Tuğçe Tekhanlı

- Cyprus -

Tuğçe Tekhanlı was born in 1990 in Nicosia, Cyprus. She is an award-winning poet, translator and dancer. She writes in Turkish and English. She earned her BA (Translation and Interpreting) from  Hacettepe University. She has just completed an MA in Creative Writing at Dublin City University in Ireland and received first-class honours. She was funded by EU Scholarship Programme for her studies there. After living in Ireland for more than a year, she is now based in Cyprus. She is the recipient of Bicommunal Poetry Prize 2016 in Cyprus. As a result of this award, her first poetry book “Derindim İnandırıldım Aksine” (I Was Deep, But I Was Convinced Otherwise, 2016) was published in dual-language format (Greek – Turkish) by the Union of Cyprus Writers. Her first collection also won another award from Şiirden Publishing House in Turkey and the collection was republished. 

Her poems and translations were featured in many international literary magazines and anthologies. Her poems were translated into various languages; Spanish, English, German, Czech, Greek, Romanian, Italian and Persian. She participated in many international poetry festivals and art projects. Recently, she has been featured in Abridged, Cyphers, Skylight47, seashores, The Stag Hill Journal and the Seventh Quarry in Ireland/the U.K. Recently, her English chapbook entry has been highly commended by Munster Literature Center in Ireland. She has read her poetry with Earth Spells Poetry Group at Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter, England in April 2023. Her second collection in Turkish is going to be published in 2023. She is also working on a first collection in English. She is studying Modern Dance at ARUCAD University. She likes adopting a multidisciplinary approach in art. She believes that there are a lot of elements that they share or so many spaces where they intersect and flourish each other.



Tekhanlı, T. (2016).  – Ποιήματα/Şiirler (Derindim İnandırıIdım Aksine/I Was Deep and Made to Believe Otherwise) Poetry Collection. St. Livadiotis Publishing House. Nicosia, Cyprus.

Tekhanlı T. (2018).   –  Derindim İnandırıIdım Aksine (I Was Deep, But I Was Convinced Otherwise) Poetry Collection. Şiirden Publishing House. İstanbul, Turkey.



In 2016, she was awarded the ‘Bi-communal (Turkish Cypriot-Greek Cypriot) Poetry Prize for Young Poets’ with the poetry portfolio titled ‘Derindim İnandırıldım Aksine’. The bilingual book (Turkish-Greek) including her portfolio and Andreas Timotheou’s portfolio was published in the same year under the general title ‘Ποιήματα/ Şiirler’ by the Cyprus Writers Union.

In 2017, she received ‘Şiirden First Book Prize’ which was awarded  by Şiirden Publishing in Turkey.

In 2020,  her poetry was considered remarkable  for ‘International Poetry Prize Europa in Versi’, Italy.

In 2022, her poetry was shortlisted for Poems for Patience 2022 which is run in association with Cuirt International Festival of Literature in Ireland.

In 2023, her English chapbook entry was highly commended by Munster Literature Center in Ireland.                                                                                         



In 2023, her poems were featured in the Zen of Ecopoetics Anthology (Stag Hill Literary Journal) in England, UK.

In 2021, her poems appeared in the bi-communal ‘New Cypriot Poets Anthology’ (Armida Publications, Republic of Cyprus).

In 2020, with her poems and translations she contributed to the anthology which was published in Spain and Cyprus with the name of ‘POESIA SIN FRONTERAS V  (SINIRSIZ ŞİİRLER V)’.

In 2019, her poems appeared in the anthology titled ‘Cyprus Poetry from Generation to Generation’ (Prepared by:Tamer Öncül, Maria Siakalli/Published by: Baranga Publications in Cyprus)

In 2018,  The Publishing House Vakxikon in Athens (Greece) included Tugce Tekhanlı’s poems in the ‘Anthology of Young Cypriot Poets’.

In 2018, her poems were included in the ‘Anthology of Love Poems’ (Aşk Şiirleri Antolojisi) which was published by Cyprus Artists and Writers Union.



