Remembrance for Gülten Akın (1933-2015)

gülten is all I’m left with, a rose

We share with a heavy heart the news of the passing of Gülten Akın, the great humanist “mother poet” of Turkey, on Wednesday, November 4, 2015. She was laid to rest in Ankara after Friday prayers at Kocatepe Mosque, where her coffin was borne by women and where the congregation saw her off, reciting her poetry.

Gülten Akın was a dear friend of ours, of CIWTTL, who came to occupy a special place in our hearts with her poetic voice and her ideals. Always kind and generous towards her translators, she was the first to be invited to our workshop in its inaugural year of 2006, where she gave a memorable talk on her life and her poetry. Her poetry grew out of the personal and social experiences of her life which, for two decades, she spent in many different parts of Turkey with her husband, Yaşar Cankoçak, and her children. In political terms both she and her husband were socialists, but her subtle and refined poetry transcended ideology, finding expression in a gracious humanism that embraced all aspects of nature, as well as women, children and men of all walks of life.

For those of us who were privileged to translate her poems, hear her read, attend her talks, and interact with her personally, our memories of her and of her work, from which grew our first book of translations, will remain an indelible part of our Cunda experience. We hope through our remembrance to keep her spirit with us for many workshop sessions to come.