Nazım Hikmet

Infobox Writer
name =Nazım Hikmet Ran

caption =
birthdate = birth date|1901|11|20|df=y
birthplace = Selânik, Ottoman Empire1
deathdate = death date and age|1963|6|3|1901|11|20|df=y
deathplace = Moscow, Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, USSR
occupation = poet, playwright, novelist, memoirist
genre =
movement =
influences =
influenced =
website =

Nazım Hikmet Ran (November 20, 1901June 3, 1963), commonly known as Nazım Hikmet (pronounced|nɑːˌzɯm hikˈmɛt), was a Turkish poet, playwright, novelist and memoirist, acclaimed in Turkey as the first and foremost modern Turkish poet, and regarded throughout the world as one of the greatest poets of the twentieth century. [ Nazim Hikmet ] ] He earned international fame with his lyric power, through the "lyrical flow of his statements".Selected poems, Nazim Hikmet translated by Ruth Christie, Richard McKane, Talat Sait Halman, Anvil press Poetry, 2002, p.9 ISBN 0 85646 329 9] Described as a "romantic communist" Saime Goksu Edward Timms, "Romantic Communist: The Life and Work of Nazim Hikmet", St. Martin's Press, New York ISBN 0-312-22247-5] and "romantic revolutionary", he was repeatedly arrested for his political beliefs and spent much of his adult life in prison or in exile. His poetry has been translated into more than fifty languages.

Early life

Hikmet was born in Selânik (now Thessaloniki, Greece), the westernmost metropolis of the Ottoman Empire, where his father served as a government official. He came from a cosmopolitan and distinguished family. He attended primary school in the Göztepe district of Istanbul at the prestigious Galatasaray High School, where he began to learn French; but in 1913, he was transferred to another school in the Nişantaşı district. His school days coincided with a period of political upheaval as the Ottoman government entered the First World War allying itself with Germany.

tyle and achievements

Despite writing his first poems in syllabic meter, Nazım Hikmet distinguished himself from the "syllabic poets" in concept. With the development of his poetic conception, the narrow forms of syllabic verse became too limiting for his style and he set out to seek new forms for his poems.

As a student in the early 1920s in Moscow, he was influenced by the artistic experiments of Vladimir Mayakovsky and Vsevolod Meyerhold, as well as the ideological vision of Lenin. He was affected by the young Soviet poets who advocated Futurism. On his return to Turkey, he became the charismatic leader of the Turkish avant-garde, producing streams of innovative poems, plays and film scripts. Breaking the boundaries of the syllabic meter, he changed his form and preferred writing in free verse which harmonised with the rich vocal properties of the Turkish language.

He has been compared by Turkish and non-Turkish men of letters to such figures as Federico García Lorca, Louis Aragon, Mayakovsky and Pablo Neruda. Although his work bears resemblance to these poets and owes them occasional debts of form and stylistic device, his literary personality is unique in terms of the synthesis he made of iconoclasms and lyricism, of ideology and poetic diction. [Ruth Christie, p. 19]

Many of his poems have been adapted into songs by the composer Zülfü Livaneli. A part of his work have been translated into Greek by Yiannis Ritsos, and some of these translations have been arranged by the Greek composers Manos Loizos and Thanos Mikroutsikos.

Later life and legacy

Hikmet's imprisonment in the 1940s became a cause célèbre among intellectuals worldwide; a 1949 committee that included Pablo Picasso, Paul Robeson, and Jean Paul Sartre campaigned for Hikmet's release. In 1950, Hikmet went on an eighteen-day hunger strike, despite a heart attack. He would later be released in a general amnesty.

In 1951 Nazım Hikmet was awarded the International Peace Prize by the World Peace Council. When the upspring of the EOKA struggle took place in Cyprus, Hikmet believed that Cypriot population can live peacefully and called Turkish minority to support Greek Cypriots to achieve the demand of Union with Greece.

"Hikmet sent a message to the Turks of Cyprus, emphasizing that Cyprus was always Greek. [...] (The Turkish Cypriots) must support Greek Cypriots to achieve the liberation from British imperialism. [...] Only when the British imperialists leave the island the Turks residents of the island will live truly free. [...] Those who try to make Turks opposite against Greeks, actually only support the interest of the foreign ruler."
(Greek newspaper 'Avgi', 17/1/1955 and 'Phileleftheros', 31/3/2007)

Persecuted for decades by the Republic of Turkey during the Cold War for his communist views, Hikmet died of a heart attack in Moscow after many exiled years away from his family. He is buried in Moscow's famous Novodevichy Cemetery, where his imposing tombstone is even today a place for pilgrimage by Turks and communists from around the world. His final will was to be buried under a platanus tree in any village cemetery in Anatolia, which was never realized.

