Ayten Mutlu (Turkey)

Ayten Mutlu (Turkey)

Ayten Mutlu, a Turkish poet and writer (born in Bandırma, Turkey. Graduated from the Faculty of Management of İstanbul University in 1975. She was retired from The Central Bank. Her political activism began in high school, when she was fifteen years old. Being in political activity she took part in the Women’s Rights Movement too. She has published poetry, prose, short stories and essays on literary criticism. She also translated the works of a number of contemporary poets from English to Turkish that published many of them in periodicals. She translates the works of the women poets from Antiquity to the present days in selections from the world over. Her research on women poets from Antiquity to the present day, published in many literary magazines. She presented papers at some universities. Some of her poems took place in many countries, some magazines, newspapers and anthologies in France, Sweden, Germany, Spain, Senegal, Morocco, Italy, Serbia, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Macedonia, Romania, Spain, Argentina, South Korea, India and Russia.
She is a laureate of Ibrahim Yildizoglu Literary Prize (1999), Poetry Prize of the International Meeting of the Poets of Yalova (2001) and Sunullah Arısoy Literary Prize (2005). Akköy Magazine Poetry Worker’s Award (2015) Ismet Kemal Karadayı poetry honorary award (2017)
Some Critics wrote about her poems:
“Her poetry explodes with sound and meaning. She reflects a struggle within herself, as well as a view of the world in which all horror and beauty are seen at once and often intermingled. Her opposition and political ideas are reflected in her poems but from a lyrical point of view.”
“Mutlu is a master the condensed poem, of the image that illumines and quietly explodes with sound and meaning”
She said about her work; “My aim is to write poems that will sing like the peoples songs of the world. I wish to reach and enrich people in mines, on farms, homes, factories, prisons: to entertain, to show, to illumine. Because, I believe that poetry is wide broad like life and will somehow succesfully call the humanity in people.

Works:

Dayan Ey Sevdam (Resist Oh My Love, 1984), Vaktolur (A Time Comes When…, 1986), Seni Özledim (I Missed You, 1990), Kül İzi (The Trace of Ash, 1993), Denize Doğru (Towards the Sea, 1996), Çocuk ve Akşam (Child And Evening, 1999), Taş Ayna (Stone Mirror, 2002), Yitik Anlam Peşinde (In Search of Lost Meaning, 2004), Ateşin Köklerinde (In Roots Of Fire – Selected Poems, 2006) Uzun Gemide Akşam (Le soir Dans Le Bateau Long, 2007) Eşikte (At Threshold-2009) долга вечер на одборот (published in 2011 in Macedonian) Threshold (2009), Istanbul eyes (Ochii Istanbulului-2012 in Romania- Les Yeux d’Istanbul poésie-2014 in France and published in Turkey in 2013 ) Stone Mirror- poetry published in India-2014 Dew Drops (2016)

TRANSLATIONS:

Ölü Canlar (Dead Souls), Gogol, 2006
Sen Sanırdım Her Baharı – Çağdaş İngiliz Şair Kadınlar Seçkisi (I thought it was you every spring – Anthology of English poems of women poets), 2007 (with Dr. Dincer Figun)
Ölümün Anayurdu – Dragojlovic-Dragan (Death’s Homeland) – Poetry-2009 (with Dr. Dincer Figun)
Neredeyse Siyah- Niculina Oprea (Almost Black-Poems-2010)
Sana Bakıyorum -Maram al-Masri – (I Look at You) Poems I-2010)
Kükreyiş Ve Sessizlik- Nedeljko-Terzic (Rrugissement and Silence-Poetry-2012)
Yağmur Yağabilir- (Rain it may) Ashis Sanyal (2014)
Ölüm, O Çıplak Gelir- Maram al-Masri (2014)
Sonsuzluk (Infinity) Natasa Bajic (2014)
Kazınmış Işık (The Engraved Light) Militsa Yeftimiyevic Lilic (2014)
Kara Güne Kaside- The Odd to Black Days) Stevka Smitran
Tutkunun Kanatlarında- On the Wings of Desire- Sappho
Senin İçin Bekledim-Androulla Shati

 

WE GOT LOST INSIDE US

they were talking
beyond a faraway place
solitude and me
left the voices into the table clothes
and walked

the blue moon was also walking with us
a hazel cat in the blind looks
of flashing red lights
stood and looked at the shades
of intertwined ghosts
which fell into the waters in Bozcaada
like a solemn lion
stretchingly for a while

a man was sitting alone
a woman was sitting alone
we were two of us
you with me
me with you hand in hand
we escaped from a crowdy loneliness
and joined a lonely crowd

first we read sorrow in each other
then we sat on wet grasses
you spoke keeping silent
i kept silence speaking

while ships in Bozcaada Harbor were waiting for
people
lights were off
the cat went

having left each other into wet grasses
—at a place in time
you and me…

 

