News Behramoglu in Paris for the first book of poetry translated into French. Last Minute GERMANY, France, Russia, Greece headlines and events
Ataol Behramoglu, one of the most important names in Turkish poetry, is a poet whose poems have an important place in the life of the Turks in France and also in Turkey. Behramoğlu was in Paris to promote his first collection of poems translated into French.
The oldest Turkish cultural association in France, Dr. Turkish and French readers who came to listen to Behramoglu on the day of the signing, held at the Anadolu Cultural Center under the direction of Demir Onger, filled the hall. Behramoglu answered questions from participants and signed his book after an interview organized in honor of his book, translated into French by Tunisian poet Moez Majet, titled “Un Printemps Assiege/Situated Spring”.
Behramoglu also quoted passages from his famous poems such as “There is something I have learned from my experience”, “There must be one day”, “If I die, I will die in the evening” and “Under siege”, which are in memory million people.
In an interview with the Turkish Voice of America on the occasion of the day of the signing, Behramoglu said that in the fast-paced life created by the consumer society, people “do not stop thinking and reading poetry”, but one day they will definitely “have a vital need to think deeper and read poetry.”
Behramoglu says, “They don’t read poetry because emotions haven’t developed, but because they don’t read poetry, their emotions hit rock bottom,” emphasizing that people should pay more attention to poetry that reveals the quality of a person.
Now Behramoglu lives in Turkey, between Istanbul and Foca. Before the signing day for Behramoğlu, who spent important periods of his life in Paris; We talked about poetry, Paris and the future of poetry, which has lost its significance in modern society. Our conversation with Behramoglu ended with him listening to the poet’s most famous poem “I learned something from my experience” in his own voice.
Voice of America in English: Let’s get a little nostalgic for Paris, shall we? Can we talk about your first visit to Paris?
Ataol Behramoglu: My first visit to Paris was sort of in the late 1970s. I went abroad for the first time in September 1970. After staying in London for 4 months, I stayed in Paris for 2 years without a break. But the nostalgia, the significance, the beauty or the sadness of these two years were all in one. Then on March 12, fascism was against the execution of Denizler. Together with Mehmet Ulusoy, we founded the Theater de Liberte. It was founded by Mehmet, but I was his closest colleague. We wrote the play “Tales of the Future” with him. Then I received a scholarship from the Union of Writers of Russia, at that time I was a poet, known in Russian literature for his translations. I studied for a master’s degree in Russia for two years.
VOA English: When you arrived, Paris welcomes world famous poets, doesn’t it?
Ataol Behramoglu: For me, the first two years in Paris were important. The Chilean coup has taken place. Pablo Neruda was here, we met with Abidin Dino. Unfortunately, we didn’t have mobile phones then, we don’t have a photo with Neruda. We met Aragon, albeit on foot. It was Picasso’s 90th birthday, a big meeting was organized. And again Abidin Dino introduced me to Aragon. In 72, the Aragonese magazine Des Lettres Français published a chapter from “Surely one day”. It is important. My poems have also been published in other magazines. Thus ended the first 2 years of my Parisian adventure. Between 72-74 years I travel back and forth between Moscow and Paris. In the meantime, the poems I had written were published in my book Poems of Journey, Longing, Courage and Struggle. Then I returned to Turkey.
VOA English: You’re back after the 80s, but…
Ataol Behramoglu: The second time I’m in Paris in the 84th. We were in jail in ’82, the Peace Association case. This time the era of universal fascism. I came to France illegally in ’84. My brother Nihat Behramoglu was here, Yilmaz Güney was here. I have collected this period in a book of Parisian verses. Obviously, Paris has a place in my life, as do many artists, poets and writers.
VOA English: Did you feel the old tension, were you able to find old Paris during this visit?
Ataol Behramoglu: You will find Paris, a permanent city with its own buildings and history. Metro, Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower – everything is in its place. Paris does not change, but we certainly change, people change, of course. And every time you look a little different, of course.
VOA English: As in many other places, there is a debate going on in France. Why is poetry rarely read today?
Ataol Behramoglu: The consumer society now prevents people from thinking, thinking deeply. People don’t have time. They don’t study philosophy either. In novels, etc., they mostly read the popular ones. It is so simple. Why do people read less poetry? But reading less poetry does not mean that poetry is not needed. People do not doubt this need, and one day they will hear it even more. I believe it.
“Good poetry has a different place in a person’s life”
VOA Türkçe: Emotions are also “disposable” emotions, maybe not only the world of thoughts?
Ataol Behramoglu: Of course, emotion is something that develops, not develops where it stops. Develops by reading and thinking. We need good poetry, good philosophy, good literature. Of course, on the whole I do not disdain the novel here, but poetry occupies a completely different place in a person’s life. It develops the emotions and speech of people. They don’t read poetry because they don’t develop feelings, but their feelings degrade because they don’t read poetry.
VOA Turkish: Is this your first book translated into French? How did the idea for this book come about?
Ataol Behramoglu: Translations of my poems, which began in Greece in the 1970s, have been translated in Russia, the Balkans, Germany and all over the world. It is surprising that it was published so late in France. My book was supposed to be published in France at the time, but I didn’t think about it. I made little effort to get my book published in France. Anyway, it’s late, but it was nice.
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