In the much earlier days of Newspaper Club we wrote about the joy of being ‘exposed to some of this stuff‘ – to the uncommon and interesting things that we put onto newsprint. The phrase came to mind recently when we were exposed to the relatively obscure Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet through The Tree with Blue Eyes. Hikmet’s work was a lovely discovery, and we have Ozan Karakoç to thank for bringing it to light. He compiled a 24-page digital broadsheet of Hikmet’s poetry and shares the inspiration behind his publication:
Nazim Hikmet has always been a true inspiration for me. His life story, his ideas, his humanity, and his incredibly realistic and touching poems.
He loved his country more than anyone else but he was called ‘the traitor’ because he criticised the government for the risk of losing economic independence. They judged him, they arrested him and he lived more than 12 years of his life in prison, only because of his thoughts and poems.
In such a desperate situation, what would I do if I were him? My answer to that question would be a very sad story. He, however, chose to live as if nothing happened and life was going on. ‘However and wherever we are, we must live as if we will never die,’ he writes in one of his most inspirational poems ‘On Living’.
He loved this life so much that he also wrote in the same poem:
‘This earth will grow cold one day,
not like a block of ice
or a dead cloud even
but like an empty walnut it will roll along
in pitch-black space …
You must grieve for this right now
for the world must be loved this much
if you’re going to say ‘I lived’ …’
Grieving for the fact that the earth will grow cold millions of years later… This is true inspiration.
This is the very reason why I chose to dedicate something I create, to his respectful memory. And I wanted to introduce him and his work to people who don’t know him and that’s why I made the newspaper in English.
It’s a rare and beautiful project. Thank you for sharing it with us, Ozan!