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Poems of Nazim Hikmet

4.56  ·  Rating details ·  1,225 Ratings  ·  60 Reviews
Nazim Hikmet (1902-1963), the greatest modern Turkish poet was a political prisoner in Turkey for eighteen years and spent the last thirteen years of his life in exile. Banned in his own country for thirty years, his poetry has been translated into more than fifty languages, and today he is recognized world-wide as one of the twentieth century's great international poets. ...more
Paperback, 242 pages
Published May 23rd 2006 by Persea Books (first published April 1st 1973)
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PGR Nair
Mar 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All Poetry lovers
Recommended to PGR by: Chance encounter in Strand bookstall, Mumbai
Shelves: favourites


Literature is replete with stories of great artists who were hunted and persecuted during their lifetime for their ideologies and convictions. Russian poets Anna Akhmatova and Osip Mandelstam and the Spanish poets Federico Garcia Lorca and Miguel Hernandez are some familiar names that immediately come to my mind. But I doubt whether any poet has suffered so much as Nazim Hikmet (1902-1963), the first modern Turkish poet and one of the most important a
This earth will grow cold one day,
not like a block of ice
or a dead cloud even
but like an empty walnut it will roll along
in pitch-black space ...
You must grieve for this right now
--you have to feel this sorrow now--
for the world must be loved this much
if you're going to say "I lived" ...

Nâzım Hikmet may be my favorite poet, or at least one of my favorites for sure.
He uses similes so simple, that sometimes his poems seem effortless. No one can deny that beauty lies in simplicity. His poems are
Aug 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Şiir okurları, genel okur
Bu kitap benim hayatımda okumaktan en çok keyif aldığım kitaplardan birisidir. Kitabı çoğunlukla uzun yolculuklarda okudum. Özellikle Memleketimden İnsan Manzaraları ki kendisi zaten yol şiirlerinden müteşekkildir; yolda ve yolu izleyerek okunduğunda enfes oldu. Fazıl Say'ın Nazım Hikmet Oratoryosu ise kulaklığımda, kulağıma çalındı. Büyülü bir yolculuktu adeta. Hiçbir zaman hiçbir kitaptan bu tadı alamadım.
Daha önce zaten neredeyse tüm şiirlerini bir şekilde okumuştum ama bu baskı hepsini bir a
Ahmad Sharabiani
Things I Didn't Know I Loved
by Nazim Hikmet
translated by Mutlu Konuk and Randy Blasing

it's 1962 March 28th
I'm sitting by the window on the Prague-Berlin train
night is falling
I never knew I liked
night descending like a tired bird on a smoky wet plain
I don't like
comparing nightfall to a tired bird

I didn't know I loved the earth
can someone who hasn't worked the earth love it
I've never worked the earth
it must be my only Platonic love

and here I've loved rivers all this time
whether motionless like
Hasan Makhzoum
Apr 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After reading his poems randomly since 1999, in English and Arabic, I bought this book last year at Istanbul Modern's library (highly recommended for lovers of Modern Art) that celebrates his 100t birthday.
After reading Lorca for the first time, I have wondered that if he wasn't brutally killed so young by Franko's militia, would've he had the same agitated life and what would his later poems look like if he was persecuted like Nazim Hikmet..
My first impression was the 'physicability' of his la
Jul 14, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nazim Hikmet has changed the way I read and the way I look at life in ways I would not have thought possible for a Turkish poet. His poems are effortless, almost negating contrivance, to the point (sometimes) of the colloquial or nearly mundane, but the clarity of his voice, speaking with eyes open, gives me shivers.
Feb 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My personal favorite will probably always be "On Living"
(Living is no laughing matter:
you must live with great seriousness
like a squirrel, for example--
I mean, without looking for something beyond and above living
I mean living must be your whole life...)
Apr 23, 2014 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
16 April

Today we spoke
in the language of eyes.
He works as a weaver days
and studies nights.
Now it's a long time since the night
came on like a pack of black-shirted Fascists.
The cry of a man out of work
who jumped into the Seine
rose from the dark water.
And ah! you on whose fist-size head
mountain-like winds descend,
at this very minute you're probably busy
building towers of thick, leather-bound books
to get answers to the questions you asked of the stars.