SNAIL TRAILS

i used to see it just before evening fell
its light was bluish,
it’s missing nowadays, hard to know if it went out
or my eyes did, but it was my star,
he said, sighing
then he took his hands out of the grass which he kindly caressed
and he looked at my face from afar
snails, he said, eat grass only
they leave behind indelible, bright trails
wherever they go
i wonder how a snail extracts this beauty from grasses

mankind is strange,
he went on shaking his head
as if he wanted to delete
the nebulous shade straying on his lusterless eyes
he always likes keeping his experiences
in a bag
as if he will have time to look back
he fancies watching his shattered past
through a youth mirror
broken in his heart

pensive, he kept silent for a while
getting old might be easier in the past,
life used to flow sluggishly
but nowadays it’s impossible to have time to catch its breath
it sweeps grasses without regard to trails
what a speed is this, hard to understand
and time never waits for what’s left its behind

and he stared at snail trails again
it was clear that he has forgotten to forget for a long time
i couldn’t understand what he was murmuring whisperingly
as if making a hiccup was a song or an elegy

“experiences turn into memories one by one
some occasionally blowing like a breeze
some quietly waiting with a dagger in its hand for
starless days of old age…”

 

THE CRYSTAL BIRD

i am at the shore, the shore of the long river
which carries dry branches of trees
a shining cullet among forgotten grasses, here is my heart
and the time which has forgotten itself in the stone courtyard
the lie halving the voice of the moment
the knife which left its song in its scabbard
like a leaf fallen from a tree
ah, the bright moon is going down
the river is moving away like a white ship, drying grasses and me
the crystal bird is singing out
in the night left dreamless
stop, i say to the flowing water
stop, don’t go

i am at the shore, the shore of the sea
which makes cockleshells wash up on sand
in the cold skin of the pebbles
perhaps i am the ship unaware of being sunk
an old wound dressed with mosses
i do not know from which death it remained
i am carrying a corpse plumbed the depths inside of me
the crystal bird is fluttering, the wound is bleeding
stop, i say to the pain
stop, don’t end

i am at the shore, the shore of a poem whispered to emptiness
my heart, oh my heart is conveying bitter kisses to my words
perhaps i am writing a black silk on the jet black hands of a white night
without knowing
the hot black and suddenly ripped silk
the moon is going down like a sensitive song
now i know death is the land
close to my voice, pain is endless and the moon
oh, why is tho moon so far tonight?
that crystal bird is quietly cracking inside of me
stop, i say to life
stop, wait

 

MAZURKA

i have stolen this september from junk dealers
from broken dervish sculptures
from seabeds where fires are silent
from flowers of wax

with burning tears
i wrote this voice on the night of cats
and also on rancid puddles
leaking from cracked jars

and i could not get used to finished loves

o crazy song performed to silk
o the voice of tentless counties which falls into wind
tell me which pain could extinguish
the fire burning in my heart?

come on rain, don’t stop, drive the hidden picture
there are no flagstones in this city either
the rose weeps on the road finely
soiled night with sorrow

mazurka be crazy now
with which killed loves dance whirlingly
you gypsy pres the hot iron
on the wound in which lines creak

– a hoot in every hyena night
every seperation is a dialect of dead birds

these are tears, take them, o silent pain
pour them onto the hysterical ashes of the yellow words
wrap this pain
around the footprint of the one passing by with luminous dreams
like an old rug

 

MEMORIES ARE ALSO…

i undressed my branches
and scattered the bells of the leaves to the wind
and carried dry grass from far away years
i said, the fire ought to be big
in the forests of a burned heart

if days are silence stones
at the door treshold
if they cut the blue streets in the veins
the laughter of its loneliness ought to be heard
at dawn the nakedness of a tree
ought to burn like fireworks swirling

the fire ought to be big
memories are also covered with ashes in the graveyard of love.

 

SUDDENLY

If your sleep is suddenly interrupted one night
and life looks into your eyes
from helpless people’s screaming eyes
stop and think
at that moment when you become silent
like a forest which has forgotten deer voices
think of the laugh still tingling somewhere
of the days when you collected
the light
from the darkness

a red clove on your chest
notes on philosophy under your shirt
think of the streets in which you shrieked walking
in the afternoon that was crisp and clean
like a shivering leaf in the rain
think of those friends and those prophets
who you don’t know where they are now

if time is suddenly frozen by a pitchy look
in poor men’s sorrowful eyes
growing like a tumor in your eyes
if nothing and no one can appease
the grief inside of you
think of life, that crazy witch,
and human, the life’s child
to whom you feel connected with a stark naked love,
that grim bud
that bottomless ocean

and smile
with a big flower in your eyes.

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