Tag Archives: social media

Toward a book project, “letter-poems to the beloved” – Week One

Good Sunday, dear reader!

You know my predicament: I am passionate about writing but I also love teaching. Beyond loving my decades-long professional commitment, I am having to allocate most of my time to its demands. The new semester is coming to a fast end but in an immensely time-consuming manner. I find it more and more difficult in this final month to reserve their deserved time aside for my Sunday reflections – to do any qualitative research on some issues of larger interest to us all, that is. I hope you won’t mind terribly, if I were to share with you one of my new poems for the end of each of the next few weeks. What I would very much appreciate from you is, any few minutes you may be able to set aside to comment on each poetic construct. If that were to be too much to ask, then, perhaps you would be willing to suggest a title for a larger writing project I have in mind in which to collect all these poems. In case you have an active account on facebook, some of them will appear familiar to you, as I have posted them on my page and/or timeline on that platform. What I have conceived so far for the project in question is in line with my core existential determinant – as I articulated it in my debut book:

“Love and melancholy. Two traits that defined me throughout my life thus far. Not very different from Oğuz Ozdeş’ Hülya – the young woman whose tragic love captivated my mother to the extent that she adopted her name for me. As I have said before, I have a commitment to love. When it comes to melancholy, I am considering a healing interaction with it – an initiative I have already prompted with my poems for Trance. I do intend to accomplish a continued healing, though. To begin to achieve such endeavor, I may have to write a different ending to Hülya but to hülya as well. And, I believe I will (from: Preface, Trance, a collection of poems in English, German and Turkish).”

I very much look forward to your comment and your next visit. May the rest of your day and new week be filled with joyous events and interactions.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

do you think back

to remember it all

how i lain on the mossy ground

blanketed myself with your scent

the quiet creek of our first encounter

encircling the rays of an afternoon sun

how it slowed its path to honor our euphoric reunion

to watch us flow into one another – learned and approved…

wind and air however envied pulled their forces together

thus came an end in a lightning – fiercely brash

 

my graceful i kept at bay its dire hope to let you float

what ifs of our dread are adamant in haunting me yet

would i have now been immersed by you instead

had i not defied the boulder at the barricade…

 

i was meant to love you

and i still do

 

© hülya n yılmaz – March 14, 2014

 

POSTED.image for meant to love you

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Social media and human connections

In March, several facebook friends and myself have created an event – in a Turkish tradition (I was the only representative of Turkey, so to speak): Aşıklar Bayramı, a.k.a. Aşıklar Atışması.

 

asik_veysel_by_metalfaust copy

 

Aşıklar is the plural of “aşık” to which the Turkish language lends two meanings: lover and the one who is in love with a married person. In the context of the tradition I mention here, however, the word identifies a “minstrel.” It is all about composing poetry (in any format) on cue but to accompany it with a musical creation, also on cue, and by the contestant poets, at that (in Turkey, they have to know how to play “saz” – one of the most popular Turkish folk music instruments).

Hmm. Trouble, right? How on earth can a group of non-Turkish innocent bystanders (!) collaborate – online of all the places – to recreate the Minstrels’ Festival or Minstrels’ Cross-Talk of Turkey, not knowing how to play “saz” (myself included)? Well, we have improvised, of course, and thanks to the most delightful participants’ generosity as far as giving their time and attention, the event was quite an accomplishment. All participants and hosts enjoyed the outcome so much that I want to share with you what we have done. Amid the hustle and bustle we all have to do day in and day out, maybe this unusually pleasant memory of ours will also give you a reason to take a fresh breath of air for a change. Especially, if you picture yourselves in a land of sunshine, in a large hall filled with much laughter from all ages because of much good-willed teasing that goes on before each competition. Imagine then poets taking you into their imagined realities wrapping them up in colorful musical compositions – all unrehearsed. Perhaps, the way we all should be living life at least on one occasion or two…

At the time of our facebook event, we provided our guests with some background information on this tradition that for centuries has enriched life in Anatolia, taking place in different regions of today’s Turkey. I will give you the same insights here, including the legendary folk song by Aşık Veysel Şatıroğlu (1894-1973) – the icon of the Turkish Aşık Minstrel Poetry tradition:

 

 

When we come forward several decades to a contemporary Turkish society, we mostly observe, as in the video below, the traditional “only men” gathering. The first “Aşık” – with the respectful selection (a required step) of his co-poets – begins composing his couplets on the spot. He happens to select a rather sore topic in cheerful and loving words and mannerism (also required): balding. Please help yourselves with the video for a few seconds to participate in the uplifting mood of the minstrels but also of the audience members. Smiles all around! (Who needs to understand the language of the program?)

 

 

The following live coverage presents a new tradition in Turkey, an initiative by women who either self-taught to play the “Saz” – a necessity, or learned it from the masters to now voice their views on life matters.  A few seconds (or more) of a fun experience on an untraveled path, where one woman sings and plays the required instrument in competition with her male counterparts! (Once again: no need to understand the language of focus. The feel is real and there to breathe in, isn’t it?)