And when yo
Dec 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hikmet is contagious. He is so full of life and hope and possibility. He never bowed. And although it's obvious he felt great pain and fell into bouts of depression, his poetry is all about more life. As I read him, I feel hopeful—not outrageously so, but hopeful that there will come a day when things will get better, and that life, as life, is worth living, despite everything horrible in our world. And that is very unlike me. I'm more suited to Paul Celan or Ingeborg Bachmann's depression, or a ...more
Peycho Kanev
Jun 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Nazim Hikmet is one of those big poets born in violent times. He is the perfect combination of poetic quality, incorruptible conscience and duty to society. His work is inseparable from the events of the troubled times, affecting the social processes and the revolutionary transformations.
Nazim Hikmet lives in constant creative fever. The misfortune, the bad luck, the years spent in prison are unable to break his spirit. In the gloomy light in the cell, he turns into poetry even the last letters
Maria Bikaki
Jan 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poems, read_in_2017
Ἡ ζωὴ δὲν εἶναι παῖξε-γέλασε Πρέπει νὰ τήνε πάρεις σοβαρά, Ὅπως, νὰ ποῦμε, κάνει ὁ σκίουρος, Δίχως ἀπ ὄξω ἢ ἀπὸ πέρα νὰ προσμένεις τίποτα. Δὲ θά χεις ἄλλο πάρεξ μονάχα νὰ ζεῖς.
Ἡ ζωὴ δὲν εἶναι παῖξε-γέλασε Πρέπει νὰ τήνε πάρεις σοβαρὰ Τόσο μὰ τόσο σοβαρὰ Ποὺ ἔτσι, νὰ ποῦμε, ἀκουμπισμένος σ” ἕναν τοῖχο μὲ τὰ χέρια σου δεμένα Ἢ μέσα στ ἀργαστήρι Μὲ λευκὴ μπλούζα καὶ μεγάλα ματογυάλια Θὲ νὰ πεθάνεις, γιὰ νὰ ζήσουνε οἱ ἄνθρωποι, Οἱ ἄνθρωποι ποὺ ποτὲ δὲ θά χεις δεῖ τὸ πρόσωπό τους καὶ θὰ πεθάνεις ξέρο
Jan 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, translation
it's this way

i stand in the advancing light,
my hands hungry, the world beautiful.

my eyes can't get enough of the trees-
they're so hopeful, so green.

a sunny road runs through the mulberries,
i'm at the window of the prison infirmary.

i can't smell the medicines-
carnations must be blooming nearby.

it's this way:
being captured is beside the point,
the point is not to surrender.


they'll go to the moon
and beyond,
to places even telescopes can't see.
but when will no one go hungry
on earth
or fear ot
Hazar Bayindir
Dec 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For the people who has concerns about other people. He never gave up, on his poems and what he believed.

On Living


Let's say you're seriously ill, need surgery--
which is to say we might not get
from the white table.
Even though it's impossible not to feel sad
about going a little too soon,
we'll still laugh at the jokes being told,
we'll look out the window to see it's raining,
or still wait anxiously
for the latest newscast ...
Let's say we're at the front--
for something worth fighting for, say.
Ebru Yavuz
Reading poems in a forein language, is very hard thing. Because poets are write poems with their souls. And if you know anything about this country and culture, maybe you dont understand what poet says. But if you read nazım, neruda or lorca, you feel their words in your heart. Nazım was a amazing person and he lived exteremly hard life, away from his lovely contry because of politicians. He died in Moscow.
Jul 30, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Ο Ναζίμ Χικμέτ γεννήθηκε στη Σαλονίκη το 1902 από γονείς Τούρκους, αξιωματούχο και ζωγράφο. Ήταν αριστερός ποιητής που υπηρέτησε όσο κανείς άλλος την ιδέα της αδελφοσύνης ανάμεσα σε δύο λαούς, τον ελληνικό και τον τούρκικο, μέσα από την έντονη πένα του και το πάθος του για ελευθερία και κοινωνικά δικαιώματα. Φυλακίστηκε στη Τουρκία αλλά κανείς δεν μπόρεσε να σιγάσει την ποιητική του φωνή:"Αν δεν καώ εγώ, αν δεν καείς εσύ, τότε ποιός θα γίνει το φως του κόσμου;"
May 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bu bir türkü
toprak çanaklarda
güneşi içenlerin türküsü
ilknur a.k.a. iko ◬
inşallah bi gün alabilip bitiririz seni.
Jul 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, poetry, turkish
i haven't felt this much, while reading a book in a very long time.
Jul 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(In loving memory of Işıl, whose journey was cut short before she could reach her city)

Because of you

Because of you, each day is a melon slice
smelling sweetly of earth.
Because of you, all fruits reach out to me
as if I were the sun.
Thanks to you, I live on the honey of hope.
You are the reason my heart beats.
Because of you, even my loneliest nights
smile like an Anatolian kilim on your wall.
Should my journey end before I reach my city,
I’ve rested in a rose garden thanks to you.
Because of you I don’
نزار شهاب الدين
Magnificently exquisite. Hikmat has this casual style of speaking that has all the depth in the world. He is so humane that he is certain to touch you, regardless of whether you agree with his ideas and values or not.