She has participated in the following art projects recently:­­­­­­

2023: Creating and presenting new work (poetry) inspired by ecology and feminism within the framework of ‘Earth Spells: Witches of the Anthropocene’ Exhibition at Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery in Exeter, England.

2022: ‘The Zen of Ecopoetics’ project which was guest edited by Enaiê Mairê Azambuja, is the product of a 10-week online course in the summer of 2022. Poets from all over the work took part, engaging with the history and the principles of Zen Buddhism and its dissemination from the East to the West, particularly in the context of the effervescent poetry scene of Modernist America.

2019: ‘Excavating Contemporary Archaeology’ is an EU Project that involves history and deals with how contemporary artists use archaeology in their way of working, thinking, producing and sharing experiences and knowledge. For this bi-communal project she took part in a video art as a Turkish Cypriot poet with Greek Cypriot novelist Sofronis Sofroniou and the video art was displayed in France, Denmark, Belgium and Cyprus.

2018: Art Project No.1 +39 : A distinctive interdisciplinary art exhibition by Sol.  The artists transformed a historic Armenian building into a unique experience.

This exhibition was a collaboration of various artists from Cyprus, France, Persia and the United Kingdom. These artists have created their works of art through their own personal interpretation and understanding of this building. They have focused on their individual feelings and impressions and they created their works of art in their own time and place.

This exhibition included artistic installations, paintings, photographs, poetry, a performance and a cinematic installation.



Versopolis- Panselinos in Cyprus (2022)

Dublin Haiku Slam Contest during the Experience Japan Hanami Festival (2022)

1st Şiirden International İstanbul Poetry Festivali (2019)

37th International İstanbul Book Fair (2018)

Fikret Demirağ International Poetry Festival (2018, 2019, 2020, 2022)

2nd International Festival for Young Poets by Ideogramma (2016)



Recent contributions to the intangible cultural heritage

2022 Poetry Reading for the Vox Galvia at Charlie Byrne's Bookshop, Galway, Ireland

2022 Poetry Reading at Dublin Haiku Slam Contest during the Experience Japan Hanami Festival, Ireland

2021-2022 Poetry Reading at Sunflower Sessions in Dublin

2021-22 Poetry Reading at Who Let the Books Out Events in Dublin

2022 The Climate of Change Online Poetry Reading with the poet Cath Drake & The Verandah

2021 Online  Poetry Marathon, World Poetry Day, Maratón poético Templo de papel por el día mundial de poesia, by Revista Kametsa Magazine,  Peru.

2021   Online Poetry Marathon, World Poetry Day  by Cyprus Artists and Writers Union, Cyprus.

2019 Representative of Turkish Cypriot poetry –Poetry Recital at Barış Manço Cultural Center, İstanbul, Turkey.

2019 Poetry Recital, International Women’s Day in Fulbright Hall, Nicosia, Cyprus.

2019 ‘Poetry for a World without Wall’, Poetry  Recital at the Bandabuliya Stage by Cyprus Artists and Writers Union, Nicosia, Cyprus.

2019 Poetry Recital in Nicosia, Goethe Institute, Cyprus.



2021 Panelist – Günümüz Şiiri ve Şiirin Geleceği, (Contemporary Poetry and the Future of Poetry) Online Panel Discussion by Cyprus Artists and Writers Union, World Poetry Day, Cyprus.

2018 Panelist – Çeviri Yoluyla Komşuyu Tanımak (Getting to Know Your Neighbour Through Translation), Panel Discussion by  Writers Syndicate of Turkey and  Cyprus Artists and Writers Union, Turkey.

Analysis of poems of Turkish-Cypriot poetess Tuğçe Tekhanlı in the context of world literature


Poems / Ποιήματα, together with the entry submitted by the young Greek-Cypriot poet, Andreas Timotheou.

In 2017, she won the First Poetry Book Award, organized by Şiirden Publishing in Turkey, with her book 'Derindim İnandırıldım Aksine'. As a result of this award, a second edition of the book was published a year later, again in Turkey, under the same imprint. Bülent Fevzioğlu made the following assessment in his review of Tuğçe Tekhanlı's first book:

Tuğçe Tekhanlı has the mature language of distilled competence with a strong phrasing. It can be said that she is the creator ofa product which is not frequently seen in our first poetry books and has already surpassed apprenticeship and semiskilledness. The richness and intellectual dimension in her lines is a great achievement for Turkish-Cypriot Poetry (Fevzioğlu, 2019: 613).

