~ Nationality: Turkey ~

Üç Selvi / Three Cypresses by Nâzım Hikmet

An animation by artist Zeynep Sıla Demircioğlu for a piece by Turkey’s greatest 20th-century poet, Nâzım Hikmet. The bleakness of the content is counter-balanced by the richness of the recitation by Geneo Erkal—all those lovely Turkish consonants. As a tree-lover there’s no way I couldn’t post this as soon as I saw it. Here’s Demircioğlu’s statement, on Vimeo and her website:

Communist poet and writer Nâzım Hikmet Ran’s poem “Üç Selvi” is about three cypress trees. In his metaphoric narrative, at first, trees live in harmony with nature. After their destruction joy of life is gone and the world is deprived of the sound of cypress leaves. Although Hikmet wrote this mournful poem in 1933, readers can find different meanings and enemies when they look at the dark side of Turkish collective memory.

Bir Küvet Hikâyesi (The Tale of a Tub) by Nazim Hikmet

A very fine dramatization of a narrative poem by the great Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet. The translation in the subtitles leaves a bit to be desired, but the actors help carry the meaning through. Here’s the Vimeo description:

Nâzım Hikmet’in “Bir Küvet Hikâyesi” isimli şiirinden uyarlanan kısa film.

This movie which is adapted from a poem by Nazim Hikmet, recreates the tensions provoked by the ‘other woman’ through the voices of a couple named Suleyman and Fahire.

Yönetmen – Senaryo/Directed by: Orçun Baş
Eser/Poem By: Nâzım Hikmet
Oyuncular/Cast: Filiz Baş, Coşkun Baş
Kamera/Camera: Orçun Baş
Ses/Sound: Öner S. Biberkökü
Işık/Light: Orçun Baş, Öner S. Biberkökü
Görsel Efekt/Visual Effects: Öner S. Biberkökü
Kurgu/Editing: Orçun Baş

Nazim Hikmet Oratorio by Fazil Say

Updated 15 May 2016 with a new video. The text below refers to earlier YouTube uploads of portions of the work.

Nazim Hikmet Oratoryosu, by Fazil Say (at piano)
Poetry by Nazim Hikmet
Bilkent Symphony Orchestra and State Polyphonic Choir, conducted by Ibrahim Yazici
Vocals in “My Country” by Kansu E. Tanca (child) and Genco Erkal; reading in “Traitor” by Zuhal Olcay

To appreciate the first section, it probably helps to know that Hikmet spent most of his adult life in exile. In fact, his citizenship was only just restored, posthumously, 46 years after his death.

One more section of the oratorio with English subtitles seems worth sharing, despite the fact that the video ends abruptly. The subtitles here are in captioning that must be turned on via the arrow-shaped icon on the bottom right corner of the video.

[dead link]

The poem is Yasamaya Dair, “On Living,” and the translation here is by Randy Blasing and Mutlu Konuk. Poetry doesn’t get much more life-affirming than this — at least, not without turning into very bad poetry. I love that Nazim puts grief at the center of it, as the source or motive for our determination to live fully.