 

 

Mixed with interviews, the video program below, then, gives a deeper insight into the transformation of the same ancient folk poetry tradition in the hands of Turkey’s female minstrels. (To a peaceful union between the genders – poets and non-poets alike!)

 

 

What did we do on facebook at the time of our event to unite several people from various parts of the world? We asked them to spontaneously compose poetry after listening to a melodic prompt of our impromptu posting – for which we used ethnic traditional music. Whoever posted his/her couplet first, had the lead, which meant for the next poet to harmonize with the poetic mood, symbolism, diction, etc. of the preceding poetic lines – just like in the Aşık tradition. Then, the next poet would honor the same established poetic composition, add to it his/her couplet, and so on. Some comments about this experience included “fun, yummy,  delicious, lovely, inspiring.”

The final product comes to you as it was created on cue, in its unedited, unrevised version. The music prompt came from an African Music Compilation and the couplets were created in the following order (only the font style and size were modified and capitalization was added for the uniform external appearance):

 

Raindrops falling on drum tops.

When I dance to it my sadness stops.

The heartbeat of each creature is

The music of nature…

As if let loose from shackles my spirit filled with joy

When the beating of the drum reach my eardrum

I- wind rushing

Breathe- soul brushing

With- consuming fires

Desire- fingerless lyres

Like a waterfall?

Body turns into fountain sweat drops

Quenching the heat of passion

Moving for all time

Marking out rhythms and rhymes

Unconscious of ebbs and flows

Here doing only what it knows.

A canvas of fire I see

A sky burning for me

A singe atop of my skin

A grace thermal within

The sun shines brightly through the rain.

Traditionally, a hyena is born in Spain

The scorching sun blowing the breeze of comfort

Was told a lion just take to bed just in Spain without pain

 

One of our dear hosts, Kolade Olanrewaju Freedom, an accomplished poet and the author of The Light Bearer also composed verses (his impeccable talent should not be overlooked here – although, as he said during our event, “I did write something, being a host forbids…”). With his couplet, dearest Kolade embraced everyone’s work with his own right at the end, when parting started feeling rather cold:

 

The sun buries its head

As sleep lures me to bed

Hearing the sounds of a gong

A rhythmic melodious song….

 

My inspiration to conceive such an event was my utterly close familiarization with the humanist teachings of Rumi through my academic studies that now span over multiple decades.

 

Rumi

 

The call this Anatolian Sufi poet makes to humanity in his following stanza seems timeless to me, especially in our century when the storms of divisiveness keep causing complete destructions. Rumi invites all to unite instead:

Come, come again, whoever you are, come!

Heathen, fire worshipper or idolatrous, come!

Come even if you broke your penitence a hundred times,

Ours is the portal of hope, come as you are.

(As quoted in Turkey: A Primary Source Cultural Guide, 2004 by Martha Kneib)

 

Rumi’s philosophy of peace and love in the front of my mind, as always, the words by the Russian-American linguist and literary theorist, Roman Jakobson (1896-1982), then, had appealed to me as a most befitting framework:

“In poetic language, in which the sign as such takes an autonomous value, this sound symbolism becomes an actual factor and creates a sort of accompaniment to the signified.”

My guided interest had been taking me over and over to the key words present in the Jakobson statement: “the sign, sound symbolism” and “accompaniment to the signified” – of course, with me interpreting them in the way I needed and wanted to shape them. And then, another dear facebook friend presented us right before our event had begun – without knowing – the most critical sign I had been looking for. If a poeto-musical event could bring together people who don’t know each other outside a social media platform we all tend to assess as being fully impersonal, imagine what human interaction can take place, were such efforts to be multiplying all over the world…

 

for my March 16 2014 FB event.Les Bush Poet

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Whether through music, poetry or any other joyous aspect of life’s gifts, may you always connect to and harmonize with an unknown soul despite our learned or too often forced disparate realms. May you on this Sunday and on many more days to come ‘cuddle’ with any and all differences that only on the surface separate us from one another.

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Would you mind telling me, …

blogging

(Continued from the title) …why you blog?   I so want to hear from you as far as your beginnings with blogging but also why you continued and still continue.

For some, blogging may mean an additional income, even the only income: blog-the-blog-walk-the-walk-talk-the-talk

Not for me (the general advise is for me to hold on to my day job…).

For others, blogging may be the source where they can express their skepticism, even sarcasm:

Blogging1-1024x768

Not for me (as you all know it by now…)

Why do I blog?

When little, I was a talker.  To the point that years later, my maternal uncle didn’t stop likening my speech speed to a “Kalashnikov” (he is not an arm-carrying, nor gun-supporting person but merely noticed the resemblance as far as fast moving capacity…).  As for my late years, I am known to listen much more (I realized too many others around me had and continue to have much more meaningful things to say).  Writing, I suspect, replaced my eagerness to talk.   As for the meaning of talking, it never left my side: a concrete means to communicate, to converse (although, it is mostly a one-sided dialog what we do).   I blog because I very much enjoy the feeling of connecting with you on any topic.  I love to connect with you.  Period.  The communication culture of my place of birth is one of passionate contact; talking with hands and feet, mimics and gestures galore, hugging and kissing.  While writing a blog lacks those special flavors of human-to-human interaction, it surely is the only possible way for me to make believe all of you are here, actively present, and foremost: listening to me with a mimic, gesture, or a hug, waiting to come my way.  Just like story-telling times probably all of us have shared as a life experience at least once.   We unite.  We communicate.  We converse.  So, I am eager to support the following claim regards blogging: Blogging_quote

An integral question I ask myself non-stop is how to make such conversations worth having on the blogging table.  And for this joint exploration, I reach out to you today.