Despite his persecution by the Turkish state, Nazım Hikmet was always revered by the Turkish nation. His poems depicting the people of the countryside, villages, towns and cities of his homeland ("Memleketimden İnsan Manzaraları", i.e. "Human Landscape from my Country") as well as the Turkish War of Independence ("Kurtuluş Savaşı Destanı", i.e. "The Epic of the War of Independence") and the Turkish revolutionaries ("Kuvâyi Milliye", i.e. "Force of the Nation") are considered among the greatest patriotic literary works in Turkey.

ome of his best known works

*Memleketimden İnsan Manzaraları (Human Landscapes from My Country)
*Taranta-Babu'ya Mektuplar (Letters to Taranta-Babu)
*Ferhad ile Şirin (Ferhad and Şirin)
*Kurtuluş Savaşı Destanı (The Epic of the War of Independence)
*Şeyh Bedrettin Destanı (The Epic of Sheikh Bedreddin)
*Kafatası (The Skull)
*Unutulan Adam (The Forgotten Man)

Kız Çocuğu

Nazım's poem "Kız Çocuğu" ("The Little Girl") conveys a plea for peace from a seven-year-old girl, ten years after she has perished in the atomic bomb attack at Hiroshima. It has achieved popularity as an anti-war message and has been performed as a song by a number of singers and musicians worldwide.

Zülfü Livaneli (on Nazım Türküsü) has performed a version of the original Turkish poem. A loose English translation of "Kız Çocuğu" known as "I Come And Stand At Every Door" has been performed by The Byrds (on the album "Fifth Dimension"), Pete Seeger (on the album "Headlines & Footnotes"), This Mortal Coil (on the album "Blood"), and The Fall on their 1997 album "Levitate", albeit omitting the last verse and wrongly attributing writing credits to anon/J Nagle. Fazil Say included the poem in his "Nazım" oratorio [ [ YouTube - Fazil Say - Kiz Cocugu(Nazim Hikmet) ] ] . "In 2005, famed Shima-Uta singer Chitose Hajime collaborated with Ryuichi Sakamoto by translating "Kız Çocuğu" into Japanese (retitled 'Shinda Onna no Ko' [死んだ女の子] ). It was performed live at the Atomic Bomb Dome in Hiroshima on the eve of the 60th Anniversary (August the 5th, 2005). The song later appeared as a bonus track on Chitose's Hanadairo album in 2006.

He also opposed the Korean War, in which Turkey participated. After the speech of John Foster Dulles where he stated that Turkish soldiers are very "cheap", costing only 23 cents a day, Nazım Hikmet wrote a protest poem criticising the policies of the United States. This poem is titled "23 Sentlik Askere Dair" (About the soldier valued 23 cents).


:Take out the dress i first saw you in:look your best,:look like spring trees:Wear in your hair:::the carnation i sent you in a letter from prison,:raise your kissable, lined, broad white forehead.:Today, not broken and sad-:::::::no way!:today Nazim hikmet's woman must be beautiful:::like a rebel flag...

4 December 1945, Letters from Prison.

Source: Romantic Communist, the Life and Works of Nazım Hikmet, Saime Göksu and Edward Timms.

:This world will grow cold,:a star among stars,:::one of the smallest,:this great world of ours:::a gilded mote on blue velvet.

:This world will grow cold one day,:not even as a heap of ice,:or a lifeless cloud,:it will roll like an empty walnut round and round:::in pitch darkness for ever.

:For now you must feel this pain,:and endure the sadness,:but so loved this world:::that you can say,:::'I have lived'.

February 1948
[Letters to Kemal Tahir from Prison]
Source: Beyond the Walls: Selected Poems by Nazım Hikmet, Richard McKane, and Ruth Christie


Nazım Hikmet's "Davet" ("Invitation") is one of his best known poems. Nazım tells what he wants, and what life should be like, in the poem's last lines about living "alone and free like a tree" and "in brotherly love like a forest".

In popular culture

*"Tale of Tales" is a Russian film partially inspired by Hikmet's poem of the same name.
*"Le Fate Ignoranti" is an Italian film, in which a book by Hikmet plays a central plot role.
*"Mavi Gözlü Dev" (meaning "Blue eyed giant") is a 2007 Turkish biographical film about Nazım Hikmet. He is portrayed by actor Yetkin Dikinciler.



