Wednesday, April 1, 2020


APRIL 2020

NILAVRONILL: Why literature or poetry in specific interests you so much? Please give us some idea about your own perception of literature or poetry in general.

GÜZİN ORALKAN: Humans can understand the external world through knowledge. My background as a pharmacist has always allowed me to make sense of and understand the universe through scientific knowledge. However, I also think that in order to transform the universe in a positive manner, literature and especially poetry are instrumental tools. I believe that while science proves things, literature reflects life. Literature and poetry are essential to allow people to reflect on life and create a better society. My book Kırgın Yansı (Broken Reflection) which was published in 2014 by Yasak Meyve Publications has been conceived with this same philosophy.

NILAVRONILL: How do you relate your own self existence with your literary life in one hand, and the time around you, in the other.
GÜZİN ORALKAN: The literary aspect of my life affects almost everything I do in life. My self-existence and way of life have been shaped by the literary side of mine for many years now. I have dedicated most of my energy to improving literature both in my community and internationally. I am one of the founders of Ege Kültür Vakfı (Aegean Cultural Foundation) which enriches culture in my community in Izmir. I am also the General Secretary for Kibatek, a foundation with a mission to expand the influence of Turkish literature through organizing symposiums and events internationally.

NILAVRONILL: Do you believe creative souls flourish more in turmoil than in peace?

GÜZİN ORALKAN:  I believe creative souls have a tendency to progress no matter what situation they are in. In poetry, the subjects come directly from life itself. These subjects could be related to turmoil or peace, as life itself contains both. I believe as a poet I reflect on life itself and have used turmoil as metaphors many times in my poems in the past. However, I also use peace and love as subjects in my poetry repeatedly. It is my duty as a poet to reflect life as it is and doing so allows me to flourish in both peace and turmoil.

NILAVRONILL: Do you think in this age of information and technology the dimensions of literature have largely been extended beyond our preconceived ideas about literature in general?

GÜZİN ORALKAN: I believe the age of information and technology we are living in has dictated its own terms to our society. Therefore, it is crucial to reconsider our preconceived notions and ideas about literature itself.

NILAVRONILL: Now in this changing scenario we would like to know from your own life experiences as a poet, writer and a creative soul; how do you respond to this present time?

GÜZİN ORALKAN: In this rapidly changing scenario of technological advancement I, as a poet, writer and creative soul, am attempting to transform my own ideas about what literature and poetry is. My current thinking is that, as humans, we need to be closer to life and experience it instead of being dependent on technology. I sincerely believe that being closer to life will allow me and other creative souls to create works that could reach and inspire future generations to do the same.

NILAVRONILL: Do you believe that all writers are by and large the product of their nationality and is it an incentive or an obstacle for becoming a truly international writer?

GÜZİN ORALKAN: All writers start their journey as a product of their nationalities and cultures. However, in order to become an international writer, one has to reflect on their local cultural elements in order to build bridges to international values and truths audiences all over the world can resonate with. This way of thinking motivates me to become an international writer. 

NILAVRONILL: Now if we try to understand the tradition and modernism, do you think literature can play a pivotal role in it?  If so, how? Again, how can an individual writer relate himself or herself with the tradition and modernism?

GÜZİN ORALKAN: It is not possible to understand the modernist creations without understanding traditional or rather historical creations that precedes those. Just like with art, it is not possible to understand contemporary art without becoming a student of art history. I think literature can play an important role in order to understand the relationship between tradition and modernism by showing us how tradition has shaped the current.

NILAVRONILL: Do you think literary criticism has much to do with the development of a poet and the true understanding of his or her poetry?

GÜZİN ORALKAN: Literary criticism has an important role in the development of a poet. Criticism nurtures a poet and allows him/her to grow further. Therefore, it is crucial for the poet to carefully reflect on the constructive criticism being received allow the poetry and its understanding to be reshaped.

NILAVRONILL: Do you think society as a whole, is the key factor in shaping you up as a poet, or your poetry altogether?
GÜZİN ORALKAN: Sharing poetry with the public and society as a whole has always been one of the biggest joys of my creative career. Sharing and receiving feedback are definitely the key factors in my development as a poet. I want to quote one of Enver Ercan’s poems to answer this:

“I’ll write my poems
If there is eternity, they will get there”

NILAVRONILL: Do you think people in general actually bother about literature in general?  Do you think this consumerist world is turning the average man away from serious literature?

GÜZİN ORALKAN: This is not a problem with only literature, arts in general is suffering from this very issue. In reality, people are not left with much of an option. Capitalism is doing its best to increase productivity through the use of technology and at the same trying to have our attention to market products through various different distractions online. This left us with almost no time to do anything. I think humans first need to break their addiction to digital devices and solve the problems this consumerist world is causing them through this artificially created attention economy. Having said that, I also think poetry and literature could be excellent solutions to solve these problems that the capitalistic system is creating for us humans. 

NILAVRONILL: We would like to know the factors and the peoples who have influenced you immensely in the growing phase of your literary life.

GÜZİN ORALKAN: I think some of my biggest inspirations are Rabindranath Tagore, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Arthur Rimbaud, Charles Baudelaire, Walt Whitman, Mikhail Lermontov and Stendal. I was also deeply moved by Enver Ercan’s poems. In 1990, I have cofounded Aegean Cultural Foundation with one of the most inspirational humans I have ever met, Professor Ekrem Akurgal. I have taken roles in the organizational committee of Izmir Poetry Days and had the opportunity to work alongside some of the most important poets and literary writers of Turkey and beyond.

NILAVRONILL: How would you evaluate your contemporaries and what are your aspirations from the younger generation?
GÜZİN ORALKAN: I think that my contemporaries have done a lot of hard work to advance culture in Turkey. I also find the young generation very promising. My expectations from them is to engage with arts as well as literature and to focus on the classics to understand the history and the literary figures and artists who came before them.

NILAVRONILL: Humanity has suffered immensely in past, is still suffering around the world. We all know it well. But are you hopeful about our future?

GÜZİN ORALKAN: Colonialism and bad governments have definitely hurt humanity and our planet. They have and are still draining the energies of the artists. However, I am still optimistic about the human kind and the future.

NILAVRONILL: What role can literature in general play to bring a better day for every human being? In your own words!

GÜZİN ORALKAN: Literature connects people to life and enriches the lives of readers. As the level of culture goes higher, so does our view of the universe. With sincere wishes to live in peace and universal unity.

GÜZIN ORALKAN was born in Malatya, Turkey. She graduated from Ankara University, Faculty of Pharmacy. She is a founding member and President of Aegean Culture Foundation. She is General Secretary of KIBATEK Association. She is a member of the Association of Language, the Association of Literati, and PEN International. She has served as a member of the Organizing Committee for Izmir Short Story Days for many years. She has been participating in the organizing committees of various national and international art events for a long period of time. Her poems have been published both in domestic and foreign literary magazines, shared books, and anthologies, and have been translated into foreign languages. Some lyrics that she wrote have been composed by famous composers and taken place in TRT (Turkish Radio and Television Corporation) repertoire. TRT's archive series "Music Bundle" CD Volume 1 includes her work. Her collection of poems entitled The Offended Reflection has been published by Yasakmeyve Publishing. Her two collections of poems are ready to be published.

NilavroNill Shoovro: The Indian poet, is the founder editor and publisher of the monthly web journal Our Poetry Archive. His poems have widely been translated in many European languages. He is also an essayist and writes lot of articles on social issues, current affairs and literature.

1 comment :

  1. Very interesting interview to read ! Thanks for sharing it here!