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Real / Aslı by Karin Karakașlı - World Poet Series - typographic cover

Real

Published

£9

Publisher: Poetry Translation Centre

ISBN: 9781739894863

Featured poets: Karin Karakaslı

Featured translators: Canan Marasligil, Sarah Howe

Poetry Book Society Translation Choice

Watch readings from Real at the launch event at Theatreship online for free

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, this new selection brings together poems from Karakașlı’s 15-year career, vividly translated into English by translator and writer Canan Marașligil working with British poet Sarah Howe.

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


“The poems in Real are poems of rare imaginative courage; they inhabit a ‘land of endless transformations’... in and from the wreckage of this world, amidst its ‘paint and hypocrisy’, that Karakaşlı’s speakers dare to make a life. 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.”
- Fran Lock


"This wonderful selection from Karin Karakaşlı’s work over the last fifteen years establishes her as an important contemporary poet of witness. Coruscating and sardonic by turn, her verse yet seems to deprecate its own hard-won wisdom. In the face of history, Karakaşlı tells us, we need not heroics but the courage to just keep going, 'one cigarette, then another, and another'." - Fiona Sampson


"This informative bilingual selection of Karin Karakaşlı’s urgent poems introduces us to a country collapsing, the memory of earthquakes, the battle for women’s rights, the pleasure and danger of smoking, the tyranny of the news cycle, the threat of mortality, and our conflicting investment in religion and secularism. Canan Marasligil and Sarah Howe’s translation taps into the vulnerability of ‘fugitive souls’ and the resilience of ‘endless transformations’ in which Karakaşlı’s astonishing poems pay homage to and thrive on." - Kit Fan