Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Bridges of Words

Yagmur Siva-Kara Toprak by Asik Veysel

Note: Yesterday I received a package from Defne Bilir
that contained a print copy of
KITPA, a Turkish art, literary
and book review journal. Inside was the map of a page
containing 7 of my poems which she had translated into
Turkish, and which her father, Ali Bilir, sent to Cevat Capan,
the editor. Wow! and thanks!

I now know that 10 Haziran 1945 is my birthday in Turkish.
I’ve made a jpg of one poem for this post. Bridges in the
city of Istanbul spans two continents. So with these words
we span three.


Color of Death
Ali Bilir
Translated by M. Ali Sulutas
Poetic edit by Susan Bright

Listen to
the wind blow
billowing, heated
by fire
stirred up by Death
approaching, the rap rap
of darkness
gathering clamor
like a beating heart

Fallen, drunken trees
curtains pulled across the sun
autumn gasps
sweeping time
with a ballad of
snow-scented wind

Can you hear
the sorrow
that a mother hides in her chest
like a letter
still to be written
that will sentence her son
to military service, to a death
tied to the broken wing of a bird

Even a thrown stone
cannot penetrate where
the color of death is hiding!

(Gülnar, December ’94)

Sand Lily
Ali Bilir
Translated by M. Ali Sulutas
Poetic edit by Susan Bright

the blue dreamy sea
heaps fine sand
onto a naked beach,
white pebbles
awaiting the lovely heat of
many Augusts

Soon evening appears
with its mottled weaving
spreading clouds
over mountains
bowing wind
from burned-out places

This sand lily tells
best the passion
whirling around in my mind,
a drop of water
fallen onto the desert

(September ’94)

Ali Bilir
Translated by M. Ali Sulutas
Poetic edit by Susan Bright

covers the mountains,
and city cliffs
flows silent, secret, naked,
on winding paths of its own

A storm,
of desert fire
comes secretly
awakening Night
with passionate kisses
in broken
bird nests

Ah, my burning heart!
My ravished country!
I wish I could sleep
one day silent,
across your knees ...

Ah, pain!
Sharpen your blade even sharper…

(July ’94)

Poem in Turkish "Mother's Favorite Song" © Susan Bright, 1998.
Translated by Defne Bilir. Published in KITAP.

Mother’s Favorite Song
by Susan Bright

The song
that breaks through
is a soft one—
or eternal,
children laughing
trilling their tongues,
and cadence,
sometimes shrill,
sometimes with gusto
or mellow—
water flowing
over creek stones
in a child’s

Ali Bilir

Born in 1945 in Gülnar, Mersin, Turkey. Attended the School of Medicine for a year, but graduated from the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Istanbul, in 1969. Participated in the student and youth movements of 1968. In 1967, took a four-month adventure tour of Europe and North Africa, mainly on foot.

While practicing his profession in his own pharmacy in his home town of Gülnar, kept writing poems and short stories, which he had started doing in high school. Assumed responsibilities with cultural, social, educational, sports, and literature clubs.
His poems, short stories, and articles on certain subjects have been published in local, regional, national, and international periodicals, magazines, and journals.

Among the prizes he obtained are: 1990 Günes Magazine (Sweden) - Story, 1993 Orhan Kemal - Story, 1996 Ibrahim Yildiz - Honorable Mention for the poetry book of Göç Türküsü (Migration Ballad), 1998 Samim Kocagoz – Story, 2004 S. Avni Olez - Jury Special Prize for the poetry book of Güz Animsamalari (Autumn Reminiscences).

His published books in Turkish are: Usuyen Sicak Duslerim (My Shivering Warm Dreams) (Stories), Göç Türküsü (Migration Ballad) (Poems), Elestiriden Günceye (From Critique to Diary) (Critiques and Diaries), and Güz Animsamalari (Autumn Reminiscences) (Poems).


Susan Bright is the author of nineteen books of poetry. She is the editor of Plain View Press which since 1975 has published one-hundred-and-ninety books. Her work as a poet, publisher, activist and educator has taken her all over the United States and abroad. Her most recent book, The Layers of Our Seeing, is a collection of poetry, photographs and essays about peace done in collaboration with photographer Alan Pogue and Middle Eastern journalist, Muna Hamzeh.

Announcement: The Plain View Press e-store is online.


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Susan Bright,

Defne and I enjoyed translating your lovely poems into Turkish. We are also happy that your poems have been read by Turkish readers.

Yours sincerely,


7:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved reading your poetic edits of the Turkis poems, and your poem as well.


10:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is the strength of poetry that brings nations and cultures together in our complicated world with fear, pain, and war.

Defne and Ali F. Bilir

5:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Susan Bright, it was a pleasure for me to read your lovely poems in Turkish. I am sure that all the people who already read your poems are looking for the rest of them. So, happy birthday in Turkey!!!

Aysegul Bayraktar

5:54 PM  

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