds.
Fragile, the scars, thickened
with anger.


Our voices are our only shelter in the lit night.
Who can we turn to?
What words can we use to speak of pain,
in what language can we ask to be forgiven?
We need a clean slate,
a sunrise of words,
dawn of the soul.


We need the gentle home with chimney smoking.
To walk by its walls on forgiving soil.
We decide this is somewhere
we can take refuge
and fall quiet
we fall quiet



Date unspecified




Translated by CANAN MARASLIGIL and JEN HADFIELD




The Poet:  The following biographical statement appears on the Poetry Translation Centre website.  [It is re-posted here for information purposes only and, like the poem re-posted above, remains its author's exclusive copyright-protected intellectual property.]

Bejan Matur is the most illustrious poet among a bold new women’s poetry emerging from the Middle East.  Her poetry engages directly and concretely with the struggles of her people, and yet there is also a mysticism in her writing, a closeness to nature, an embracing of mythology –– a dialogue with God.

Bejan Matur was born in 1968 to a Kurdish Alevi family in Marash, South-east Turkey. She studied law at Ankara University.  Her first collection of poetry, Rüzgar Dolu Konaklar (Winds Howl Through the Mansions, 1996), stood out from the contemporary mainstream of Turkish poetry and won several literary prizes. She is the author of four further collections: Tanrı Görmesin Harflerimi (God Must Not See the Letter of My Script, 1999); Ayın Büyüttüğü Oğullar (The Sons Reared by the Moon, 2002) Onun Çölünde (In His Desert, also 2002); and İbrahim’in Beni Terketmesi (How Abraham Abandoned Me, 2008). She has also written prose books and works for the stage.

Bejan Matur's poetry has been translated into 28 languages including French, Spanish and Chinese. She has two collections in English translation, both with Arc Publications: In The Temple of a Patient God and How Abraham Abandoned Me (which was selected as 'best translation of the year' by the Poetry Society in 2012).

From 2005 to 2012 Bejan Matur wrote regular opinion pieces for major Turkish newspapers. Her subjects of interest were Kurdish politics, Armenian issues, day-to-day politics, minority issues, prison literature, and women's issues. She is a former director of the Diyarbakır Cultural Art Foundation.  She currently lives in London and is a consultant on Kurdish issues for the Democratic Progress Institute. 


Click HERE to read more poetry by Kurdish poet BEJAN MATUR posted on the website of the Poetry Translation Centre.

You might also enjoy:
POET OF THE MONTH #42: Farzaneh Khojandi
POET OF THE MONTH #30: Ayten Mutlu 
POET OF THE MONTH #24: Nazim Hikmet

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