An important agent of contemporary Turkish poetry, poet and author Haydar Ergülen joined conversation on his notion of home. Right before his answers, I am pleased to share the first of "Two Long Poems" with his permission:


A house barks in the dog

noone to open its door!

Cover Photo: Mahmut Turgut

In German there is a relationship between the words Heim (Home) - Heimat (Homeland) – Geheim (Secret) – Unheimlich (Heimlich: Hidden – Unheimlich: Uncanny). What kind of a relationship do you correlate between these words?

There is a verse by Sami Baydar" inside of the house is full of traps". As if Sami constructed this verse looking at these German words.

Home is both homeland, and with its secrecy and mystery the darkness of the center of uncanny. This is home.

Forough Farrokhzad's short film is also alike, "The House is Black". This image is beyond the will of the sick, the poet or the one that is gone, to "return home".

2. In Poetics of Space, Gaston Bachelard uses house as a tool to analyse the human soul. Because “Our soul is an abode. And by remembering ‘houses’ and ‘rooms,’ we learn to ‘abide’ within ourselves.” What do you think about this analogy between house and  body? Or what is the imaginative width of “house” for you?

I am interconnected with home since poetry, childhood, mother, brotherhood and Nar (Pomegranate). To changing homes.

This home is sometimes Eskişehir, that is also the homeland of my childhood; sometimes Ankara, "the big house" of my youth and sometimes where I feel my soul could set a home up like Granada, Sarajevo, Napoli ,"old houses" that I reach in the end.

3. How do you think has refugee crisis and the global pandemic that we are living through changed/has been changing the concepts of home, ground and homeland?

The World Will Be Less Bearable.* I think that the virus and the epidemics to come will make the world less bearable for immigrants, poor people and who non-Westerns. * Dar means homeland in Arabic and narrow in Turkish. Ergülen plays with the word, saying the world "daha da dar olacak" meaning it will be less bearable.

Class paradox continues changing shape and name, in disguise, getting sharpened and more violently. Unfortunately I believe both the ones at home and the homeless, together with the immigrants get the most severe face of it.

EXTRA: Does poet build her/his home in poetry?

Behçet Necatigilwe can say a poet builds his home in poetry.

O, Kabataş Lisesi’nde Almanca öğretirken de, elinde filesiyle Beşiktaş Pazarı’ndan çıkarken de, Çarşı içindeki meyhaneye uğrayıp iki tek atarken de, neden söylememeli, evini bir kaplumbağa gibi sırtında gezdiren adamdır.

He is at home even when he is out because his home is in poetry.

Haydar Ergülen’in Gülten Akın ve Behçet Necatigil üzerine yazdıklarını bir kitapta toplandı.

EXTRA.2: What is the movement "Poetry on Street" and why do you support it?

"Poetry on Street" started with Gezi Protests. I like and support everything that came out from Gezi.

I am not elitist. Poetry is always popular in Turkey, even it is not much read! Everyone has some favorite poets to their spirits. "Poetry on Street" did not become a movement but continues as a feeling. It ensures poetry to be read and shared everywhere.

EXTRA.3: If you were to spend lockdown with three authors or poets in a house, who would they be? (Contemporary or from the past.) And why?

Federico García Lorca, Roberto Bolaño, Sait Faik… Şen, şaşırtıcı ve su gibi yazan üç isim.

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