Tuğçe Tekhanlı's poems were included in the Cypriot Young Poets Anthology published by Vakxikon Publishing House in Greece in 2018, and again by Armida Publishing in Cyprus in 2021. In 2020, she translated a series of poems of Spanish authors from English to Turkish for the anthology titled Poesia Sin Fronteras V/Limitless Poetry V, published in Spain, andcontributed some of her own poems. In the same year, Tekhanlı's poems were also published in the multilingual anthologyGolden Words Multilingual Poetry Anthology, published in India.

In the first selections of the Europa in Versi International Poetry Award, held in Italy in 2020, Tekhanlı's poems were deemed remarkable entries for the ‘Young Poets’ category. Tekhanlı has participated in various other international poetry festivals andart projects, including: Ideogramma Young Poets Festival, Nicosia, Cyprus (2016); Fikret Demirağ International Poetry Festival, Lefke, Cyprus (2018, 2019, 2020); 1st Şiirden International Istanbul Poetry Festival, Istanbul, Turkey (2019); and the 37thInternational Istanbul Book Fair, Istanbul, Turkey (2018). In addition to poetry, Tekhanlı also has an interest in dance and theatre, and seeks ways to combine poetry and dance with a multidisciplinary understanding of art.

In light of the above, Tekhanlı has undoubtedly achieved important successes in the field of poetry, both in and outside of Cyprus, despite her young age. Because of the poetry festivals and book fairs she has participated in, besides her various contributions to poetry anthologies, Tekhanlı has started to make a name for herself in literary circles outside of Cyprus.


The general characteristics of Tuğçe Tekhanlı's poems

The poems in Tuğçe Tekhanlı's first book are mostly short poems consisting of just a few lines each. Doğan Fuat made the following assessment, writing: “It is plain and deep, original and surprising, short but intense, easy yet thought-provoking (Fuat, 2018: 71)”. In terms of the poems’ content, the poet turns her attention to nature on the one hand, and to the inner worldof the individual on the other. Such a structure inevitably leads to comparisons with haiku. The poems frequently position men and women in dialogue with one another, the female subject referring to the imaginary masculine addressee in the second person - as “you”. The natural world supplies the indispensable decor of each poem, and the female subject identifies with itsobjects – animate or inanimate - often transforming into them. The collection seems altogether an effort to catch a discourse that "neither bypasses nor easily discloses". Consider the following excerpt:


Consider me a bird do not kiss me here

carry me to the forest consider me a bird

foraging your beard

(Tekhanlı, 2018: 9) [Translated by Tuğçe Tekhanlı]


Here, Tekhanlı creates an imaginary universe that passes from the concrete to abstract. The markedness and clarity becomesmore and more vague in the mind of the reader. Tekhanlı's aesthetic competence is well suited to conveying the pleasures of fiction. In this respect, it offers the reader the opportunity to escape from external reality- an experience of the infinite simplifications of fiction to the fullest extent. Tekhanlı is well-aware of the magical power words can have in transforming time from linearity to circularity.

If we go back to the poem above, it is not unlikely that the male lover - the poem’s addressee - functions as a Lacanian symbolic object. The poem’s female subject, as if to illustrate Lacan's concept of desire (Lacan, 2013: 57-87), instinctively expresses thewish to make up for a deficiency, and to reach integrity in other words, to possess the other in order to compensate for a lack in herself. The female subject, who is by and large submissive to the male other, is in need of him, to resort to ironic word games. By creating such an atmosphere, Tekhanlırelieves women from their dependence on men. Her poems in this collection reduce the male to an instrumental - so-called - entity that plays with words and their meanings.

