Nâzım Hikmet

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Nâzım Hikmet Ran
NazimHikmetRan.jpg
Born Nâzım Hikmet
(1902-01-15)15 January 1902[1]
Salonica, Ottoman Empire (today Thessaloniki, Greece)
Died 3 June 1963(1963-06-03) (aged 61)
Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Occupation Poet, playwright, novelist, memoirist
Religion None (atheist)
Signature Nazim Hikmet Signature.jpg

Nâzım Hikmet Ran (15 January 1902 – 3 June 1963),[2][3] 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".[4] Described as a "romantic communist"[5] and "romantic revolutionary",[4] 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.

Family[edit]

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 granddaughter of Mehmed Ali Pasha. Nâzım has Polish, French and Georgian roots.[6][7] 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.[citation needed]

Early life[edit]

Ran was born on 15 January 1902, in Salonica, where his father served as a government official.[2][3] He attended the Taşmektep Primary School in the Göztepe district of Istanbul 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. 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 Istanbul 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.[5]

Style and achievements[edit]

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.[5] 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.[4]: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[edit]

Nâzım Hikmet's gravestone at the Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow

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.[8]

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.[9] 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.[8]

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.[8]

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.[8]

Later on, Ran escaped from Turkey to Romania on a ship via the Black Sea and from there moved to the USSR.

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.[10][11]

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.[12] 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.

Ran had Polish and Turkish citizenship. The latter was revoked in 1959, and restored in 2009.[13][14] His family has been asked if they want his remains repatriated from Russia.[15]

Patronage[edit]

During the 1940s, as he was serving his sentence at Bursa Prison, he used to paint. There, he met a young inmate named İbrahim Balaban. Ran discovered Balaban's talent in drawing, gave all his paint and brushes to him, and encouraged him to continue with painting. Ran influenced the peasant, and educated him, who had finished only a three-grade village school, in forming his own ideas in the fields of philosophy, sociology, economics and politics. Ran admired Balaban much, and referred to him in a letter to the novelist Kemal Tahir as "his peasant painter" (Turkish: Köylü ressam). Their contact remained also after they were released from the prison.[16][17]

Selected works[edit]

I come and stand at every door[edit]

The poem (titled Ölü Kızcağı on the photo) typewritten by Nâzım Hikmet Ran himself and the letter of Japanese children to him presenting their thanks

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;[18] it is also known in English by various other titles, including I come and Stand at Every Door, I Unseen and Hiroshima Girl.[19]

Turkish
Greek
  • Manos Loizos composed settings of some of Ran's poems, adapted in Greek by the poet Yiannis Ritsos. They are included in the 1983 disc Grammata stin agapimeni (Letters to the beloved one).
English

The song was later covered by

  • Ibon Errazkin has an instrumental song with the 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.
Japanese

In 2005, famous Amami Ōshima singer Chitose Hajime collaborated with Ryuichi Sakamoto by translating Kız Çocuğu into Japanese, retitling it 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 album Hanadairo in 2006.

Nepali

Suman Pokhrel translated some of Ran's poems into Nepali. Those poems are collected in an anthology entitled Manpareka Kehi Kavita.

On the soldier worth 23 cents[edit]

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[23] compared with the lowest echelon U.S. soldiers at $70,[24] 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[edit]

  • Hikmet's poem We'll Give the Globe to the Children was set on music in 1979 by Russian composer David Tukhmanov.

Sofia Rotaru and children's chorus — We'll Give the Globe to the Children on YouTube

  • 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.

Bibliography[edit]

Plays[edit]

  • Kafatası (1932, The Skull)
  • Unutulan Adam (1935, The Forgotten Man)
  • Ferhad ile Şirin 1965 (Ferhad and Şirin)
  • Lüküs Hayat – Luxurious Living (as ghostwriter)

Novels[edit]

  • Yaşamak Güzel Şey Be Kardeşim (1967, Life's Good, Brother)

Poems[edit]

  • 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)

Poetry[edit]

  • 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[edit]

  • 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
  • Life's Good, Brother / Translated from the Turkish Yaşamak Güzel Şey Be Kardeşim by Mutlu Konuk Blasing, New York : Persea Books, c2013. ISBN 978-089255-418-8
  • Nâzım Hikmet, That Wall / illustrations [by] Maureen Scott, London : League of Socialist Artists, [1973]. ISBN 0-9502976-2-3
  • Nâzım Hikmet, Life's Good, Brother ; translated by Mutlu Konuk Blasing, New York : W. W. Norton & Company, 2013. ISBN 978-0892554188

Partial list of translated works in other languages[edit]

