Nâzım Hikmet Ran
|Nâzım Hikmet Ran|
17 January 1902|
Salonica, Ottoman Empire (today Thessaloniki, Greece)
|Died||3 June 1963
Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
|Occupation||poet, playwright, novelist, memoirist|
Nâzım Hikmet Ran (15 January 1902 – 3 June 1963), commonly known as Nâzım Hikmet (Turkish: [naːˈzɯm hicˈmet]), was a Turkish poet, playwright, novelist and memoirist. He was acclaimed for the "lyrical flow of his statements". Described as a "romantic communist" and "romantic revolutionary", he was repeatedly arrested for his political beliefs and spent much of his adult life in prison or in exile. His poetry has been translated into more than fifty languages.
Ran was born in Salonica. He comes from a cosmopolitan and distinguished family, his father Hikmet Bey was the son of Mehmed Nazım Pasha and his mother Celile Hanım was the grand-daughter of Mehmed Ali Pasha. His maternal great-grandfather, Mustafa Celaleddin Pasha, (former Konstantin Polkozic-Borzecki 1826–1876) in Ottoman Empire, was of Polish origin and later converted to Islam, and authored "Les Turcs anciens et modernes" in Constantinople (present-day Istanbul), 1869 which is considered one of the first works of national Turkist political thoughts. His uncle Enver Celaleddin Pasha was on the Ottoman Army General Staff.
Ran was born on 15 January 1902, in Salonica, where his father served as a government official. He attended the Taşmektep Primary School in the Göztepe district of Constantinople and later enrolled in the junior high school section of the prestigious Galatasaray High School in the Beyoğlu district, where he began to learn French; but in 1913 he was transferred to the Numune Mektebi in the Nişantaşı district. In 1918 he graduated from the Ottoman Naval School in Heybeliada, one of the Princes' Islands located in the Sea of Marmara, to the southeast of Constantinople. His school days coincided with a period of political upheaval as the Ottoman government entered the First World War allying itself with Germany. For a brief period he was assigned as a naval officer to the Ottoman cruiser Hamidiye, but in 1919 he became seriously ill, and not being able to fully recover, was exempted from naval service in 1920.
In 1921, together with his friends Vâlâ Nûreddin (Vâ-Nû), Yusuf Ziya Ortaç and Faruk Nafiz Çamlıbel, he went to İnebolu in Anatolia in order to join the Turkish War of Independence; from there he (together with Vâlâ Nûreddin) walked to Ankara, where the Turkish liberation movement was headquartered. In Ankara they were introduced to Mustafa Kemal Pasha (Atatürk) who wanted the two friends to write a poem that would invite and inspire the Turkish volunteers in Constantinople and elsewhere to join their struggle. This poem was much appreciated, and Muhittin Bey (Birgen) decided to appoint them as teachers to the Sultani (high-college) in Bolu, rather than sending them to the front as soldiers. However, their communist views were not appreciated by the conservative officials in Bolu, and the two decided to go to Batumi in the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic to experience in first person the results of the Russian Revolution of 1917, arriving there on 30 September 1921. In July 1922 the two friends went to Moscow, where Ran studied Economics and Sociology at the Communist University of the Toilers of the East in the early 1920s. There, he was influenced by the artistic experiments of Vladimir Mayakovsky and Vsevolod Meyerhold, as well as the ideological vision of Lenin.
Style and achievements
Despite writing his first poems in syllabic meter, Nazım Hikmet distinguished himself from the "syllabic poets" in concept. With the development of his poetic conception, the narrow forms of syllabic verse became too limiting for his style and he set out to seek new forms for his poems.
He was affected by the young Soviet poets who advocated Futurism. On his return to Turkey, he became the charismatic leader of the Turkish avant-garde, producing streams of innovative poems, plays and film scripts. Breaking the boundaries of the syllabic meter, he changed his form and preferred writing in free verse which harmonised with the rich vocal properties of the Turkish language.
