Faruk Nafiz Çamlıbel was born on May 18, 1898 in Muğla. He wrote under many pseudonyms including Çamdeviren, Deli Ozan, Akıllı Ozan, İsmail Vecih, İğne ile Kuyu Kazan, Kalender, Tatlı Sert, and Yamak. He attended four years at the Faculty of Medicine but left without completing it. From 1917 to 1922, he was part of the editorial staff of the İleri newspaper. Until 1946, he taught literature at various educational institutions around Anatolia and in Istanbul. He quit the teaching profession in 1946, started his political career and was elected Istanbul representative for the Democratic Party. He remained a parliamentarian until the military takeover of May 27, 1960. After the coup, he was arrested and sent to Yassıada along with other politicians. In 1961, his sentence was overturned and he returned to Istanbul where he lived until his death.

Faruk Nafiz Çamlıbel started writing poems at an early age, and he was chiefly influenced by the poets and authors gathered around the Servet-i Fünun magazine. His first period poems feature themes of love, pain and patriotism, but this would change after 1922. Faruk Nafiz Çamlıbel first went to Ankara to work as a journalist, then to various parts of Anatolia as an instructor of literature. During his travels, he discovered the realities of Anatolia which influenced the rest of his life. Using the syllabic meter and plain Turkish, he started composing poems that depicted the realities of Turkish society. In 1926, he announced this new poetic understanding in a poem called “Sanat” which appeared in the Hayat magazine. Faruk Nafiz Çamlıbel believed that this poem should form a bridge between the people of Anatolia and the intellectuals of Istanbul.

After the declaration of the Republic, he became a member of the group of poets known as “Five Syllabists,” which included Enis Behiç Koryürek, Orhan Seyfi Orhon, Halit Fahri Ozansoy, and Yusuf Ziya Ortaç. Just like Çamlıbel, these poets wrote in the syllabic meter and they used plain and easy-to-understand language. During this period, Faruk Nafiz Çamlıbel wrote his best–known poem “Han Duvarları.” He also began to denounce literature that admired the West.

In his humorous poems, Faruk Nafiz Çamlıbel used pennames such as Çamdeviren, Deli Ozan, and Akıllı Ozan. Despite the fact that he also wrote plays and novels, these works were little known or not known at all. Faruk Nafiz Çamlıbel is best known for the words to “Onuncu Yıl Marşı,” which he co-wrote with fellow poet Behçet Kemal Çağlar. The famous Cemal Reşit, who is one of the most outstanding composers of Turkish music, wrote the melody to this marching song. Even today, this marching song is enthusiastically sung on national holidays and other ceremonies in a show of support to the Turkish Republic.

His play called “Yayla Kartalı” was brought to the stage in 1945 by Muhsin Ertuğrul, the famous dramatist of the period.

Faruk Nafiz Çamlıbel died on November 8, 1973.

Faruk Nafiz Çamlıbel’s Works:

Poetry: Şarkın Sultanları (Sultans of the East, 1919), Gönülden Gönüle (From Heart to Heart, 1919), Çoban Çeşmesi (The Shepherd Fountain, 1919), Dinle Neyden (Listen from the Nay, 1919), Suda Halkalar (The Hoops on the Water, 1928), Bir Ömür Böyle Geçti (A Life Passed Like This, 1933), Elimle Seçtiklerim (Selected by My Hand, 1934), Akarsu (The River, 1937), Akıncı Türküleri (Songs of the Raiders, 1938), Heyecan ve Sükûn (Excitement and Calmness, 1959), Zindan Duvarları (Walls of the Dungeon, 1967), Han Duvarları (Walls of the Inn, 1969), Gurbet ve Saire (Living Far Away from Homeland and Et Cetera, 2003).

Play: Canavar (The Monster, 1925), Akın (The Raid, 1932), Özyurt (Homeland, 1932), Kahraman (The Hero, 1933), Ateş (Fire, 1939), Dev Aynası (The Mirror of Titan, 1945), Yayla Kartalı (Eagle of High Plateau, 1945).

Novel: Yıldız Yağmuru (Rain of Stars, 1945).

* Biographical information concerning Faruk Nafiz Çamlıbel has been gathered from Tanzimat’tan Bugüne Edebiyatçılar Ansiklopedisi.

Reference: Yesim Gokce (Bilkent University)/Turkish Cultural Foundation, photograph courtesy of Ara Guler.

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