Lale Muldur

Born in 1956 in Aydın, Turkey, Lale Müldür has published eight collections of poetry and is widely regarded as one of the most important Turkish poets of the last 20 years. Her unique, individual style sets her apart from her peers, and has led to her having considerable influence on other contemporary Turkish poets.

After graduating from Robert College, Müldür travelled to Florence on a poetry scholarship, after whcih she returned to her country to study electronics and economomics at Orta Doğu Teknik Üniversitesi in Ankara. After her two years in Ankara, Müldür went to the UK to read for a BSc in economics from University of Manchester, later gaining an MA in the sociology of literature from Essex University.

Some of her poems have been set to music, most famously the song "Destina" by Yeni Türkü.

Lale Müldür is beginning to receive international recognition for her poetry: a selection of her poems, Water Music was recently published in Ireland, and her work inspired by the French painter Colette Deblé has been translated into French.

Lale Müldür's poetry collections are:
Uzak Fırtına (1998); Voyıcır II (published with Ahmet Güntan, 1990); Seriler Kitabı (1991); Kuzey Defterleri (1992); Buhurumeryem (1993); Divanü Lûgat-it-Türk (1998); Saatler / Geyikler (2001); Ultra-zone'da Ultrason (2006) (Winner of the Golden Orange, Altın Portakal, Poetry Award, 2007).

La Luna

give me Time La Luna
look everything is gone
everything is crying
the water has turned cold

a Sacrifice falls between us now La Luna
out of the three of us one is a sacrifice
a cold line is drawn through the sky
too late too late now

one by one all my suns are leaving me
will they ever return to my life
an Eagle flies out of my forehead splitting
the sky apart
the maddening sound of an unseen Wheel
can be heard from afar

distant memories
like crabs
appear at sunset

late suns late suns also set
you come into my life with circles of metal

with unseen forces
with dark incomprehensible anguish, you are reborn
as yourself,
is there nothing human in you La Luna

though everything looks possible, everything explicable
somewhere things have been trapped
come back Emperor
let your dark eyes take me in with the night one last time

plait my hair with an ancient key La Luna
shroud my face my wounds
with cloths of black La Luna
prepare me for that pagan festival

like silhouettes gliding past dark walls
like ice flowers waiting for indigo nights
like a lighthouse scanning the restless sea
like a silver pendulum swaying in space
the Hanged Man
a Friar, a Knight
nurturing mandrake with tears...

seeping under a blackened window
like a poisonous cloud of smoke
cloaking you
cloaking La Luna from beginning to end

give me Time La Luna
a little time
let me hear once more the lyre of Selene
and the Sirens, with their violet songs, from afar


Maryam al-Basri

was in the service of Rabia al-Adawiyya:
Whenever she heard knowledge of the love of God
she would faint

In a session of dhikr (the remembrance of God)
she died suddenly of love …

God has servants who are like rain,
Falling on earth they become corn, falling on the sea, pearls.


i made a tree of my body
no one can touch me again
mimosa pudica
wound that remains beautiful
dark and hopeless the trees are demigods
where countless voices and dark green death take shelter

you killed the living things
like a light emitted by pansies
i only broke the branch of a mourning plant
and made a tree of my body
a tree that takes breath in Silurian seas


i forget my body
and a tree forgets its motion
i forget that i have lived
and the sea forgets its anemones

Translated by Donny Smith

Donny Smith teaches at a high school in Istanbul. His collection of Lâle Müldür translations, I Too Went to the Hunt of a Deer, was published in 2008. His own collection of poetry, Was Gone and Has Gone and Was Gone, also appeared in 2008. His translations of Wenceslao Maldonado’s Si cortarle la cabeza a la Gorgona and Cemal Süreya's Üvercinka are to be published soon.

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