I began by inviting you to share your thoughts on why you blog.  I am ending with its twin question because I wonder what your deliberations on it are and whether you would like to have a conversation with me on this two-fold question…

Wishing you, as always, a wonderful week and looking forward to your visit on next Sunday.  May you have wonder-filled days in-between.

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Privacy Settings

“One hour and ten minutes,” the young man says.  Huge round eyes.  He doesn’t need those long, curled-up eyelashes, I decide, with the attitude of myself about forty years ago.  This time keeping to myself what my best friend (of my childhood and early youth) and I back then protested out loud at every sight of her brother – the owner of a set of huge round eyes: long, curled-up eyelashes included.  Each time, we concluded that no man needed eye enhancers; we, however, did – and in desperation, at that.  We were in big envy for any and all of our male counterparts in those insecure years of our lives.  They just must have cut in front of the line when such beauty marks were distributed, we deliberated after such encounters.  Eyes, after all, meant everything in my home culture.    The history with volumes of literary and musical work attests to that.

One hour and ten minutes, I realize, is a long time just to be waitingMy friend (of this and any upcoming age) isn’t here yet and I don’t know if she would want to try elsewhere.  So, I squeeze myself through a shoulder-to-shoulder as well as elbow-to-upper/lower-back lobby crowd all the way into a one-and-a-half-person corner close to the entrance, somewhere between the exit-to-patio door and the line to the bar area.  If she thinks we should not wait here, we can leave with ease.

She likes it here as much as I do: We are staying.  Along with the non-wavering wait-time estimation.  We comment a little about what on earth could be going on – again –to have such a big crowd in line.  Our complaint is short-lived.  Soon, we get lost in our mother tongue with all its unwritten requirements for hands and face gestures.  Until a soft voiced question cuts it: “I’m sorry but what is the language you are speaking?”

Oh no!  Intrusion!  If this situation had risen on any of my friend’s social media accounts or those of mine, … .

Had we been talking with that much of an increased volume in our voices, my friend’s questioning eyes meet mine.  We had only been trying to outdo all other vocal power structures around us.  With a shaking twitter, I ask, if our conversation had been too loud for them.  The answer of this very good looking, young couple – yes, they talk together all at once – is negative.  They were only curious, is the word.  Now, my friend and I, too, succumb to curiosity.  Not about the English they are speaking in flawless mastery.  About them.  They started it after all!  Also: They don’t turn their backs at us as soon as they find out the language of communication between countless generations before us in our home country.

An inquisitive female – one of the two core components of a delightful pair.  He, not as talkative in words as she but sharing with us in generosity an equally warm and charming personality, while being openly as eager to interact with strangers who speak strange languages.  Neither one of them being nosy, pushy, or obnoxious but graceful in their apparent enthusiasm.  Turkish, French, Greek, Swedish, Mandarin, Vietnamese and Italian are the languages, and Turkey, Greece, Italy and China, the countries we visit together on a virtual tour.

Our seats are ready exactly one hour and five minutes later.  The young man with those remarkable eyes wasn’t exaggerating after all, for the sake of a surprise intended only for my friend and I.  By having our table be made ready for us sooner.  (When a woman has matured, finally to keep up with her biological age at least on occasion, she allows herself the luxury of self-tease even in a basic restaurant setting.  It is a far more wondrous of an experience when a dear friend meets her on that very same platform at the very same time.  The laughter that ensues such non-decodable secrecy is pure happiness.)

Stomach-hungry but with even hungrier eyes, we earn the privilege to be seated down.  Our eyes are searching for other diners being led into the dining quarters.  None of them resemble any of the two core halves of the couple we had the joy to meet and talk with for an entire hour (the five minutes had passed in our lonely one-and-half-person corner).  Throughout our wine, salad and dinner routine, we sum up with thirst the highlight of our long wait’s award.  We agree that this time it isn’t the food or wine of our usual selections.  As we have had many times before.  That it rather is the intrusion we welcomed two strangers to make into our private spheres.  For, through their refreshing presence of innocent and passionate curiosity, they gave us a sense of rejuvenation.

After that evening, I decide to alter my rather rigid privacy settings I had for long copied from my social media environments, having pasted them on to my real life time and again.  I since realize how much more wonder there is to enjoy in the seemingly most mundane interactions with strangers – people we tend to leave outside our comfort zone at any chance we get.  How, though, a kind word of attention, a question of curiosity, a reaction of astonishment from them can transform itself into a memorable moment as it has with me.  And to what significance that moment matters on the scale of life.  It is, after all, not merely breathed in and out but rather lived in the full extent that it deserves.

 

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