Heidi Trautmann

18 - 4th Annual International Poetry Days - Review


A magic evening at the Arabahmet Cultural Centre. Poetry was in the air. Guests were invited to have a glass of wine and speak to the poets, have copies of their books signed and talk to them about their philosophies. There were Tracy Smith (USA) Metin Kaygalak (Turkey) Aliye Ummanel, Gürgenç Korkmazel, Jenan Selçuk, Mehmet Kansu, Neriman Cahit, Neşe Yaşin, Nikki Marangou, Stephanos Stephanides, Tamer Önçül, Ümit Inatçı, Zeki Ali. Some poets were unable to come, I would have so much liked to meet them: Faize Özdemirciler, Feriha Altiok, Filiz Naldöven.

The evening was opened by a guitar recital – Jazz – by Evren Maner, a distinguished frame for the evening. Nese Yasin and Aliye told us some introductory words about poetry – see below - after Zeki Ali, the new Head of the Artists and Writers Association, had officially greeted the poets and guests. There is an invisible strong net around the world for poetry, perhaps they would all be better diplomats than our elected ones. The poems were translated into English and a bound collection was handed to the guests. But I soon gave up following the recitals on the  sheets of paper but listened instead to the music of Turkish, I could read the translations later.

It makes a big difference how the verses are recited, the intonation is important, not everybody is able to do that.  The word is mighty but the voice just as much!

There are poetry books in English and one in German. Contact  zekiali@yahoo.com


Heidi, March 21, 2009


post scriptum: Unfortunately not all photos were good for publication; I will eventually fill up with poems of all participating poets. Heidi



Poetry Days 2008

A poem is like a human being. After it is born you cannot control the kind of journey it will make; to which countries it will travel, which hearts it will enter, which fires it will start. The word can travel all around the world. A poem is like a human being because each reader can have a different impression, different feeling for it. It can have friends and enemies, even lovers.

A poem can be on paper, in a book but also in the minds of thousands. So it is indestructible, it has this magic, supernatural power that its enemies cannot cope with.

A poem can be so powerful that in a few lines it can say as much as a whole book. A poem can fly, can swim, can dance, can liberate, can rescue, can make love…

A poem can render you speechless, can make you feel that everything has already been said so beautifully that there is nothing more left to say.

Poems can demolish the limits of thought. They can go beyond all kinds of political or academic analyses. They can open new windows for creative thinking. They can present new concepts to this world.

Poems may be dangerous to those who want their own words to rule the world. A poem can dare to tell the deepest of truths.

Poems are written by poets but poems also engrave poets in the hearts of their readers. Poets usually lead difficult lives because they carry this unstoppable passion of poetry inside them.

Today, as poets coming from different parts of the world, writing in different languages, we celebrate the power of poetry. We present our verses to this wounded, troubled world. You, who are listening to us now: Take them with you and disperse them to the world. Make them your own. Unite with us and let’s multiply…


Metin Kaygalak, born in Bingöl, Turkey, He is a Kurdish poet writing in Turkish. He studies economics and management iat the Uludag University. His first poem was published in Günes Newspaper’s Yount Poets’ Anthology in 1987. Later on his poetry was published in Ayrim Bicim, and other literary reviews. He now writes in Esmer regularly.


From Album – An Atumn end for Lorin


So this was it at last

The past which wrinkles me…

My wretched soul…

Because that splendour

Which stood as a question mark

In that hollow and timid emptiness

Was the seldom feeling of your phantom’s excitement

At the end of a painful autumn’s end…


M. Kansu (1938 - ), born in Stavrokonno, a village ear Paphos.

Poet, short story writer . He studied Turkish literature at Gazi Egitim Institute at Ankara and at Hacetepe University, Ankara. And in Glasgow Applied Folk Culture .

Kansu is one of the unique poets, pioneering “Ikinci Yeni Siir – Second New Paoty movement. He has 16 volumes of poetry, 4 short story and 2 Essay books. His poems are also translated into Macedonian and Romanian in two volumes. He has done valuabe contributions to Turksih Cypriot poetry with numberless poems, short stories and essays.


Because the Axis of the World

                                   Is oblique



Mostly in the mornings,

the swallows are insane,

because the night is a long

and dark tree.

They sleep and are awake,

Are awake and sleep:

Because the axis of the world

Is oblique,

And because the swallow

Breathes the tiredness of migration

Long before



Neriman Cahit

Born in 1937 in Kirni in Kyrenia district. Working as a primary school teacher for many years. very engaged in literature, journalism, trade union engagements, women's movement and research. Her poems were published in various newspapers inCyprus and Turkey and translated into some languages. For her work she got many prizes.

Today she writes colums, essays on art, women and environment and her research work. She is a founder member of the Women Research Centre and since 1991 she has been attending bicommunal Conflict Resolution Studies in Cyprus and overseas. She is a member of World Aademy of Culture, Teachers Trade Union, Women Research Centre, Journalist Association and Greenpeace.  For her work she got many prizes.



Always We...

How do they live, women with dreams destroyed

how they passionately fall in love!


...Always they live with breaking hearts

Women children who suck their thumbs

in what flutter is their heart's birds

from those deserted streets where they lost their memories

they come out, always lessened....


Neşe Yaşin (1959)

is a poet and writer read on both sides of divided Cyprus, she has published five volumes of poetry and one novel.


From: The Light rises inside me

...I knew back then

one day you would steal my soul.


