Ece Temelkuran


“I must wash my eyes in the light. For, every eye that runs to the light
learns to repose within itself, to wash itself
with its own water.
Just like swans, who must learn
to rest their necks within their own bodies…”

ece temelkuran


Keep your saliva inside your cheeks,
Don’t kiss those who haven’t the strength to say “no”
Don’t gather on the city’s hills
Like the pushy crowds
Don’t stamp around the hills, don’t wake the city’s aches
Don’t stand on the seven aches’ seven hills,
This work is not for you
If you bite, your mouth will hurt
If you lick, you’ll get poisoned
In any case, it is you who shall fall in this city

If you rise a little higher,
you’ll reach a place
where you cease to mourn your rootlessness.
You now consist only of yourself.
You belong only to yourself.
This is humanity’s most crowded, most bountiful condition:
you will love the taste of it, won’t want to become again
anyone’s something, even their most precious thing.
Even if you want to, you won’t really succeed.

Book of the Edge, Boa Editions, 2010
Translated by Deniz Perin


“The poems lead the reader to question the ignorance, knowledge, cruelty, and spirituality of human beings through the explorer’s journey. Ece Temelkuran’s exquisite sense of nature and humanity is rendered through Deniz Perin’s precise translation, which skilfully conveys the tone of the original Turkish and makes the book a meaningful gift to readers of the English-speaking world.”

World Literature in Review

“The book is, to use Baudelaire’s words, an invitation to a voyage. The speaker asks the reader to become an explorer, to leave the city and embark upon a journey of self-discovery. Although each poem stands alone, the poems work together to describe this quest; they turn into a modern, poetic fable, in which speaker, explorer, and reader merge into one.”

Deniz Perin, Translator

The story itself is incredibly compelling. Because the allegories and metaphors are well grounded, the reader can focus less on exploring esoteric themes and are instead invited to lose themselves wholly in the tale of a journey of self-discovery. It’s a universal feeling of restlessness that draws the reader in.

Andrew Scoggins, Poetry International

“This book that feels like a journey, pushes the readers to face their own devils of how they experience life in their souls and how they should live it”

Cumhuriyet Book Magazine