On one hand, the economy of Tekhanlı’s language saves her poetry from falling into the trap of excessive lyricism; on the other, inthe context of its other features, it makes one feel the presence of a strong, self- possessed female subject, aware and in control. That is to say, Tekhanlı is able to manifest ‘the unique artificial language of the poetry’ which Bakhtin defines as “directly intentional”, or “unitary” and “singular” (Bakhtin, 1994: 287). Again, it should be emphasised that Tekhanlı has succeeded increating her own feminine force on the fictional plane by creating such a discourse.

The female subject in the poem ‘Secret’ creates a sad atmosphere while implying love and eroticism on the surface. But it immediately points to vague fears:



What do I have more than kissing you

and longer than hiding your fears now?

(Tekhanlı 2018: 19) [Translated by Tuğçe Tekhanlı]


Note that the word ‘secret’, which gives the poem its name, undoubtedly contributes to the poem’s mysterious atmosphere. Here, we find the poem’s fictional subject expressing her love for an unknown man. With the act of kissing, she expresses sexualdesire as well as love. The phrase "to hide" in the poem allows for several readings, and again, intimates sexuality. However, byexpressing her "fears", she turns traditional and patriarchal social perceptions upside down – the one who is afraid here is not thefemale subject but the anonymous male addressee; contrary to traditional expectations, it is the woman who has the power to protect in these poems. Features such as these are a frequent in Tekhanlı poems. She depicts love and eroticism, with a controlled lyricism and a strong aestheticism, but at the same time, ironically reconstructs the image of woman, purging her of the inferiority attributed by patriarchal society.


The postcolonial analysis of poems

Cyprus became a British protectorate in 1878 following an agreement between the British and the Ottomans, and was ruled by the British with this status until 1914. In 1915, after the Ottomans had entered World War I as allies of Germany, the British unilaterally annexed the island. Cyprus then became a British colony in 1925 and was governed as such until 1960. During this period, various important social, economic and political developments took place: crucially, the islanders were confronted with a new value system imposed by their Western colonizers. The Greeks welcomed the arrival of the British with the expectationthat Cyprus would be handed over to Greece. Stranded Turks, on the other hand, continued to feel the pain of isolation fromtheir homeland (Kemal, 2020: 37).

During this colonial period, Turkish and Greek Cypriots were everywhere confronted with the superiority of their British colonizers through new practices in both administration and education. Efforts were made to suppress resistance movements against British rule, and the island witnessed a number of bloody conflicts over the Greek-Cypriots' demand for ‘Enosis’ – political union with Greece. Greek Cypriots were the first to engage in armed struggle against the British colonialist. Later, armed conflicts broke out between the Turkish and Greek Cypriots themselves. While all these developments were taking place, the British benefited from the conflict, implementing the famous "divide and rule" principle in order to prevent the Turkish and Greek communities from uniting against them (Kemal, 2020: 39-40). Intense disagreements between the two communitiescontinued for some time, until The Republic of Cyprus, founded in 1960, united both communities under a forced administration. Soon, however, the inter-communal conflicts seen in previous years broke out again: the island was divided intwo with the military intervention of Turkey in 1974 on behalf of the Turkish-Cypriots, one of the three guarantor countriesalong with Britain and Greece, according to the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee (Nunziata, 2020: 6). Today, Turkish-Cypriots live in the north of the island and Greeks live in the south. Efforts to find a permanent political solution to the Cyprus problem continueby means of negotiations held by the United Nations. A permanent solution has not yet been reached.

As a consequence of the political and social developments summarized above, Cyprus shares many of the characteristics of countries today described as post-colonial. It was ruled by Britain, first of all - a European colonial power – and it was subject to armed conflict, with clashes taking place both against the British and between the Turkish and the Greeks. Greek-Cypriotsadopted Greek nationalism, Turkish-Cypriots adopted Turkish nationalism, with each establishing their national identities bymarginalizing each other. Both ethnic cleansing and forced migrations have taken place in Cyprus, and politically the islandremains divided into two. Today, Turkish-Cypriots and Greek Cypriots pass through barricades under the control of security forces in order to travel from either side of the island. All of these points make the island's colonial and postcolonial title valid. Moreover, when Britain withdrew from the island in 1960, it maintained the right to establish military bases in two regions -Dhekelia and Acrotur. This situation allows the colonial power to maintain a significant presence on the island. Undoubtedly,therefore, evaluating the poetry of the Cypriot poet Tuğçe Tekhanlı in the light of post-colonial theory can give researchers important clues as to what effect of the Cypriot social and political structure has on its literature.



