IDYLL I8: ON WRITING AND ON WRITING POETRY

FOREWORD
I won't say anything new.
I will be repeating Old Masters, I'm afraid.
I remember, I remember here and now.
I have been robbed off some life-giving force, say Helen.
I remember now in pain, but not in vain.
I remember sometime in the future,
A daunting moment in my own history,
Say just B.P.(Before Prufrock),

Or a great moment slightly A.P.,
When they find me in written form.
1.
What is written is the new form of the left-over-fantasy crumblings plundered by the enthusiasm that comes after one says
"I wish I could put these into words" while s/he is living
through a crazy moment late at night. All this happens just
before what is written is presented to the market to be consumed.
What is written is never what is lived. What is lived is that
moment. The moment it is put into words, that moment is past. The time dimensions of that moment lived and of what is written are not the same. That moment cannot be put in written form. What's written is the/a reflection of what is lived, it retains its clues.

What is written is the epitaph of what is lived.
Living is a priori to writing. Some claim the opposite is also
true. Possible. The opposite is to believe that fantasy is
reality. It is to imprison all time and space to the "I".

"I" is too short for fantasy, i.e. fantasy is too large for the "I". That fantasy is of no use to the "I". If so, what's lived is the epitaph of what is written. The reader reads this epitaph. This is the only way that the writer assures him/herself that s/he has "really" lived that moment.

Writing is, ipso facto, TRAGIC.
2.
By writing, the writer cannot live again what s/he has lived.

While s/he is trying to write what is lived, the writer sets sail

into the fantasy. Fantasy appreciates this heroic act, and does

not let its plunderer go.
However frightened s/he might be, the writer is happy to be a
part of his/her own fantasy, s/he wants this. His/her will gives
acceptance to this act because this act resembles marrying

another body. Thus, s/He is multiplied, and as s/he is

multiplied, s/he is united with him/herself, s/he is completed.

S/He wishes this.
If fantasy is not lived without being imprisoned to the "I", it
becomes a nightmare. The writer, then, falls and falls in his/her

fantasy. S/He crumbles, and is lost in oblivion. S/He likes this

oblivion in his/her fantasy. S/He thinks s/he lives in that

fantasy. Thinking becomes his/her experience. Being, as it is

squeezed between what he/she has lived and written, is not.
S/He tries, in vain, to coincide the dimensions of time, and to
intersect time arrows. This makes the writer tragic. What is

written may not be tragic. It may be, but not like that.
Writing is, ipso facto, TRAGICOMIC.
3.
It is easy to fill in an empty sheet of paper. What's onerous is

to live, at a crazy moment late at night, a full sheet of paper.

What's lived is, ipso facto, immortalized. Time is, ipso facto,

burnt. Death can only be lived as thus.

Writing, i.e., the word, ipso facto, IS.
4.
The poem, the word itself, is responsible for its creator's

aspiration to be like Gods (Remember Heidegger and Holderlin). I

am writing here and now. By means of writing, I strive to be one

with this vastness I am thrust in, whether it is wilderness or

not., and therefore I think I am. (Rasula would agree).
Once I write and read a poem out loud, once I show it to someone,

the poem is no longer mine. It is no longer as dependant a

creature as it was at the time of its production. The feeling is,

thus, just like marrying your daughter off to a stranger, or just

like sending your boy to boarding school. The poem survives, but

no longer with its creator. It assumes a separate identity. It

demands this. It is the poem's natural right, by birth, to

survive on its own. I am singing my own song, pas comme je peux,

mais comme je veux. This, albeit a poem, will be consumed,

however painful it is for me to know. Interpreters will decode my

word or make it and mis/interpret it. This is inevitable. The

poet cannot tell his readers how to read his poems. Yet the poem

is. Therefore, I know I will be, though in different shades,

shapes and sizes than I intend to be.
Writing, therefore, is not a rewarding process. Whatever I write
will soon quit me to seek love and attention, as separate

identities.

Writing is not only a life giving force, like love. It is life,
it is one's own self. It is WRITING, THE VERY ACT itself, that

deserves to be glorified, even if what's written is no longer the

writer's after eloping to someone else's heart or mind. When the

creator cannot produce any longer, he loses touch with his very

being, his very act. This is why Kosinsky said he was committing

suicide.

Most writers, especially poets, do not know that this is a fatal
process when they start writing. (Courage is the offspring of

ignorance, remember!). And when they learn that it is so, it is

too late to give up. Otherwise they won't exist. They must go on.

Once they cannot produce any longer, they don't exist either.

(WELCOME PRUFROCK!)
Although I agree with V.N. Volosinov's claim that "The immediate
social situation and the broader social milieu wholly

determine--and determine from within, so to speak--the structure

of an utterance," I cannot help quoting Marcuse's warning that

language soiled by social experience can only enshrine archaic

structures, and therefore needs to be transcended (Jonathan

Raban, THE SOCIETY OF THE POEM). It is always the easier, though

more appreciated, way for a poet to use a common language instead

of creating his own. Such an act of writing poetry is sentenced

to serve some ephemeral purpose and be lost in oblivion when that

purpose is gone, and as it is a form of compromise or like

playing for the spectators. Very few exceptional works of art,

e.g., Picasso's "Guernica", have achieved immortality however

grainy and ephemeral a look they carry on them.

