Heidi Trautmann

528 - Filiz Naldöven – Hafizali Doku – Memories - Poems of the years 1999-2012

By Heidi Trautmann


The poet. Walking to find a goal, picking up thoughts from under her feet, catching a word the wind carries towards her, entering the physical body of a found love letter. Fragments, accidental, you think, but of great importance for the structure of the poem which forms in these moments. Filiz, the bud in Turkish, stands for the time of spring, for rebirth. And she is constantly rebirthing herself with a certain apprehension about life, scouring its whole width between beginning and end, life and death.  This is a woman of silent passions, surrendering herself , wanting to know, with heart and soul, in a desperate struggle for answers right to the very edge of impotence and exhaustion.  


Filiz Naldöven who was born in 1953 in Limassol, has presented her new book  ‘Hafizali Doku’ under the trees in front of Khora, the bookstore close to the Ledra Palace Crossing. She was surrounded by her friends, people from the theatre, poets, and fans, one of them I am. Her voice reading over the microphone ran along the street, made car drivers stop. Yasar Ersoy, the grey eminence of the Lefkosa Belediye Theatre gave a longish introduction; they come from the same place, are friends for a long time. Her theatre play ‘Kösede Durmak’ came on stage of the Lefkosa Belediye Theatre in 1984-85 and was also shown in Turkey and London.


The present book is her fourth publication, the cover a beautiful work by Ümit Inatci, artist and poet himself, whose illustrations can be found on many other poets’ books. He also found some friendly words to say.

The new poems are not translated into English yet, although some of the poems of older publications were translated into English and German. I hope they will be because she is one of  the very good poets in Cyprus. I met her first for an interview in 2010 and her way of thinking impressed me, her bohemian way of existence - she entertained a writing school and meeting place for literary people at that time – she…sort of not being from this world, giving in to the drug of poetry…yes, that’s how I see her.

To give the readers the possibility to get an idea of her poetry I include here one of her poems of 1987 translated into English.

The Flower of Identity

First we distilled sorrow from bitter oranges

Scattered it after deaths into the days

Then we distilled sorrow from the tea of the island

Gave our blood to a peaceful warmth

Then we distilled sorrow from the myrtles

Shed bitter loves from our eyes

Then we distilled sorrow from the olives

Churned it in black oil mills

Then we distilled sorrow from grapes

Woke up drunk crimson blood into the nights

Later sorrow distilled itself

And settled on our collar the flower of identity

Filiz Naldöven - June 1987

Translated by Aydin Mehmet Ali

Filiz Naldöven at Khora Bookstore/Café
Filiz Naldöven at Khora Bookstore/Café

Yasar Ersoy speaking
Yasar Ersoy speaking

Ümit Inatci speaking
Ümit Inatci speaking

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