Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Turkish poet's letter from jail: 'Freedom has not been hurt'

Our friend Zafer Yalçınpınar in Istanbul, he of the Ece Ayhan revival, sends the following translation he made of "an important letter of Ece Ayhan" to İlhan Berk (friend of Ece Ayhan, another Turkish poet...)" which was "written from a jailhouse."
January 7th, 1969

At the day of arrival, I harmonized myself.

What’s strange? Here, a human, wants something. First; if it’s possible, would you send tolerable amount of money ( Ayşe Deniz, Dolaybağı I Anadoluhisarı - İstanbul) at once or twice? Second; If there is an acquaintance of yours at Ministry of Justice, ask him to transfer me to “Şile” – I‘ve put up a petition for that. Going into “banishment” is a distance.

I’m on trial for one year penalty, my brother… If it works, I lie in prison for eight months at all. I mean that I’ll come out by the middle of July. Don’t be afraid, freedom has not been hurt.

I’m studing The Cinematics.

I read Robinson Crusoe.

We are four hundred brothers here. We are increasing, decreasing… They all say “hello” to you, İlhan.

(...) Friendly.

Ece Ayhan
I forgot to ask why the poet was in jail.

Ece Ayhan's prose poetic sequence Blind Cat Black, translated by Murat Nemet-Nejat, was the subject of our second poetry score and first Poetry Scores Art Invitational.

Interestingly, another great Turkish poet, Orhan Veli, wrote many verse letters, as well as a poem about Robinson Crusoe. Unfortunately, the manuscript of his poems I cotranslated is not with me at Fort Bragg. I will post them later for comparison.


Sketch of Ece Ayhan from Zafer's website.

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