The poet does not compromise. S/he forms his/her private and

personal language. (Paul Valery, who said that poetry is somewhat

a separate language, would agree). However, the poet is not bound

to use an elevated language, different from everyday language

(T.S. Eliot would disagree).

It is up to the readers/consumers to get whatever they think the
poet intends to mean, illocutionary or perlecutionary. It is not,

and should not be, the poet's business to worry about what the

readers get out of his/her very personal utterance. (Walter

Benjamin would agree). Otherwise, s/he will not be. On the other

hand, seeking a language that will appeal to everyone, is an

invective to the intellectual capacity of most of the readers who

expect to read, understand and enjoy in a poem what is and

sometimes is not common to all. This might also mean that the poet,

by compromising, is trying to own, or belong to, words that

can easily be acknowledged by the majority, instead of liberating

them and letting them find new homes. The poet must let the

readers enjoy feeling privileged. Their presence, as James

Baldwin would agree, thrusts the poet into the continuity of

change. An evolving and changing language will change the

readers, and this continuity, as opposed to some statis in

language, is what a poet aspires for. Many Turkish poets,

including Yahya Kemal Beyatlı, Nazım Hikmet, Behçet Necatigil,

and Orhan Veli, have achieved this. We still read them, sing

their poems and we are matured as we are changed by them.

Criticism has not been able to touch their poems, which proves

that Edward Foster, who is against "fostering" ideas and

attitutes, is right. Foster, I understand, will agree, as much as

I do, with the contemporary Turkish poet İlhan Berk, who says

that the history of a poem is hidden. This invalidates all

criticism.
A poet's main concern should be mortals because what is immortal,
e.g., a material thing, gains meaning only when a mortal touches

it. Therefore, contradictory though it may seem to what I have

said so far, a poem needs an audience, a reader or a critic, who

will believe and understand because only at their presence can a

poem exist. Though a paradox, in order that a poem be immortal,

mortals must be.
I write, knowing that it is like thrusting a pebble stone into
the sky. Whether it will hit the target, I am unable to know at

this moment in time, and though I'm curious about it, I refrain ı

from wondering whether it will or not. If I knew, I am afraid I


wouldn't be able to re-create myself and look into the eyes of

the readers, who acknowledge my existence. Therefore, I write:
THE SKY WAS IN HER EYES
"Ma look!!"
cried the little child.
"HOW SMALL IT
IS!"
The mother
looked at
ME.
5.
An artist needs to have a strong self-image, a credible personal
vision, in order to stop wriggling like an insect pinned upon a

wall. He can create this image by putting his personal history,

his past into words to live today and let it proceed into the

future. This is the key that should never be lost. Otherwise, he

will live and write about his own place, ie., the threshold, a

purgatorial no land. Topographically speaking, this land is

between being and non-being, between his/her assigned present

state of being human and his/her aspiration to be completed, to

be a part of THE WHOLE, or to be godlike.
Likewise, a poem is a different and independent entity between
its origin and future, between its creator and reader. As far as

this independent being is concerned, the creator and the reader
vanish, they die; however, the poem survives.
Now, at times in a musée des mals arts and at times in a musee
des beaux arts, I am creating my work, living my life as a

creative activity in all colors, odours, shapes and sizes,

singing my very personal song, moulding all this into my word, my poem. I AM MY WORD.

In the future, my work, my life, my song, my word, all as a

whole, will enable me to look into the eyes of people again, as I

could very easily do when I was a child. When I am gone, flesh

and bone, I hope readers will take my poem and many others from

all over the world and be better persons, and look fearlessly

into their own eyes and into those of their brethren.

Thus, at the moment, I write at times with joy, at times in

despair, but always raising my hopes for the day to come, when I

trigger the release and restore my life-giving force and be one

with my Helen, because as Racine says, "Dans le fond des forets

votre image me suit."
I AM, IPSO FACTO, MENELAUS, THE POEM.
PROLOGUE:
Put me next to my Old and New Masters, in Musee des Beaux Arts,
where no fear, no hatred and no guilt can blackmail hope and

love, so that everyone voices his/her utter his/her own word

"ON THE PULSE OF THE MORNING" (Maya Angelou) with the simplest

and most crutial word, GOOD MORNING". If you wish to be
"embracing and embraced" (R.M.Rilke), then make your poetic ıèı space, grow your tree and

LET EVERYONE EMBRACE YOUR WARM WINDS

INTO THE DAY OUT OF THE DARKNESS
HOLD OUT YOUR HANDS WASH OFF OLD FEARS
PIECE YOUR WORDS TOGETHER, MAKE A HOME
OPEN YOUR DOORS TO THEIR NEW DREAMSONTO THE SKY
WRITE ANOTHER POEM.

February 5, 1993
Ankara


anasayfa/mainpage