Nurduran Duman is a multifaceted talent, holding degrees as an Ocean Engineer and a Naval Architect from Istanbul Technical University. Beyond her role as a poet and playwright, she contributes as a columnist for the newspaper Cumhuriyet and is a member poet in the European poetry platform Versopolis, as well as Turkish PEN. Her literary accomplishments include several books and awards, with “Defeat Game” winning the Cemal Sureya Poetry Award in 2005.
Duman’s international reach is evident through the translation of her poems into numerous languages, reflecting her commitment to cross-cultural dialogue and understanding. In addition to her literary pursuits, she has been involved in radio and television programs, and her plays have found a home in Turkish State Theaters. Nurduran Duman’s dedication to poetry and her efforts in promoting unity and culture make her a significant figure in the global literary landscape.
In this concluding part of the article she published earlier on AkweyaTV, distinguished Turkish poet Nurduran Duman gives details about how poetry filled voids after the recent earthquakes in her country Turkiye. “We had to give each other the power to produce and find joy in life while we were mourning and mobilising for solidarity,” she writes about why poetry found such a massive space.
Hasan Ali Yücel Classics, A Good Example in Terms of Translation Policy
In the early years of the Republic of Turkiye, a year after Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s death, Hasan Ali Yücel, who took office as the minister, initiated a project to continue the enlightenment revolutions initiated by Atatürk. This “Translation Bureau” project enriched our national library by translating hundreds of world classics into Turkish as a state policy in Turkiye in the 1940s.
These translations are so good that we still enjoy reading world literature with these translations. And we continue this cultural heritage left by that enlightenment project. Our book industry publishes hundreds of new books from different languages every year, and in some years, literary translations constitute 80% of the industry. I can claim that there is almost no language that has not been translated into Turkish.
Strength Comes From Unity or Imece, and Poetry Soiree as a Social Responsibility Project
“Strength comes from unity”, is a Turkish proverb.
Once again, I would like to talk about a heritage that is one of our cultural values. Leaving the definitive answer to sociologists whether it exists in other cultures or not, I would like to say that I have not personally come across this word in other dictionaries, and it would be nice if it entered every dictionary in the world: “Imece”.
With this traditional method, many people gather to complete the work of one person or a group, so that everyone’s work is completed in order. Apart from time, energy, and economic savings, the attachment that arises from solidarity is also noteworthy.
The great writer, Kyrgyz Turk Cengiz Aytmatov, beautifully describes the shared sadness, joy, and enthusiasm of the characters who reap the crops with imece in the wheat fields of Kyrgyzstan, accompanied by the folk songs (türkü) they sing. Interestingly, these folk songs continue to be sung in the wheat fields of Anatolia with the same enthusiasm and strength born of unity. We set out with the behavioural trait inherited from those wheat fields in our social genes to start Poetry Soirée as a social responsibility project in Istanbul.
These evenings are a series of events that provide an opportunity to explore all the layers, aspects, issues, and promises of poetry. The event is open to everyone regardless of their level of poetry knowledge. We witness that people from all walks of society come, interacting and harmonising with each other through the magic of poetry throughout the event. At the end of the evening, each of us returns to her home, changed, developed, transformed, and most importantly, healed.
We set out with the behavioural trait inherited from those wheat fields in our social genes to start Poetry Soirée as a social responsibility project in Istanbul.
After the great earthquakes that struck two different fault lines in Turkiye, within 24 hours, we had to give each other the power to produce and find joy in life while we were mourning and mobilising for solidarity. Even though the idea came from me and I was the director of the event, it was a project that we started with the trust that “we” would become “us”. And instead of folk songs, this time we believed in the unifying and healing power of poetry.
We were not mistaken, as we witness the growth of “we&us” with new people joining us every Thursday evening, bringing new energies to our unity. I believe that the international poetry and literature platforms will multiply through cooperation and help create a world that is pleasant and fertile, where folk labour, solidarity, and poetry are blended together. Let’s all believe in this idea. Poetry has the power to unite us, and unity creates strength.
Poetry Festivals as Points of Understanding and Unity
International festivals and writing programmes are not abstract, they are also products of poetry and literature. Poets meet and learn about each other’s works in these organisations, collaborate after them, produce creative projects, etc. Above all, they understand each other’s cultures and bring a glow to their surroundings through it. Festivals are ongoing events, both as cause and effect.
Also, the number of poetry academies and poetry libraries should be increased and their spheres of influence should be planned to be international. Scottish Poetry Library, The National Poetry Library in London and Nilüfer Poetry Library in Turkiye are good examples that I know closely.
Financial Literacy Lessons
Financial literacy is a crucial tool that we cannot afford to ignore in the modern age, especially when contemplating world peace. It is important to note that financial literacy courses should be included as part of the primary and high school curriculum alongside courses on poetry and nature. By doing so, we can equip individuals with the necessary skills to make sound financial decisions, which ultimately contribute to the well-being of society as a whole.
One Belt One Road, The New Silk Road
When it comes to financial literacy, which helps individuals balance their personal finances, we should also consider how balanced economies can lead to a more equitable society. Achieving economic balance across all countries can contribute to a more harmonious world. Economic cooperation projects, like “One Belt One Road” (the new Silk Road connecting China, Turkiye, and Europe), can help us reach this goal.
However, these collaborations should be established in the interests of nations, rather than serving the large companies owned by a small minority. Such projects also present an opportunity to improve the quality of life across all regions of the world, rather than benefiting only certain parts.
In physics, the concept of entropy in thermodynamics tells us that closed systems lose their energy over time and eventually decay and disappear. However, in today’s world, we can see technology, especially the internet, opening up new opportunities and creating a flow of new energy.
Commercial and economic projects like “One Belt One Road,” and social organisations can also open up new opportunities and create pathways for new energy to emerge. This can lead to a new era of existence. I believe that the world is on the brink of this new existence. Let’s believe this together.