He has been compared by Turkish and non-Turkish men of letters to such figures as Federico García Lorca, Louis Aragon, Mayakovsky and Pablo Neruda. Although his work bears resemblance to these poets and owes them occasional debts of form and stylistic device, his literary personality is unique in terms of the synthesis he made of iconoclasms and lyricism, of ideology and poetic diction.:19
Many of his poems have been adapted into songs by the composer Zülfü Livaneli. A part of his work has been translated into Greek by Yiannis Ritsos, and some of these translations have been arranged by the Greek composers Manos Loizos and Thanos Mikroutsikos.
Later life and legacy
Ran's imprisonment in the 1940s became a cause célèbre among intellectuals worldwide; a 1949 committee that included Pablo Picasso, Paul Robeson, and Jean Paul Sartre campaigned for Ran's release.
On 8 April 1950, Ran commenced a hunger strike in protest against the parliament's not including an amnesty law in its agenda before its closing for the upcoming general election. He was then transferred from the prison in Bursa first to the infirmary of Sultanahmet Jail in Istanbul and later to Paşakapısı Prison. Seriously ill, Ran ceased his strike on 23 April, the National Sovereignty and Children's Day for a while. His doctors requested to treat him in a hospital for three months that was not allowed by the officials. Since his imprisonment status did not change, he resumed hunger strike on the morning of 2 May.
His strike created much reaction in the country. Signature campaigns were launched and a magazine named after him was published. His mother Celile began hunger strike on 9 May, followed by renowned Turkish poets Orhan Veli, Melih Cevdet and Oktay Rıfat the next day. Upon the new political situation after the 1950 Turkish general election held on 14 May, the strike was ended five days later on 19 May, the Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day. He was finally released through a general amnesty law enacted by the new government.
On 22 November 1950, the World Council of Peace announced that Nazım Hikmet Ran was among the recipients of the International Peace Prize along with Pablo Picasso, Paul Robeson, Wanda Jakubowska and Pablo Neruda.
When the upspring of the EOKA struggle took place in Cyprus, Ran believed that the population of Cyprus could live together peacefully and called on the Turkish minority to support the Greek Cypriots to achieve the demand of ending the British rule.
Persecuted for decades by the Republic of Turkey during the Cold War for his communist views, Ran died of a heart attack in Moscow on 3 June 1963 at 6.30 am while picking up a morning newspaper at the door at his summer house in Peredelkino away from his beloved homeland. He is buried in Moscow's famous Novodevichy Cemetery, where his imposing tombstone is even today a place for pilgrimage by Turks and many others from around the world. His final will was to be buried under a plane-tree (platanus) in any village cemetery in Anatolia, which was never realized.
Despite his persecution by the Turkish state, Nâzım Hikmet was always revered by the Turkish nation. His poems depicting the people of the countryside, villages, towns and cities of his homeland (Memleketimden İnsan Manzaraları, i.e. Human Landscape from my Country) as well as the Turkish War of Independence (Kurtuluş Savaşı Destanı, i.e. The Epic of the War of Independence) and the Turkish revolutionaries (Kuvâyi Milliye, i.e. Force of the Nation) are considered among the greatest patriotic literary works in Turkey.
I come and stand at every door
Ran's poem Kız Çocuğu (The Little Girl) conveys a plea for peace from a seven-year-old girl, ten years after she has perished in the atomic bomb attack at Hiroshima. It has achieved popularity as an anti-war message and has been performed as a song by a number of singers and musicians both in Turkey and worldwide, which is also known in English by various other titles, including "I come and Stand at Every Door" and "Hiroshima Girl".
- Zülfü Livaneli has performed a version of the original Turkish poem on Nazım Türküsü, which was later sung in Turkish by Joan Baez.
- Fazıl Say included the poem in his "Nazım" oratorio in Turkish.
- Manos Loizos composed settings of some of Ran's poems, adapted in Greek by poet Yiannis Ritsos. They are included in the 1983 disc "Grammata stin agapimeni" (Letters to the beloved one).
- The traditional tune of "The Great Silkie" of Sule Skerry, which is recorded by American folksinger Joan Baez as "Silkie" in her second album Joan Baez, Vol. 2 in 1961.
