Nazim Hikmet is considered to be the greatest modern Turkish poet. This collection includes work from his four previous volumes and adds more than twenty poems never before available in English.
His poetry is extremely approachable and down-to-earth.
My favorite is “Hymn to Live.” Here is an excerpt:
Like a root that finds water underground,
it says to me:
“To eat, drink, cold, hot, struggle, smell, color —
not to live in order to die
but to die in order to live …”
He had a difficult life, though, as he served a 13-year as a political prisoner in Turkey and lived in exile for the last 13 years of his live. For 30 years, his poetry was banned in Turkey while being translated into more than 50 languages.
The Poems of Nazim Hikmet, Persea; Revised & Expanded Second edition, 2002, translated by Randy Blasing & Mutlu Konuk.