Synopses & Reviews
Written during the Second World War while Hikmet was serving a thirteen-year sentence as a political prisoner, his verse-novel uses cinematic techniques to tell the story of the emergence of secular, modern Turkey by focusing on the always-entertaining stories of sundry characters from all walks of life. As his vignettes flash before our eyes at movie-like speed, it becomes clear he is also telling the turbulent story of the twentieth century itself and the ongoing struggle between tradition, which trusts in God, and modernity, which entrusts the world to human hands.
"One of the great works of modern literature. --Raymond Carver"
"Hikmet takes the traditional oral epic form and adapts it to the modern condition by using elements of drama, film and the novel. ... Mutlu Konuk Blasing [the translator], who recently wrote an excellent biography of Hikmet, does a miraculous job here. ... Human Landscapes spreads across 17,000 iron-forged lines, but it is extraordinarily efficient, never wasting a single word. The whole thing effectively amounts to a compendium of Anatolia's collective memories, traumas, hopes and fears at the time of the Second World War. " William Armstrong
When, on the eve of the Second World War, Nazim Hikmet (1902-1963) -- Turkey's most acclaimed and popular poet -- was sentenced to twenty-eight years in prison for his Communist beliefs, he embarked on the writing of his epic, Human Landscapes from My Country. This 17,000-line verse-novel is made up of a traveler's vivid encounters with Turkish men and women from all walks of life. In colloquial language, Hikmet stages their private hopes and griefs, and through these many human dramas, he documents Turkey's historic transformation into a secular republic. Human Landscapes from My Country is lively . . . cinematographic . . . able] to capture the least scholarly reader (Denise Levertov).
Human Landscapes from My Country was published in a abridged English-language version by Persea Books twenty years ago. This new edition marks a major event in contemporary world literature.
The complete English translation of Nazim Hikmet's epic masterwork.
Written during the Second World War while Hikmetwas serving a thirteen-year sentence as apolitical prisoner, his verse-novel usescinematic techniques to tell the story of theemergence of secular, modern Turkey by focusingon the always-entertaining stories of sundrycharacters from all walks of life. As hisvignettes flash before our eyes at movie-likespeed, it becomes clear he is also telling theturbulent story of the twentieth century itselfand the ongoing struggle between tradition,which trusts in God, and modernity, whichentrusts the world to human hands.
human life is a story, and a compelling one.The content of this major work is highly moving. Highly recommended.One of the great works of modern literature. --Raymond Carver
About the Author
Nazim Hikmet is considered Turkey's greatest modern poet. For his Communist views, he was imprisoned in Turkey and his work was banned. His poetry has been translated into more than fifty languages. He won the World Peace Prize (the USSR's equivalent of the Nobel) in 1950. He died in 1963 in exile.Randy Blasing, a former National Endowment for the Arts Translation Fellow, is the author of seven books of poetry, including Choice Words: Poems 1970-2005. He is also the eminent translator, alongside Mutlu Konuk, of the renowned Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet. He lives in Lincoln, Rhode Island.Mutlu Konuk Blasing, a native of Istanbul, is Professor of English at Brown University. Her books include Lyric Poetry: The Pain and the Pleasure of Words. She is the co-translator (with Randy Blasing) of the renowned English translations of Nazim Hikmet, and the author of four scholarly books on American poetry.Edward Hirsch has published seven books of poems, including Special Orders. He lives in New York City.