- According to American activist folk musician Pete Seeger, Jeanette Turner did a loose English translation, "a singable translation" of the poem in with a different title, I Come And Stand At Every Door and sent a note to Seeger asking "Do you think you could make a tune for it?" in the late 1950s. After a week of try and failure, this English translation was used by Seeger in 1962 with an adaptation of "an extraordinary melody put together by an Massachusetts Institute of Technology student [James Waters] who had put a new tune to a mystical ballad [The Great Silkie]" which he couldn't get out of his head, without permission. Seeger wrote in Where Have All the Flowers Gone: "It was wrong of me. I should have gotten his permission. But it worked. The Byrds made a good recording of it, electric guitars and all." Seeger also used the track in his 1999 compilation album Headlines & Footnotes: A Collection Of Topical Songs.
- The Byrds, an American rock band used the translation on their third album Fifth Dimension in 1966.
- The Misunderstood, used the translation changing the title to 'I Unseen', on their 1966 album Before The Dream Faded with their own tune.
- Paul Robeson recorded the song as The Little Dead Girl with another translation.
The song was later covered by
- Ivo Watts-Russell's supergroup, This Mortal Coil on their 1991 album Blood with vocals of Louise Rutkowski, Deirdre Rutkowski with Tim Freeman and 1983–1991
- The Fall on their 1997 album Levitate, albeit omitting the last verse and wrongly attributing writing credits to anon/J Nagle. "I Come and Stand At Your Door" listed as "Anon/Nagle", which is an interpretation of the song "I Come and Stand At Every Door". "Jap Kid" is an instrumental version of this track.
- Silent Stream Of Godless Elegy, a Moravian folk metal band, on their album Behind the Shadows in 1998.
- Faith & Disease at their 1998 album Insularia
- Anne Hills at 1998 album Where Have All The Flowers Gone: The Songs of Peter Seeger.
- Ibon Errazkin has an instrumental song with same title at Esculea de arte album
- Styrofoam aka Arne Van Petegem's EP and first US release, RR20, included an instrumental version of the traditional tune of Great Silkie with same title.
In 2005, famed Amami Ōshima singer Chitose Hajime collaborated with Ryuichi Sakamoto by translating Kız Çocuğu into Japanese by retitling it as 'Shinda Onna no Ko' [死んだ女の子]). It was performed live at the Atomic Bomb Dome in Hiroshima on the eve of the 60th Anniversary (5 August 2005) of Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The song later appeared as a bonus track on Chitose's Hanadairo album in 2006.
On the soldier worth 23 cents
How do you propose to get it? Do you want to get it through the cooperation of Turkey where the men in the ranks get 23 cents a month the first year and 32 cents the second year, or do you want to get an American division and equip it and send it over to Turkey which would cost you 10 times as much?—John Foster Dulles, U.S. Secretary of State, 1955
He also opposed the Korean War, in which Turkey participated. After the Senate address of John Foster Dulles, who served as U.S. Secretary of State under President Dwight D. Eisenhower, where he valued Turkish soldiers at 23 cents a month compared with the lowest echelon U.S. soldiers at $70, Nazım Hikmet Ran wrote a protest poem criticising the policies of the United States. This poem is titled "23 Sentlik Askere Dair" (On the soldier worth 23 cents).
In popular culture
- Hikmet's poem We'll Give the Globe to the Children was set on music in 1979 by Russian composer David Tukhmanov.
- Tale of Tales is a Russian animated film (1979) partially inspired by Hikmet's poem of the same name.
- The Ignorant Fairies is a 2001 Italian film, in which a book by Hikmet plays a central plot role.
- Mavi Gözlü Dev (Blue Eyed Giant) is a 2007 Turkish biographical film about Nazım Hikmet. The title is a reference to the poem Minnacık Kadın ve Hanımelleri. The film chronicles Nazim Hikmet's imprisonment at Bursa Prison and his relationships with his wife Piraye and Munevver. He is played by Yetkin Dikinciler.
- Hikmet's poem was cited in 2012 Korean drama Cheongdam-dong Alice.
