Nâzım Hikmet’s Human Landscapes. A polyphonous social critique.

Reading, Discussion


4.10., 19:00

Literaturhaus Graz

Production specifics
With Erhan Altan, Erich Klein, Kerem Öktem, Betül Seyma Küpeli

Introduction and moderation: Erhan Altan
Reading: Betül Seyma Küpeli

A collaboration of Literaturhaus Graz and steirischer herbst

Widely acknowledged as one of the great poets of social consciousness, the dissident Turkish author Nâzım Hikmet is a necessary poet of the 20th-century. Prominently featured during steirischer herbst’s opening weekend in the performance of the Brussels-based choreographer Michiel Vandevelde, Hikmet’s epic masterpiece Human Landscapes from My Country is a collage-like work, empowered by the idea of the poet as a singer, telling the tale of his tribe. The people Hikmet brilliantly characterizes are ordinary people, evoked in a language that is playful and mundane, musical but also social and even novelistic—almost Joycean. Thus, a polyphony of voices emerges in his work, infused with social information and animated by lyric feeling and human aspirations. This evening’s reading and discussion focuses on selected excerpts from Hikmet’s Human Landscapes chosen by literary critic Erhan Altan, who moderates the event. The texts are read by visual artist Betül Seyma Küpeli* and followed by a talk with Erich Klein, Kerem Öktem, and Betül Seyma Küpeli, who discuss Hikmet’s politically engaged literary work and reflect on current socio-political developments, including debates on populism and the ever-ambivalent notion of the “people” (Volk) in Austria as well as Turkey.