Tuğçe Tekhanlı stated in an interview that “Poetry is a way for me to come to terms with the world we are exposed to and sometimes to establish a new world (Şiirden, 2017: 72).” In this context, the poem named "Hermaphrodite", cited below,reflects – directly and indirectly – the effects that life on the post- colonial island of Cyprus - where the poet was born, raised,and is still living – have on her imaginary world. First of all, the name of the poem refers, of course, to the Ancient Greek goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite, a symbol of the island. Aphrodite was referred to as ‘Cyprian’ by Homer, because of the temple dedicated to her in Paphos (Britannica, 2021). But ‘Hermaphrodite’ is a deliberate amalgam of two names: the other refers to another Ancient Greek mythological hero, Hermaphroditus, who inhabits a body comprised of both male and female characteristics, the beautiful son of Aphrodite andHermes. According to the tradition, a nymph who fell in love with Hermaphroditus wished they would never part – and thus,two bodies evolved into one, half male and half female (Britannica, 2021).

We ought to question why the poet fuses these two mythological figures in to one – both of whom are clearly identified with Cyprus. Tekhanlı may have wanted to remind us of the various intermingling tribes that have invaded and exploited Cyprus throughout the course of history. Cypriots have long identified with the myth of Aphrodite in so far as she is a passive female figure, to be desired and possessed by others. In this context, Tekhanlı may have chosen ‘Hermaphrodite’ as a means to changethat traditional, patriarchal image of the island.



to my mother and grandmother


I can drift away, I said

I can drift away from this tiny island my navel adorned with aring now

is not my first scar

-navel cord-


Indeed, the myth of Hermaphroditus, which brings men and women together in one body, is a ready symbol of gender equality.As such, the title of this poem alone constitutes something of an introduction to post-feminist-colonial readings. From the expression the poem’s heading, we see that the poem has been dedicated to Tekhanlı’s mother and grandmother. Such an emphasis further indicates a feminist approach. Recalling that Aphrodite is also a symbol of fertility, it should be clear that Hermaphrodite aims to discuss femininity, and female fertility, on a wide scale, extending from the mythological to the earthly plane. The poem invokes three women linked by a single hereditary cord: the mother who gave birth to the daughter - who narrates the poem - and the grandmother who gave birth to the mother. Thus, the reader is taken on a journey towards thepoem’s starting point.

The place where the stories of these three separate generations intersect is Cyprus - 'this little island'. As the navel is at the centre of the human body, so Cyprus is the centre of the narrator’s world. In the first part of the poem, the suggests a departurefrom Cyprus, where she opened her eyes to the world; at the same time, she expresses the tension she experiences at the prospect of ever leaving – the figure of the ring recalling the bonds of marriage. She then mentions that she is injured through a chain that includes the belly, the ring and the umbilical cord.

In the second half of the poem, quoted below, the source of the poet's bodily and spiritual wound is revealed, which Tekhanlıexpresses through the metaphor of the 'umbilical cord'. The narrator describes the turning point of her mother's life story: the decisive turning point is the advent of war, and with it, the harsh realities of colonialism. War, in other words, displaces her, andthe poem depicts a traditional housewife having to flee from her home, leaving behind everything she has - before eventasting the  pasta she had just cooked. This is how her mother stepped into homelessness; the narrator has, at this point, not yet been born, but her mother’s pain is nonetheless transferred to her.


when the war broke out

you gave me one end of going away

with the last plate of pasta you left on the table, mum

before I was born -three kilos five hundred grams-


In the third section below, the narrator returns to the subject of migration. Note her comparison to a flamenco dancer, and how the house is replaced by a cave; we talked about Tekhanlı's interest in dance in the biography section. Undoubtedly, she isrecalling her passion for dance here. But a crucial point of note in this section is the theme of belonging, and its connection with one’s material belongings. The poem centres on the narrator’s mother and her sudden transition to the life of a refugee - on thephenomenon of leaving all one’s material possessions behind, and with them, all of their usual consolations. As such, the poem makes reference to the tragic human experiences that emerged as a result of the displacements and forced migrations of the warin Cyprus.