This translation is very well written in itself (I don't know Turkish do I can't judge the quality of the translation). I know this because I felt the words and enjoyed the style and diction to the most.

Highly recommend.
Ruhat alp
Sep 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition



Gümüş tepsilerde rakseden sultan!


Bin bir yaşında bir şah

Minarelerden sallanıyor sedef nalınlar,

Burunları kınalı kadınlar

Ayaklarıyla gergef dokuyor.

Rüzgarlarda yeşil sarıklı imamlar ezan okuyor!”

İşte Frenk şairin gördüğü şark!
İşte dakikada 1.000.000 basılan kitapların şarkı!
Lakin ne dün ne bugün ne yarın
Böyle bir şark yoktu olmayacak!

Nazım Hikmet Piyer Loti
Nov 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Randy Blasing is my poetry professor. I am incredibly fortunate to study under him and to have been introduced to the works of Hikmet. I didn't know I liked poetry until I read Hikmet and Blasing. Completely spellbinding. My favorite poems are, "Vera" and "Loving You."
Jun 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Probably not this edition, but this stuff is absolutely devastating. I had to give away my copy as to avert a fullon existential funk.
Zebardast Zebardast
man asheghe nazim hikmatam!!!!!!
Patrick T. Randolph
What an incredible Turkish writer. Please read this participant in life's sea of suffering and awe!
Sofya Mamedova
Sevdiyin müddətcə
Və sevə bildiyin qədər,
Sevdiyinə her şeyini verdiyin müddətcə
Və verə bildiyin qədər gəncsən

Axırki haqqında dəfələrlə eşitdiyim,ədəbiyyat müəllimimizin təriflədiyi Nazim Hikmətin bütün şeirlərini oxudum və heyran qaldım ! Poeziyanı o qədər də sevən biri deyiləm amma Nazim Hikmət mənə poeziyanı sevdirməyi bacaran bir şair oldu.Böyük şairin həbs müddətində yazdığı şeirlər tək kəliməylə mükəmməldi.Şeirdə ifadə olunan qəmi,qüssəni,həbsxana həyatının çətinliklərini,vətəndən və ailədən
Jun 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Hikmet was a Turkish Communist poet, who writes largely about his experiences as a prisoner and an exile. Thematically, his work is shot through with longing for freedom, longing for return to home, longing for the family from whom he was separated. His work reacts so much to the oppression he personally faced, and that his people faced under oppressive governments. But even though he laments these many sufferings, Hikmet has a boundless capacity for optimism, and many of his poem assert that th ...more
May 14, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
i didn't like it, and i was biased to: for every nice turn of phrase, a welter of self-pity. Now i'm very self-pitying and bitter, but it don't read well in poetry
Dec 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Part of you may live alone inside,
like a stone at the bottom of a well.
But the other part
must be so caught up
in the flurry of the world
that you shiver there inside
when outside, at forty days’ distance, a leaf moves.
To wait for letters inside,
to sing sad songs,
or to lie awake all night staring at the ceiling
is sweet but dangerous.
Look at your face from shave to shave,
forget your age,
watch out for lice
and for spring nights,
and always remember
to eat every last piece of bread--
also, don’t
Etienne Mahieux
Aug 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Il s'agit donc d'une anthologie poétique reprenant des oeuvres lyriques qui s'étendent sur toute la carrière de Nâzim Hikmet ; toutefois deux recueils de sa dernière période, celui qui donne son titre au volume (les aspirines sont sur la deuxième étagère à gauche) et "Paris ma rose", sont repris dans leur substantifique moëlle et fournissent à peu près les deux tiers des deux cent pages de délicates fleurs poétiques proposées au lecteur. Ainsi se dessine la figure d'un poète âgé, plein de sagess ...more
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 Nâzım Hikmet was born Mehmet Hazim in Salonica, Ottoman Empire (now Thessaloniki, Greece). His father, Nazim Hikmet Bey, was a civil servant, whose father Nazim Pasha, had been a leading figure in the Ottoman civil service. Hikmet's mother, Aisha Dshalila (Cecile), was a painter, partly of Polish, partly of Huguenot descent. In 1905, Hikmet Bey was obliged to resign from his post at the foreign s ...more
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“The most beautiful sea
hasn't been crossed yet.
The most beautiful child
hasn't grown up yet.
Our most beautiful days
we haven't seen yet.
And the most beautiful words I wanted to tell you
I haven't said yet...”
“It's this way:
being captured is beside the point
the point is not to surrender.

- It's This Way
More quotes…