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FAZIL HUSNU DAGLARCA (1914)

Fazıl Hüsnü Dağlarca was born in 1914, in Istanbul. He graduated from Military Academy, and after fifteen years of service, he left the Turkish Armed Forces in 1950. Between 1952 and 1960, he was employed as an inspector; he retired in 1959 and dedicated himself to composing poetry. However, Dağlarca’s relationship with literature is rooted in his earliest ages. His literary career was launched at age thirteen, as he won first place in a story contest for students. In 1933, his first poem appeared in the periodical entitled İstanbul. Starting from his years at the War Academy, Fazıl Hüsnü Dağlarca wrote poems for the leading literature magazine Varlık. He also wrote for the publications Yücel, İnkılapçı, Gençlik, Türk Dili, Yeditepe, Yenilik, Kültür Haftası, Çağrı, Devrim, Vatan, Ataç, Türk Yurdu, and Yön. In 1935, his first volume of poetry Havaya Çizilen Dünya appeared, and in 1940, fame found him as his second book Çocuk ve Allah was published. Fazıl Hüsnü Dağlarca’s poems concentrated on the relationship between the human being and the cosmos, and on the relationship between nature and the supernatural. Yet, the poetry volumes that he published in the 1950s took a different twist and portrayed the relationship between the individual and society, and the relationship between the individual and nature. During the 1960s, social changes that took place in the country caught up with him, and he became increasingly sensitive to domestic and international issues, and aware of national interests. In his poems, he took a stance against exploitation, condemned imperialism, and sympathized with the struggle of abused peoples.

Fazıl Hüsnü Dağlarca is also known as the innovator who introduced the epic poem genre into Turkish literature. Fazıl Hüsnü Dağlarca believed that “poetry should emphasize the elements that turn a society into a nation, it should feature its triumphs, and pains.” Indeed, his ardent epic poems earned him a special place in the Turkish literary universe. Fazıl Hüsnü Dağlarca’s work is also unusual because of the special emphasis that it placed on children. His poetry sequence entitled Çocuklarda is made up of more than twenty books that targeted younger readers. He said, “My love for children is equal to my love for poetry.” These poems focus on the inquisitive stance that children adopt in the face of nature and the universe, and on the children’s struggle to establish balance between objects and their minds.

One of the most prolific poets of the Turkish literature of the republican period, Fazıl Hüsnü Dağlarca has led a life dedicated to poetry, and preferred not to express himself in any other genre. He is a not only a creative poet who used allegories and symbols that were truly original, but also a sensible citizen who has always been concerned with the problems of his country. Fazıl Hüsnü Dağlarca also focused on the conceptual problems of society, on the situation of children, and on the supernatural. The poet currently resides in Istanbul, and he is still actively composing poetry.

Fazıl Hüsnü Dağlarca’s Works:

Poetry: Havaya Çizilen Dünya (The World Drawn in Air, 1935), Çocuk ve Allah (The Child and the God, 1940), Daha (More, 1943), Çakırın Destanı (The Epic of Çakır, 1945), Taş Devri (The Stone Age, 1945), Üç şehitler Destanı (Epic of Three Martyrs, 1949), Toprak Ana (The Mother Soil, 1950), Aç Yazı (The Hungry Writing, 1951), İstiklâl Savaşı-Samsun'dan Ankara'ya (The Independence War – From Samsun to Ankara, 1951), İstiklal Savaşı-İnönüler (The Independence War – İnönü and His Friends, 1951), Sivaslı Karınca (The Ant from Sivas, 1951), İstanbul-Fetih Destanı (Epic of the Conquest of İstanbul, 1953), Anıtkabir (Mausoleum of Atatürk, 1953), Asû (Asu, 1955), Delice Böcek (The Crazy Bug, 1957), Batı Acısı (The Pain of West, 1958), Mevlâna’da Olmak (Being in Mevlana, 1958), Hoo'lar (Hoo’s, 1960), Özgürlük Alanı (Field of Freedom, 1960), Cezayir Türküsü (The Song of Algeria, 1961), Aylam (My Ayla, 1962), Türk Olmak (Being Turkish, 1963), Yedi Memetler (The Seven Memets, 1964), Çanakkale Destanı (The Epic of the Dardanelles, 1965), Dışardan Gazel (Singing an Ode from Outside, 1965), Kazmalama (Digging, 1965), Yeryağ (Soil Oil, 1965), Vietnam Savaşımız (Our Vietnam War, 1966), Kubilay Destanı (The Epic of Kubilay, 1968), Haydi (Come On, 1968), 19 Mayıs Destanı (The Epic of May 19th, 1969), Dört Kanatlı Kuş (A Bird with Four Wings, selected poems, 1970), Malazgirt Ululaması (An Appraisal to the Victory of Malazgirt, 1971), Gazi Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, 1973), Horoz (Rooster, 1977), Hollandalı Dörtlükler (Dutch Quatrains, 1977), Çukurova Koçaklaması (Epic of Çukurova, 1979), Çıplak (Naked, 1981), Kaçan Uykular Ülkesinde (In the Land of Escaped Sleep, 1981), Yunus Emre'de Olmak (Being in Yunus Emre, 1981), Nötron Bombası (The Neutron Bomb, 1981), İlk Yapıtla 50 Yıl Sonrakiler (With the First Work, Those of 50 Years Later, 1985), Dişiboy (Dişiboy, 1985), Takma Yaşamlar Çağı (The Age of Fake Lives, 1986), Uzaklarla Giyinmek (Wearing with Distance, 1990), Dildeki Bilgisayar (The Computer in the Language, 1992), O'1923 - Tapınağa Asılmış Gövdeler – Gezi, Mevlana'da Olmak, (O’1923 - The Bodies Hang on the Temple – Travel, Being in Mevlana) - Göbistan (Göbland, 1998), Batı Acısı - Akdeniz - Aç Yazı (The Pain of West - The Mediterranean - The Hungry Writing, 1998), Sevişirlerken (As They are Making Love, 1999).

Children’s Poetry:
Açıl Susam (Open, Sesame, Skopje, 1967), Kuş Ayak (Birdy Feet, 1971), Kınalı Kuzu Ağıdı (Wailing of Hennaed Lamb, 1972), Arka Üstü (Falling Back, 1974), Yeryüzü Çocukları (Children of the Earth, 1974), Yanık Çocuklar Koçaklaması (Epic Of Burned Children, 1976), Balina ile Mandalina (The Whale and the Tangerine, 1977), Yaramaz Sözcükler (Naughty Words, 1979), Göz Masalı (The Fairy Tale of Eye, 1979), Yazıları Seven Ayı (The Bear who Liked Writings, 1980), Şeker Yiyen Resimler (The Pictures that Ate Sugar, 1980), Cinoğlan (The Cunning Kid, 1981), Hin ve Hincik (Cunning and Cunningsome, 1981), Güneş Doğduran (That Rises the Sun, 1981), Kaçan Ayılar Ülkesinde (In the Land of Escaped Bears, 1982).

* Biographical information concerning Fazıl Hüsnü Dağlarca 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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