if I migrate,

I raise my arms in V-shape

and dance flamenco in a gypsy cave I dig what belongs to me

and bury what doesn’t belong to me, passionately


In the fourth part of the poem, the concept of migration is returned to once again. The narrator dreams of climbing the Venetian Walls surrounding (former) Nicosia, and likens them to the fairy-tale tower that imprisoned Rapunzel. Referring to the fact that Nicosia is a city divided in two, she laments the difficulty of reaching the other half, Southern Nicosia. Afterwards, she dreams that she is a dervish, ‘dancing around herself’, and thus crossing physical, political – and even metaphysical - boundaries,passing to another universe, or to other dimensions. Thus, she can move freely, and access the other half of the divided capital city otherwise denied to her. In the last line of the passage, besides the image of a dervish, skirts waving in the air, she lands on the image of the root – ‘my roots’. The root, in this sense, is a concept common across all post-colonial literatures. Consider thequotation below, where Hermaphrodite’s narrator implies that her roots are on the South side of Cyprus.


if I don’t migrate,

I climb the Venetian walls blowsily

as Rapunzel hid her hair I cannot get into you,


if I migrate

I spin around myself sharply,

with my arms closed to keep my balance

I lift my skirt and show my roots


In the fifth section of the poem, below, the narrator moves on to the Spanish city of Sacromonte, which is the scene of passionateflamenco dances of a famous immigrant tribe of gypsies, themselves migrants. She draws parallels between the changing steps ofa dance and the various displacements of a migration. Dance is offered up as an alternative remedy for the wounds caused by migration. The narrator’s dilemma between leaving and staying, is problematized on the axis of the concept of migration.


while directing the falling objects

they play songs for my finger tips 

they clap my curving wrists out

and put roses in my hair in Sacromonte

if I migrate




I don’t diminish


The poet’s effort to move away from masculine language and discourse, though sustained throughout the poem, becomes more and more evident in the final section. We come across clues that lead us to align the poem’s narrator with Tekhanlı. In the firstinstance, we are told that the narrator’s grandmother is unable to walk. As the reader, we can readily grasp the image of a woman struggling with the health problems that arise from old age. We then learn of an old woman near the end of her life, who remembers her childhood home, the beginning of her sense of belonging, and her roots. The narrator speaks of buntings looking at “us” in the vineyards. This may well refer to the fairy-tale idiom: “three navy-blue eyes which dropped out of the sky”. Altogether, we may infer that the poem is autobiographical – that the narrative the poem delivers is, to some extent, representative of the Tekhanlı’ own life story. Tekhanlı's family lived in a village near Paphos, which, before civil war broke out, was famous for its grapevines. The words "three navy-blue eyes" in the poem refer to women from three different generations: the poet herself, her mother, and her grandmother. In recalling these three figures, and bringing in the imaginary discourse of the fable, the poet expresses her longing for her home town of Paphos -for her roots - and the pain of being removed from it. In this way, against the official, male- dominated history, she attempts a counter-history – a ‘her-story’ instead of a ‘he-story’ drawn from the experiences of her and her family. Tekhanlı narrates this sad story of being uprooted, aestheticizing it in her unique discourse and a female sensibility. She emphasizes the importance of home, and of the root, in the context of one’s senseof belonging. Through poetry, she embodies the resistance of memory against forgetting.


If I don’t migrate,

the woman who gave birth to my mum wants to forget walking I dream about the housewhere she learnt how to walk

among vineyards little buntings are looking for us

three navy-blue eyes which dropped out of the sky a century ago

to Paphos

(Tekhanlı, 2020) [Translated by Tuğçe Tekhanlı].


