By Heidi Trautmann
How could I translate this name to transmit the correct meaning – The Bookstore in the Road of the well-read people? About eight months ago Ridvan Arifoğlu opened his new bookstore with great enthusiasm in the Okular Road, the Street of Schools in Nicosia and withstood all obstacles including ignorance and solitude, a road which should actually explode with curiosity by young students. No way. Eventually he had to close down. His friends in Sidestreets offered him the space in the basement for four months, for the time when there are no cultural events planned, when schools, universities and associations also close down and staff members and students go to explore the world elsewhere or read a book or two on one of the Turkish beaches. Why not?
Ridvan Arifoğlu was born in Nicosia in 1974 and studied architecture in Istanbul and did his master with his thesis on architectural history. This means research, digging for details; the same passion Ridvan has for literature, for books, and being in Istanbul, the ideal place for a young eager man to find treasures in the antiquarian and 2nd hand bookshops.
He published two poetry books Yildiz Hurması (2004) and Hasta Oluyor Olamaz Gece Yenidünya (2007) and, as so many poets do, refuses to have his poems translated. I feel with him, having discovered so many bad translations of good poetry and without the poet even knowing.
Now, he has taken refuge, sort of, in Sidestreets for four months until he has found premises which would take him and his books up to do service on mankind. There, I discovered a collection of eight poetry books by Özker Yasin for TL 35, there on the table in the entrance, books of other poets; art books, and whatever you wish. A guest residency for Sidestreets, since it is in their educational programme for young, younger and youngest people to get them interested in reading.
Just imagine the universes contained in all these books, riches to gather without having to invest a lot of money, the best capital for people anyway, KNOWLEDGE, and knowledge is the key to self-respect and freedom. Also, to open a book and smell the scent of printed words, to hold it and disappear in it between the pages to meet stories and people on another level, and for a while you are connected to the characters and live their lives.
Go and speak to Ridvan about books, especially if you are a collector of rare ones, he will try and get them for you, since he knows where they might be found.
Viewing times at Sidestreets’ office hours
Tel 0533 862 3130