*İlk şiirler / Nâzım Hikmet, İstanbul : Yapı Kredi, 2002. ISBN 9750803809
*835 satır / Nâzım Hikmet, İstanbul : YKY, 2002. ISBN 9750803736
*Benerci kendini niçin öldürdü? / Nâzım Hikmet, İstanbul : YKY, 2002. ISBN 9750803744
*Kuvâyi Milliye / Nâzım Hikmet, İstanbul : YKY, 2002. ISBN 9750803752
*Yatar Bursa Kalesinde / Nâzım Hikmet, İstanbul : YKY, 2002. ISBN 9750803760
*Memleketimden insan manzaraları : (insan manzaraları) / Nâzım Hikmet, İstanbul : YKY, 2002. ISBN 9750803779
*Yeni şiirler : (1951-1959) / Nâzım Hikmet, İstanbul : Yapı Kredi Yayınları, 2002. ISBN 9750803787
*Son şiirleri : (1959-1963) / Nâzım Hikmet, İstanbul : Yapı Kredi Yayınları, 2002. ISBN 9750803795

Partial list of translated works in English

*The day before tomorrow : poems / done into English by Taner Baybars. [South Hinksey, Eng.] : Carcanet Press, 1972. ISBN 0902145436
*Human landscapes / by Nazim Hikmet ; translated by Randy Blasing and Mutlu Konuk ; foreword by Denise Levertov, New York : Persea Books, c1982. ISBN 0892550686
*Beyond the walls : selected poems / Nâzim Hikmet ; translated by Ruth Christie, Richard McKane, Talât Sait Halman ; introduction by Talât Sait Halman, London : Anvil Press Poetry, 2002. ISBN 0856463299
*Selected poetry / Nazim Hikmet ; translated by Randy Blasing and Mutlu Konuk, New York : Persea Books, c1986. ISBN 0892551011
*Nâzım Hikmet, That Wall / illustrations [by] Maureen Scott, London : League of Socialist Artists, [1973] . ISBN 0950297623


External links

* [ Nâzım Hikmet Ran] Website dedicated to Nâzım Hikmet, with a fine collection of poems, reflections and photographs. In Turkish and English.
* [ Nazim Hikmet in English]
* [ Nâzım Hikmet Ran Poet du monde]
* [ N. Hikmet reading his poem "Kerem Gibi"]
* [ Nazim Hikmet Kultur Merkezi]
* [ Nâzım Usta]

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Nazim Hikmet — Nazim Hikmẹt   [ zim ], eigentlich Nazɪm Hikmet Rạn, türkischer Lyriker und Dramatiker, * Saloniki 20. 1. 1902, ✝ Moskau 3. 6. 1963; lebte 1922 24 sowie 1925 28 in Moskau; nach seiner Rückkehr in die Türkei wegen kommunistischer Gesinnung… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Nazim Hikmet — Ran (Salónica, Imperio Otomano, 20 de noviembre de 1901 Moscú, 3 de junio de 1963) fue un poeta y dramaturgo turco, considerado en Occidente el poeta más importante en lengua turca del siglo XX. Sus obras han sido traducidas a numerosos idiomas.… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Nazim Hikmet — Briefmarkenausgabe zum 80. Geburtstag Nâzım Hikmets (Sowjetunion 1982) Nâzım Hikmet (Ran) (IPA:naːˈzɯm hikˈmet) (* 20. Januar 1902 in Thessaloniki, † 3. Juni 1963 in Moskau) war ein türkischer Dichter und Dramatiker. Er gilt als Begründer der… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Nazım Hikmet — Briefmarkenausgabe zum 80. Geburtstag Nâzım Hikmets (Sowjetunion 1982) Nâzım Hikmet (Ran) [naːˈzɯm hikˈmet] (* 20. Januar 1902 in Thessaloniki; † 3. Juni 1963 in Moskau) war ein türkischer …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • Nazım Hikmet — Monumento a Nazım Hikmet Nazım Hikmet Ran (Salónica, Imperio otomano, 20 de noviembre de 1901 Moscú, 3 de junio de 1963) fue un poeta y dramaturgo turco, considerado en Occidente el poeta más importante en lengua turca del siglo XX …   Wikipedia Español

  • Nazim Hikmet — (1902 63) modern Turkish poet, advocate of Marxism and member of the Turkish Communist party …   English contemporary dictionary

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