In her poem titled "Me Through a Dream (Beni Bir Rüyadan)", published in the journal called Şiirden and quoted below, Tekhanlı draws a picture that confirms some of the judgements expressed in this paper. The verb "to pass" takes an importantplace in the poem. Notably, it is the only action expressed in the poem capable of realizing the narrator’s wishes. According to the dictionary definition, ‘to pass’ means ‘to carry something [someone] from one place to another (TDK Büyük Sözlük, 2021)’. In this poem, as if to emphasize her desire toescape from reality, the narrator tells her imaginary male lover to pass to her through her dream and transfer her to a dreamworld. She then sets out to describe the dream world in detail.

In this realm, there are rivers that know no boundaries and flow unhindered; there are centuries-old olive trees, rooted deep into the soil and standing firmly in their place. These clues are sufficient to suspect that the narrator is describing a version of Cyprus. In reality, Tekhanlı's family were forced to migrate from their hometown of Paphos and remain on the other side of theborder. In fiction, Tekhanlı constructs a universe in which she is free to move, and to return home. In this universe, she can passeasily between the north and south of Cyprus, without obstacles; travelling on earth is as easy as flying in the sky, and all borders have disappeared. The lines “one should learn forgetting/but then pass me through the idea of re-mem-ber-ing” suggestthat Tekhanlı uses poetry as a shield, in order not to forget her roots.


Me through a dream

pass me through your dream

through the burble of the river coming to you through the olive trees waiting for centuries (…)

one should learn forgetting

but then pass me through the idea of re-mem-ber-ing thus through the scents

through the rainy weathers slowly through the shapes in thesky

through the south and the north simultaneously


(Tekhanlı, 2019) [Translated by Tuğçe Tekhanlı]



This paper has argued that the poems of Tuğçe Tekhanlı, one of the most contemporary representatives of post-colonial, Turkish-Cypriot cultural production, are especially fruitful when read in the light of post-colonial theory. Approaching her poems as such, they corroborate Jameson’s claim that “all third- world texts are necessarily national allegories” and that “the telling of the individual story and the individual experience cannot but ultimately involve the whole laborious telling of the experience of thecollectivity “itself” (Jameson, 2000: 318, 336). Tekhanlı, always with reference to Cyprus’ colonial past, blends today's post-modern, post-colonial literary movements with a commitment to feminism. Tekhanlı’s fragmented poetic structure, which bears the traces of post-modernism, tells compelling individual-autobiographic stories, bound together with various images of the colonial experience. On the one hand, she conveys the adventures of the individual's positioning herself as a subject in themodern world; on the other, she plays a role in the formation of the identity of the female poetic subject. Whether familial, sexual, geographical, social, or political, she refers to the various determining factors in an indirect and mystical discourse. In this manner, the reader, on the surface, pays witness to an individual's emotions, thoughts and imagination. However, at thesame time, she has the opportunity to explore the 'wounds' of the society to which the poetic subject belongs, arising from itscolonial past.

Eastern sentiments emerge as a part of this panorama, though it is drawn in an apparently Western manner. Thus, a “hybrid” structure is formed. Tekhanlı demonstrates her determination to remember the painful experiences of the "subaltern" society – those displaced as a consequence of the bloody conflicts following Cyprus’ colonial period. We hear also the female voice, typically relegated to a secondary, or subaltern, position society, given instead an equal status. Homelessness, one of thedominant issues of post-colonial literature, serves to bring Turkish-Cypriot poetry in to the new world literature. In this context,the notion of free passage, which appears frequently in Tekhanlı’s poetry, can be considered as a recapitulation of the 19th century world-literary dream of a trans-national literature that criss-crosses cultural borders worldwide. In short, Tekhanlıconsciously draws upon the resources of "historical trauma" and "displacement" (Bhabha, 1994: 4-6) Bhabha mentions, while expressing the hope that post-colonial literatures will contribute to the new world literature (Bhabha 1994: 4-6) in her poems. As we read Tekhanlı's poems, have before us a Turkish-Cypriot example of Erich Auerbach's dictum, when he writes, “Ourphilological home is the earth: it can no longer be the nation (Said, 1991: 7)”.


This article has been written by Ahmet Yıkık and encompasses many different reviews by different literary scholars.