- Kafatası (1932, The Skull)
- Unutulan Adam (1935, The Forgotten Man)
- Ferhad ile Şirin 1965 (Ferhad and Şirin)
- Lüküs Hayat - Luxurious Living (as ghostwriter)
- Yaşamak Güzel Şey be Kardeşim (1967, It's great to be alive, brother)
- Taranta-Babu'ya Mektuplar (1935, Letters to Taranta-Babu)
- Simavne Kadısı Oğlu Şeyh Bedreddin Destanı (1936, The Epic of Sheikh Bedreddin)
- Memleketimden İnsan Manzaraları (1966–67, Human Landscapes from My Country)
- Kurtuluş Savaşı Destanı (1965, The Epic of the War of Independence)
- İlk şiirler / Nâzım Hikmet, İstanbul : Yapı Kredi, 2002. ISBN 975-08-0380-9
- 835 satır / Nâzım Hikmet, İstanbul : YKY, 2002. ISBN 975-08-0373-6
- Benerci kendini niçin öldürdü? / Nâzım Hikmet, İstanbul : YKY, 2002. ISBN 975-08-0374-4
- Kuvâyi Milliye / Nâzım Hikmet, İstanbul : YKY, 2002. ISBN 975-08-0375-2
- Yatar Bursa Kalesinde / Nâzım Hikmet, İstanbul : YKY, 2002. ISBN 975-08-0376-0
- Memleketimden insan manzaraları : (insan manzaraları) / Nâzım Hikmet, İstanbul : YKY, 2002. ISBN 975-08-0377-9
- Yeni şiirler : (1951–1959) / Nâzım Hikmet, İstanbul : Yapı Kredi Yayınları, 2002. ISBN 975-08-0378-7
- Son şiirleri : (1959–1963) / Nâzım Hikmet, İstanbul : Yapı Kredi Yayınları, 2002. ISBN 975-08-0379-5
Partial list of translated works in English
- The Selected Poems of Nazim Hikmet, London: Cape Editions, Jonathan Cape, c. 1970.
- The day before tomorrow : poems / done into English by Taner Baybars. South Hinksey, England : Carcanet Press, 1972. ISBN 0-902145-43-6
- Human landscapes / by Nazim Hikmet ; translated by Randy Blasing and Mutlu Konuk ; foreword by Denise Levertov, New York : Persea Books, c1982. ISBN 0-89255-068-6
- Beyond the walls : selected poems / Nâzim Hikmet ; translated by Ruth Christie, Richard McKane, Talât Sait Halman ; introduction by Talât Sait Halman, London : Anvil Press Poetry, 2002. ISBN 0-85646-329-9
- Selected poetry / Nazim Hikmet ; translated by Randy Blasing and Mutlu Konuk, New York : Persea Books, c1986. ISBN 0-89255-101-1
- Nâzım Hikmet, That Wall / illustrations [by] Maureen Scott, London : League of Socialist Artists, . ISBN 0-9502976-2-3
Partial translations in other languages
- Preso na Fortaleza de Bursa/Yatar Bursa Kalesinde, Leonardo da Fonseca (Trans.), In. (n.t.) Revista Literária em Tradução nº 1 (set/2010), Fpolis/Brasil, ISSN 2177-5141
- Poesie / Nâzım Hikmet, Joyce Lussu (Trans.), Newton Compton, 2010. ISBN 978-88-541-2027-3
- La conga con Fidel / Nâzım Hikmet, Joyce Lussu (Trans.), Fahrenheit 451, 2005. ISBN 978-88-86095-89-1
- Poesie d'amore / Nâzım Hikmet, Joyce Lussu (Trans.), Mondadori, 2002. ISBN 978-88-04-50091-9
- Il nuvolo innamorato e altre fiabe / Nâzım Hikmet, Giampiero Bellingeri (Trans.), Mondadori, 2002. ISBN 978-88-04-50091-9
- Paesaggi umani / Nâzım Hikmet, Joyce Lussu (Trans.), Fahrenheit 451, 1992. ISBN 978-88-86095-00-6
- Encyclopædia Britannica: Nazım Hikmet (Turkish author)
- Nazım Hikmet Kültür ve Sanat Vakfı
- Selected poems, Nazim Hikmet translated by Ruth Christie, Richard McKane, Talat Sait Halman, Anvil press Poetry, 2002, p.9 ISBN 0-85646-329-9
- Saime Goksu, Edward Timms, Romantic Communist: The Life and Work of Nazim Hikmet, St. Martin's Press, New York ISBN 0-312-22247-5[page needed]
- Finkel, Caroline, Osman's Dream, (Basic Books, 2005), 57; "Istanbul was only adopted as the city's official name in 1930..".
