He graduated from the Political Sciences Faculty of Ankara University. He was the editor-in-chief of the Papirüsliterary magazine. Cemal Süreya is a notable member of the Second New Generation of Turkish poetry, an abstract and postmodern movement created as a backlash against the more popular-based Garip movement. Love, mainly through its erotic character, is a popular theme of Süreya's works. Süreya's poems and articles were published in magazines such as Yeditepe, Yazko, Pazar Postası, Yeni Ulus, Oluşum, Türkiye Yazıları, Politika, Aydınlık, and Somut. He is known to have been a primary influence on the poetry of Sunay Akın. He lost a letter "y" from his pen name – originally Süreyya – because of a lost bet with Turkish poet Sezai Karakoç.