While I ran off to the spaces between stairs

crying over family murders

it whispered dreams of the future

the light rising inside me...


Aliye Ummanel

Born in 1979 in Famagusta. She studies American culture and literature at the Hacettepe University in Ankara. She got her theatre degree on theatre theory, criticism and drama at the Ankara University, Literature and History Faculty. Currently she is working as the director of the Lefkosa Municipal Theatre. She has published one book "Düş Geceye Düşünce".



I turn

the brass handle

of the red door

there' s night behind

owls spoke upon my sight


She's a child

she's a child

she'll speak when she grows up.


Nikki Marangou

Born in Limassol. Studies in West Berlin. She has worked as a dramaturg at the National Theatrical Organisation o Cyprus and since 1980 manages a bookstore in Nicosia. She has published five books of poetry, as well as prose and fairy tales.

From Letter to Dionysis

You see, Dionysis

Nowadays it is not easy for us to speak

Of halycons nor of nightingales

As we have not lives in houses on whose foundations

Cocks were sacrified

Nor have we slept on mattresses

With crosses at their four corners sewn

Where coins fell

Of silver and gold

And seeds of cotton and of sesame…


Stephanos Stephanides

Born in Trikomi in 1949. He went to the UK as a child, where he lived until finishing his education at Cardiff University. Helived many years in Guyana, USA and Spain. In 1991 he returned to his native island as a founding member of faculty of the University of Cyprus where he is Professor of Comparative Literature. As well as poet, he is a literary and cultural critic, ethnographer, translator. He has published two books.


From: Jaya Devi

Goddess, tonight you are dreadful

Last night you enticed me

In your watery blue.

Why tonight do you shake and pump my body

Until filth flows out from all my orifices.


Gür Genç

Born in Paphos in 1969. For may years he lived in Turkey and Britain. He has recited his poems in various countries of Europe and his poems have been translated into different languages. Now he lives in Cyprus as an editor, translator and coordinator.


Kicking butterflies


She is kicking butterflies

Bringing venereal moons on her skin


Getting closer to me, closer, my left knee

Becomes limpid, and I know it is her,

I collapse because I can no longer escape.


Fountains gyre the wrong way

Domes and my head


Getting closer to me, closer, in the heat

She appears fairer, and there she is…

Butterflies gone, she turns on me…


Jenan Selçuk

Born in 1974 in Stavrogonno nr. Paphos. Graduated in 2001 from International Relations Department of EMU. He lived many years abroad, Fethiye, Marmaris, Hamburg and Manchester. He worked in many jobs including bartending, singing and translating. His poems were published in newspapers. With a minimalist understanding he is benefitingfrom the mythological , historical and multi-cultural/multi-identical past of the island, in order to form a hybrid poetry. Together with the other members of the Subconscious Gang, he is publishing the underground literature and art journal Isirgan. He has published two poetry books.



Pollen pins,

You attach

To your haor

As death’s spider


Under your arm pits.


Suffocated from the heat,

Crowding into theears of wheat.

Lowers languorously

Your sunflower pupils,


From the edge of your gaze.

Melted copper

Your sweat

Ferments with your scent,


Love’s lips.


Tamer Önçül

Born in Nicosia in 1960. Graduated from the Dentistry Faculty at Istanbul University in 1984. He started writing poetry in the 1970s, searching for a new style, mixing realism with a sensitivity to “cypriotness”. His six poetry books have been translated into many languages.


From 40 years old

The moldy soil I breathe

Yellow henna…a pair of lungs

Laid in smoke..

Corpses of miner earthworms

Swim in my broncus

Every cough an explosion..

A gas leakage in my throat

-do not approach with fire –

Compressed words

Can be fatal…


Deaths have burned

With bodies older than their souls

In the flame of fourty years….


Zeki Ali

Born in Nicosia in 1951. He lived in Canada with his family between 1973 and 1992. His first collection of poetry was in 1970. Six were to follow. His works appeared in many literary reviews and anthologies and are translated into many languages. He is a peace activist and formed the first bicommunal music group Poetz4peace with Hadji Mike, a poet/musician from South Cyprus. Currently he is the President of the Turkish Cypriot Artists and Writers Association.


From: Dry wells

Days of sacrifice for love

Are beyond the ash mountain now

Rose in an animation

And nightingale is a forgotten tongue


Layla is living with Kerem

And Asli discovered Juliette

When Romea left her

With a handful of debt and grandchildren


The image is reflecting on everything

‘cept the hidden rooms  of our bodies

The image is reflecting on image

When substance is no longer void



Ümit Inatçı

Born in Limassol in 1960. Artist writer, critic. He completed his higher education in Pietro Vannucci Fine Arts Academy in Perugia, Italy, with distinction – Maestro di Arte – in 1984.

In his poetry one can find the synthesis of his intellectual and artistic background, art semiotics, studies on perception and philosophy are uniquely integrated in his imagery, metaphor form and the structure of his poems. Major themes of his poetry are the cultural and personal ethics, mostly expressed in dark sarcasm. He has published eight poetry collections.


Death, please forgive me


I don’t want to give up any uselessness

Getting me live my life.


No benefit is as necessary as pain

No wound, but disgrace bleeds painfully.


It is my will to self-correction

That makes me stick to life.


Death, please forgive me,

For all those left incomplete.



Mehmet Kansu
Mehmet Kansu

Metin Kaygalak, Turkey
Metin Kaygalak, Turkey

Tamer Öncül
Tamer Öncül

Ümit Inatci
Ümit Inatci

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