Gökçenur Ç.

- Turkey -

Gökçenur Ç. is a poet, translator, editor and poetry activist based in Istanbul.


As poet

He has seven poetry books in Turkish, with his first book he’s got Arkadaş Z. Özger Best Debut Poetry Book Prize and with his latest book he’s got Sabahattin Kudret Aksal Literature Prize and Metin Altıok Poetry Prize.


As editor

He is the co-editor of the Turkish domain in Poetry International portal and is on the editorial board of Macedonian-based international literary magazine Blesok. He also edited many of literature magazines, poetry and poetry in translation books.


As translator

He has translated and published selected poetry books of Wallace Stevens, Paul Auster, Ursula Le Guin and many other world poets into Turkish. He is a member of Cunda International Workshop for Translators of Turkish Literature (CIWTTL). In CIWTTL he took part in translations of great Turkish poets into English.


As poetry activist

He has participated and/or organized poetry translation workshops and festivals in many countries. He is the curator and co-director of Word Express; co-director of international poetry festivals Offline Istanbul, Mosaic of Metaphors Gaziantep, and Turkish American Poetry Days; and board member of Nilüfer International Poetry Festival, Crete International Poetry Festival and Kritya International Poetry Movement.

A rising star among his generation of Turkish poets for the past two decades, Gökçenur Ç. has amassed a body of work the breadth, depth and pure originality of which will undoubtedly ensure his position as a major figure in a field blessed with a surplus of creative energy and fecundity provided by recent poetic movements and by a previous generation of outstanding individual poets. To a greater or lesser degree his work owes its brilliant inventiveness to these agents of change who underwrote the relatively recent revolution in Turkey’s long and illustrious poetic tradition. Yet at the same time it subtly bespeaks the erudition of the poet and the debt his verse owes to the poets and poetries of all times, places and cultures.


Gökçenur Ç. and some of his peers in the Turkish poetic vanguard seem effortlessly able to infuse their poetry with the essential spirit of the tradition that they are heir to even as they hone it to a cutting edge as keen and stylistically current as any found elsewhere in the world — or, in some ways, even more so. For, regardless of differences in form and content, the poetic styles adopted by Gökçenur Ç. and other poets in his generation commonly effect a fusion of, or an interplay with, customs and values that are deeply traditional on the one hand and beguilingly unorthodox on the other, in volatile compounds that reflect the radical social, historical and linguistic changes wrought upon their culture during the century preceding this one.


In sum, to me the poetry of Gökçenur Ç. expresses the response of a creatively gifted mind to the disparate forces pressing upon it as it attempts to reconcile the angels and demons at play (or at war) in a crucible of contradictions that reflects daily life in contemporary Turkish society and, to a significant degree, in today’s crisis-ridden world at large. In doing so he creates and recreates scenarios in his work that mirror the conflicts arising each day as necessary constituents of all human life. As with any true artist, the work of this important Turkish poet, who is now reaching the peak of his creative powers, is enlivened by wit and graced with a deeply perceptive and compassionate understanding of the vital forces in human life and nature that endow all poetry, and all art, with their essential, inestimable value.


By Mel Kenne