  • 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[25]
  • 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.), F. Negrin (Illustrator), Mondadori, 2003. ISBN 978-8804524892
  • Paesaggi umani / Nâzım Hikmet, Joyce Lussu (Trans.), Fahrenheit 451, 1992. ISBN 978-88-86095-00-6
  • Vita del poeta / Nâzım Hikmet, Joyce Lussu (Trans.), Cattedrale, 2008. ISBN 978-88-95449-15-9
  • Gran bella cosa è vivere, miei cari / Nâzım Hikmet, F. Beltrami (Trans.), Mondadori, 2010. ISBN 978-88-04603-22-1
  • Poesie d'amore e di lotta / Nâzım Hikmet, G. Bellingeri (Editor), F. Beltrami (Trans.), F. Boraldo (Trans.), Mondadori, 2013. ISBN 978-88-04-62713-5
  • Les Romantiques (La vie est belle, mon vieux) / Nâzım Hikmet, Münevver Andaç (Trans.), TEMPS ACTUELS, 1982. ISBN 978-22-01015-75-5
  • Il neige dans la nuit et autres poèmes / Nâzım Hikmet, Münevver Andaç (Trans.), Güzin Dino (Trans.), Gallimard, 1999. ISBN 978-20-70329-63-2
  • La Joconde et Si-Ya-Ou / Nâzım Hikmet, Abidine Dino (Trans.), Parangon, 2004. ISBN 978-28-41901-14-2
  • Pourquoi Benerdji s’est-il suicidé? / Nâzım Hikmet, Münevver Andaç (Trans.), Aden Editions, 2005. ISBN 978-29-30402-12-3
  • Le nuage amoureux / Nâzım Hikmet, Münevver Andaç (Trans.), Gallimard Jeunesse Giboulées, 2013. ISBN 978-20-70648-89-4
  • Últimos poemas I (1959-1960-1961) / Nâzım Hikmet, Fernando García Burillo (Trans.), Ediciones Del Oriente Y Del Mediterráneo S.L., 2000. ISBN 978-84-87198-60-1
  • Últimos poemas II (1962-1963): Poemas finales / Nâzım Hikmet, Fernando García Burillo (Trans.), Ediciones Del Oriente Y Del Mediterráneo S.L., 2005. ISBN 978-84-87198-75-5
  • Poezje wybrane / Nâzım Hikmet, Małgorzata Łabęcka-Koecherowa (Trans.), Ludowa Spółdzielnia Wydawnicza, 1981. ISBN 978-83-20533-75-0
  • Romantyczność / Nâzım Hikmet, Aleksander Olecki (Trans.), Książka i Wiedza, 1965.
  • Allem-kallem: baśnie tureckie / Nâzım Hikmet, Małgorzata Łabęcka-Koecherowa (Trans.), Elżbieta Gaudasińska (Trans.), Nasza Księgarnia, 1985. ISBN 831008515X
  • Zakochany obłok: baśń turecka / Nâzım Hikmet, Małgorzata Łabęcka-Koecherowa (Trans.), Krajowa Agencja Wydawnicza, 1987. ISBN 978-83-03016-35-5

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Radikal.com.tr
  2. ^ a b Encyclopædia Britannica: Nazım Hikmet (Turkish author)
  3. ^ a b Nazım Hikmet Kültür ve Sanat Vakfı
  4. ^ a b c Selected poems, Nazim Hikmet translated by Ruth Christie, Richard McKane, Talat Sait Halman, Anvil press Poetry, 2002, p.9 ISBN 0-85646-329-9
  5. ^ a b c 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]
  6. ^ Vera Tulyakova Hikmet, Nâzımʾla söyleşi, Cem Yayınevi, 1989, p. 257.
  7. ^ Hikmet Akgül, Nâzım Hikmet: siyasi biyografi, Çiviyazilari, 2002, p. 50.
  8. ^ a b c d "Nazım Hikmet". Ministry of Culture. Retrieved 2010-02-07. 
  9. ^ "Life Story -5". Nazım Hikmet Ran. Retrieved 2010-02-07. 
  10. ^ Greek newspaper I Avgi, 17 January 1955 and Phileleftheros, 31 March 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.

  11. ^ "Bloody Truth pg.218". Movement For Justice And Freedom in Cyprus. 
  12. ^ Nazim Hikmet
  13. ^ "Nazım'la ilgili girişim iade-i itibar değil". CNN Turk (in Turkish). 10 January 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-11. 
  14. ^ "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. 10 January 2009. 2009/14540. Retrieved 2009-01-11. 
  15. ^ Politika. "Nazım yeniden Türk vatandaşı oluyor". Radikal (in Turkish). 5 January 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-05. 
  16. ^ "İbrahim Balaban celebrates six decades of art in latest exhibition". Today's Zaman. 2011-01-13. Retrieved 2014-05-02. 
  17. ^ Genç, Türkan (2012-04-08). "Bursa: Tarihin İçinde Zamanın Ötesinde - Şair Baba Nazım'ın Köylü Ressamı: İbrahim Babaan" (in Turkish). Time Out Bursa. Retrieved 2014-05-02. 
  18. ^ a b http://www.springsteenlyrics.com/lyrics/i/icomeandstandateverydoor.php
  19. ^ http://www.albany.edu/talkinghistory/arch-recent.html
  20. ^ Fazil Say: Kız Cocuğu on YouTube
  21. ^ 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 a 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
  22. ^ "Pete Seeger Marks 68th Anniversary of Hiroshima Bombing By Singing...". democracynow. youtube. 9 August 2013. Retrieved 20 September 2013. 
  23. ^ United States Congress. Senate Committee on Appropriations (1955). Legislative-judiciary Appropriations. U.S. Govt. Print. Off. p. 87. 
  24. ^ United States Congress, Committee on Foreign Relations (1951). Mutual Security Act of 1951. U.S. Govt. Print. Off. p. 60. 
  25. ^ www.notadotradutor.com/edicoes.html

External links[edit]