As you might remember, one of the things that kept me busy in recent weeks was a book that I was translating into German: Turkish Cypriot Poetry Today. It features around 100 poems from 20 contemporary turkish-cypriot poets such as Neşe Yaşın, Rıza Ali, Tamer Öncül, Gür Genç and Jenan Selçuk.
The compilation had been printed and published in Turkey by the literary critique journal Yasak Meyve (The Forbidden Fruit) just in 2008. The Union of Turkish Cypriot Artists and Writer’s wanted this book to be translated into German so that it could be brought in front of the public at this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair, which will be held in mid-October.
Doing the translation of a compilation of poems meant a lot of work for me, and also some thorough wrestling beetween languages. I really don’t know what to say about the result. At some parts I did a pretty good job I think. At some parts however there will be a lot of dispute and criticism. In the aftermath I think that I should see my work as a first step to make this poetry known to a broader public. I hope that in the coming years people with much better command of both languages will make this a better book.
What really counts for me is that I finally could pay tribute to this island that came to my aid in a very critical stage in my life. Had I spent these 7 years somewhere else I probably would have gone mad. This little sanity that I managed to keep with me, I own it this island for sure.
There were times where I thought I’ll never be able to finish it. But the book is ready for the Frankfurt Book Fair. It’s exciting, isn’t it?