Artists 2016: Poetry and Conflict

Carolyn Forché

Carolyn Forché

Carolyn Forché (born in Detroit in 1950) is an American poet, translator and human rights activist. Her very first book of poems, Gathering the Tribes, won her the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award when she was 24. In 1977 she lived in El Salvador with a scholarship grant and worked for Amnesty International. She used her experiences and impressions from the civil war there for her second book, The Country Between Us. Carolyn Forché is especially interested in the effect of political trauma on poetic use of language. Her anthology Against Forgetting: Twentieth-Century Poetry of Witness collects the work of poets who have lived through the extremes of war, military occupation, imprisonment, torture, forced exile, censorship and house arrest.
Carolyn Forché has translated the work of Claribel Alegría, Georg Trakl, Robert Desnos and Mahmoud Darwish and has been awarded prizes such as the Los Angeles Times Book Award and the Robert Creeley Award. In 1998 she received the Edita and Ira Morris Hiroshima Foundation for Peace and Culture Award in Stockholm in recognition of her commitment to human rights and the preservation of memory and culture. She currently teaches at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and lives in Maryland.

Blue Hour. HarperCollins 2003
The Angel of History.HarperCollins 1994
Against Forgetting: Twentieth-Century Poetry of Witness. W. W. Norton & Company 1993
The Country Between Us. Harper & Row 1981
Gathering the Tribes.Yale University Press 1976

Bejan Matur

Bejan Matur (c) Selahattin Sevi

Bejan Matur (born in Maraş,Turkey in 1968) comes from an Alevi Kurdish family, studied law and during her school years she got in prison for one year with a group of Kurdish students. She starts writing poetry when she was 19. While still a student she published poems in various literary magazines. Her 1996 debut Rüzgar Dolu Konaklar won several literary prizes, and more publications followed in 1999 and 2002. Her most recent book of poems, İbrahim’in Beni Terketmesi (2008) develops a language of mystical imagery and is hailed by critics as her best work yet. Bejan Matur’s poems have been translated into 28 languages, and she has also published two picture books and a long poem.
For her 2011 prose work Dağın Ardına Bakmak about the PKK she conducted many interviews with PKK guerillas living in the Kandil mountains. Until 2012 she wrote columns on Kurdish politics, Armenian subjects, current political issues, minorities and women’s rights. She was previously the director of the Diyarbakır Cultural Art Foundation (DKSV), which initiates social projects for children and women. In 2011 she was appointed to the Democratic Progress Institute in London as an expert on Kurdish issues.


Aşk/Olmayan 2015
Son Dağ     2014
Dağın Ardına Bakmak. Timaş 2010
Kader Denizi 2009
doğunun Kapısı diayrbakir 2009
İbrahim’in Beni Terketmesi. Metis 2008
Onun Çölünde. Metis 2002
Ayın Büyüttüğü Oğullar. Metis 2002
Tanrı Görmesin Harflerimi. Metis 1999
Rüzgar Dolu Konaklar. Metis 1996

In English:
In the Temple of a Patient God,  by Arc 2004
How Abraham Abandoned Me  by Arc 2012

in Catalan:
Al Seu Desert  by Labreu  2012'''

Brian Turner

Brian Turner

Brian Turner (born in Visalia, USA in 1967) is a writer and poet. After studying at the University of Oregon he lived for a year in South Korea before serving for seven years in the US Army. From 1999 to 2000 he was stationed in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and in November 2003 he was the commander of an infantry division in the Iraq war. In his poems and essays he processes his war experiences. His acclaimed debut Here, Bullet was awarded a number of prizes including the Beatrice Hawley Award. The next collection, Phantom Noise, was nominated for the TS Eliot Prize in the UK. In 2014 his highly-praised memoir, My Life as a Foreign Country about his time in the army was published.
Brian Turner’s poems and essays have been published in many journals including The New York Times, National Geographic, Poetry Daily and Harper’s Magazine and have been translated into many languages. He has received several scholarships and fellowships such as the United States Artists Fellowship, the NEA Fellowship and the Lannan Foundation Fellowship. he was also portrayed in the Oscar-winning documentary Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime (2008). He now works at the Sierra Nevada College and lives with his wife in Orlando, Florida.

My Life as a Foreign Country: A Memoir. W. W. Norton & Company 2014
Phantom Noise.Alice James Books 2010/Bloodaxe Books, UK 2010
Here, Bullet. Alice James Books 2005/Bloodaxe Books, UK 2007

Ghassan Zaqtan

Ghassan Zaqtan

Ghassan Zaqtan (born in Beit Jala in 1954) is one of Palestine‘s most important and innovative poets. He has lived in Jordan, Beirut, Damascus and Tunis, where he began publishing books of poems and worked as an editor of various literary magazines. In 1994 he moved to Ramallah, where in 1998 he co-founded the ‘House of Poetry’ with other Palestinian poets and was the head of the Literature and Publications Department of the Culture Ministry of the autonomous Palestinian Authority. He is currently an adviser for cultural policy in the welfare association and a member of the board of the Mahmoud Darwish Foundation. He writes a weekly column in the Palestinian daily paper Al-Ayyam and edits the quarterly cultural magazine Narrative.
His work has been translated into many languages. As well as poetry he has written prose texts, a short novel, plays and screenplays. His poetry collection Like a Straw Bird It Follows Me was awarded the Canadian Griffin Prize in 2013 and was shortlisted the same year for the US Neustadt International Prize for Literature. In recognition of his services to Palestinian and Arabic literature he was awarded the National Medal of Honor by the Palestinian president in 2013.

Publications (poetry):
Ka-tayrinmin al-qashshyatba’uni.Riyad El Rayyes 2008 / Like a Straw Bird It Follows Me. Yale UniversityPress 2012
Sira bi al-fahm.Riyad El Rayyes 2003
Istidraj al-jabal. Al-Muassasaal-arabiya 1999
Samakhafifa. Al-Ahali1993
Laisa min ajli. Dar al-multaqa 1992