Contemporary Turkish poetry looks confidently back upon the iconoclastic individuals who have constituted its genuinely remarkable tradition, and the current cohort of poets emerging from the 21st century possess the unique sensibility in language that marks them from their predecessors and stamps their entire generation with the influence of their work. As the light of poets like Ilhan Berk and Nazim Hikmet begins to fade from view, it is poets like Gonca Özmen who have come into their own. After just two collections and a variety of prizes, Gonca has become one of the most direct, concise and eloquent voices in Turkish poetry and one who has begun to grow a reputation far beyond the borders of her home nation, thanks to last year’s publication of the Sea Within, a collection of translated poems from Shearsman press. In our 85th edition, we are pleased to welcome, our second Turkish respondent, Gonca Özmen.
Accompanying the interview are five of Gonca’s poems, translated by George Messo, Ruth Christie, Mel Kenne, Saliha Paker respectively.