Launching Real by Karin Karakaşlı with Canan Marasligil, Sarah Howe & Fran Lock


An acclaimed writer in multiple genres as well as a journalist and academic, Karin Karakașlı has repeatedly turned to poetry to chart complex emotional geographies – both her own and those of her country, Turkey. Her highly cinematic poems are powered by music, metaphor and a fascination for the mechanics of language itself. Running through her work is a deeply held belief in the emancipatory potential of words.

Following on from her 2017 chapbook History-Geography, her new collection Real brings together poems from Karakașlı’s 15-year career, vividly translated into English by translator and writer Canan Marasligil working with British poet Sarah Howe.

Real has been selected as a Poetry Book Society Translation Choice for Summer 2024 and acclaimed by fellow poet Kit Fan as ‘astonishing’, with Fiona Sampson praising Karakașlı as ‘an important contemporary poet of witness’.

This launch will feature readings in Turkish and English, followed by a Q&A chaired by T. S. Eliot Prize shortlisted poet Fran Lock. Turkish speakers are particularly welcome, but as Fran Lock writes, Karakașlı’s work is for all:

The poems are propelled by a tremendous nervous energy, a profound unease that is, in itself, an article of faith: a determination to watch and to listen to ‘the lives left unfinished against their will’, and for the moments when life itself arrives ‘like a bustling marketplace’. Karakaşlı’s speakers are exquisite listeners, alert and tender, and full of hope. ‘What are humans but hope’, she writes in ‘Oath’, and despite everything we find we agree with her. I read in these poems both escapist savvy and clear-sighted defiance. There is also the promise that we who survive in this world might also remake it.

Real is the latest in the Poetry Translation Centre’s World Poet Series, which showcases the most exciting living poets from Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America.

This event is supported by Arts Council England, as part of the PTC’s 20th birthday celebrations throughout 2024.

This event takes place in Theatreship, a new arts venue on a historic boat on the Thames. Due to the historic nature of the ship, we’re sorry to say there is not currently step-free access into the theatre space. Theatreship have dedicated staff on hand to help with stairs, and an onsite wheelchair once you’re inside the venue. If you have any access needs, please do e-mail

Join us the night before for an in-person poetry translation workshop of Karin's poems with Canan and Chrissy Williams!

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