VOCI DAL MONDO- Dialoghi con Cipro- Zeki Ali: An Introduction to the Poetry of Fikret Demirağ

cipro nel bacino del mar mediterraneo – elaborazione da foto satellitari

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Se la rete può, nella sua vastità, mantenere viva la propria identità accendendo una filigrana di comunicazione, invitando all’incontro
se può attraversare barriere architettoniche, confini, in tempoluce
se queste cartesensibili offrono significati e opere leggibili da ogni infinitudine della rete
qui apriamo ospitalità a testi e lingue che ci raggiungono con qualità dopo lunga navigazione

Anna  Maria Farabbi

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cipro- immagine dal satellite

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 An Introduction to the Poetry of  Fikret Demirağ

Fikret Demirağ; Obviously the first name that comes to mind when the subject is poetry in Cyprus. I would like to introduce basic features of Demirağ, who became crown of hearts of literary circles and poetry lovers to foreign readers. Cyprus is known for its never-ending conflicts in excess of a half-century in the world media. If inquired, not many people will know much about the whereabouts, history, geography, ethnic roots and cultural mosaic of Cyprus. A small island with its conflicts exceeding its size… A small island nation divided in two…  A divided capital, ethnic confrontations for many years, an occupation followed by more negotiations for a solution… Even with the participation of guarantor states (Greece, Turkey, England), United Nations and European Union, people of Cyprus still trying to hold on to a future that remains uncertain…

It would be difficult and incomplete to penetrate into the poetry of Fikret Demirağ without the details of this knowledge on Cyprus. Don’t get it wrong; beyond being the reflection of a local and limited culture, Demirağ’s poetry has universal dimensions which put humanity up front and blesses it.  

Just as contemporary interpretations keeps resounding from Iliada of Homeros, Divine Comedy of Dante and Myth of Gılgamesh, the human factor in Demirağ’s poetry will ensure that his poetry will remain universal and lasting.As Demirağ had evaluated his present living conditions he didn’t forget that we must learn lessons from the history; He blessed the crossbred nature of Cypriots following their journey through history from their first settlement on the island. Beginning with ‘Fire of Limnidi Till Now’  In his quadruplet ‘For a Painfull Homeland’, Demirağ narrates the tides and forming of the crossbred culture in a lyrical parlance. This is why one needs to know the history of the island in order to understand the crossbred and humanist stance versus nationalist discourses in order to fully understand Demirağ’s poetry.

Even though Cyprus is a small island, from the beginning of the history it was reached, settled in and was invaded by people of Mediterranean countries so many times. By the time we had reached the divided republics of Cyprus, many kingdoms have passed and besides the people of copper and bronze age of unknown origins, the island became a home and it was ruled by Phoenicians, Persians, Greeks, Egyptians, Romans, Lusignans, Venetians, Crusaders, Ottomans and British.

December 2017 marks the first date of an international poetry festival held in honor of Fikret Demirağ on the occasion of his seventh death anniversary in his birth town Lefke. Even though not far away in the past, every passing year reveals how as a poet Demirağ is important, significant and perennial at the same time.

Besides positive themes of amity, love, and peace, the people who search and exalts these values in a World where material values override forms the artery of Demirağ’s poetry. In this World, he describes individuals getting hurt, lonely and alienated in a weaving pattern. His poetry has an unrecognizable fine line between hope and despair.

In order to do a research on Demirağ’s poetics, we should start with the influences reflected in his verses and move towards his intentions. As a prolific poet, his poetic journey comprised of many phases and evolved in style and sound. Beginning with ‘For a Painfull Homeland’, more than the sum of diverse poems, his poems became chapters of major poems. In his early phases were abstract and socialist properties were dominant, Demirağ was influenced by poetry movements in Turkey. As he progressed besides being experimental, he produced poems which honed his style and extended his voice. When Demirağ discovered his essence as ‘Cypriot’, the voice of his poetry moved into a folkloric field. This was an inevitable course and at the same time a conscious choice; as he decided to become the voice of his countryman, he integrated their sensitivities with his own experience and reminiscences. During this phase, as Demirağ reflected the effects of Erotism which is one of the qualities of being a Mediterranean poet, he used the inspirations of the holy scriptures mixing their treacly voice with humanistic lyricism. This was mostly done in separate tablets urging us to carry on as human beings. Demirağ’s poetry has ethical properties; as he evaluates what’s ethically right, he takes us along through his own experiences, reminding our ethical past using holly scriptures and arriving at up to date now. As he reveals his own life intermingled with his countryman’s adventures full of sufferings, his voice became their own.

Because Demirağ’s poetry was rooted in abstract and experimental poetry it didn’t lose its brilliance in didactic narrative even though moved through a socialist and folkloric period; he recognized poetry inhabiting select language and without shying away from his muse he wrote meticulously like a researcher. His human-centered and ethical poetry brought Cypriot people and colors of Mediterranean forward and in the end like water flowing from different directions collected them in his grand river giving it back to the Mediterranean. This is why his poetry is one of the main arteries of the Mediterranean poetry.

 Zeki Ali

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