- [its name was Constantinople at that time, until it was renamed as Istanbul in 1930 BBC - Timeline: Turkey.
- Room, Adrian, (1993), Place Name changes 1900–1991, Metuchen, N.J., & London:The Scarecrow Press, Inc., ISBN 0-8108-2600-3 pp. 46, 86.
- Britannica, Istanbul.
- Lexicorient, Istanbul.
- "Nazım Hikmet". Ministry of Culture. Retrieved 2010-02-07.
- "Life Story -5". Nazım Hikmet Ran. Retrieved 2010-02-07.
- Greek newspaper I Avgi, 17/1/1955 and Phileleftheros, 31/3/2007:
Ran sent a message to the Turks of Cyprus, emphasizing that Cyprus was always Greek. [...] (The Turkish Cypriots) must support Greek Cypriots to achieve the liberation from British imperialism. [...] Only when the British imperialists leave the island the Turkish residents of the island will live truly free. [...] Those who try to make Turks oppose Greeks, actually only support the interest of the foreign ruler.
- "Bloody Truth pg.218". Movement For Justice And Freedom in Cyprus.
- Nazim Hikmet
- "Nazım'la ilgili girişim iade-i itibar değil". CNN Turk (in Turkish). 2009-01-10. Retrieved 2009-01-11.
- "Nazım Hikmet Ran’ın Türk Vatandaşlığından Çıkarılmasına İlişkin 25/7/1951 Tarihli ve 3/13401 Sayılı Bakanlar Kurulu Kararının Yürürlükten Kaldırılması Hakkında Karar" (Press release) (in Turkish). Başbakanlık Mevzuatı Geliştirme ve Yayın Genel Müdürlüğü. 2009-01-10. 2009/14540. Retrieved 2009-01-11.
- Politika. "Nazım yeniden Türk vatandaşı oluyor". Radikal (in Turkish). 2009-01-05. Retrieved 2009-01-05.
- Fazil Say: Kız Cocuğu on YouTube
- Seeger describes the story behind his version of the song in his Where Have All the Flowers Gone: A Singer's Stories, Songs, Seeds, Robberies (A Musical Autobiography) (1993): "In the late '50's I got a letter: 'Dear Pete Seeger: I've made what I think is a singable translation of a poem by the Turkish poet, Nazim Hikmet. Do you think you could make a tune for it? (Signed), Jeanette Turner.' I tried for a week. Failed. Meanwhile I couldn't get out of my head an extraordinary melody put together by an Massachusetts Institute of Technology student who had put a new tune to a mystical ballad The Great Silkie from the Shetland Islands north of Scotland. Without his permission I used his melody for Hikmet's words. It was wrong of me. I should have gotten his permission. But it worked. The Byrds made a good recording of it, electric guitars and all." http://www.albany.edu/talkinghistory/arch-recent.html
- United States Congress. Senate Committee on Appropriations (1955). Legislative-judiciary Appropriations. U.S. Govt. Print. Off. p. 87.
- United States Congress, Committee on Foreign Relations (1951). Mutual Security Act of 1951. U.S. Govt. Print. Off. p. 60.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Nazim Hikmet|
- Nâzım Hikmet Ran Archive at marxists.org
- Nâzım Usta (includes personal readings) (Turkish)
- Nazim Hikmet Kultur Merkezi (Turkish)
- Nâzım Hikmet 100 Yaşında, Hürriyet, March 2002 (Turkish)
- Nazım Hikmet info (Turkish page with bibliography)
- kirjasto (English page with bibliography)
- MokumTV (English page with biography)
- siirgen.org (Turkish site with links to texts and voice recordings of poems)
- Azerbaijani Symphonic composer Arif Malikov bases his Ballet "Legend of Love" on Nazim Hikmet's poetry "Farhad and Shirin," in Azerbaijan International, Vol. 13:1 (Spring 2005), pp. 32–35.