Some crises of Kurdish poetry

Poetics and politics About the task of poets, Aristotle says in his Poetics [1], “The task of the poet is not to describe directly what has happened, but the task of the poet is to consider the possibility of things happening.” In other words, either the existing is presented to us in an aesthetic and […]

Some crises of Kurdish poetry
Some crises of Kurdish poetry
  • Yayınlanma15 August 2023 07:56

Poetics and politics

About the task of poets, Aristotle says in his Poetics [1], “The task of the poet is not to describe directly what has happened, but the task of the poet is to consider the possibility of things happening.” In other words, either the existing is presented to us in an aesthetic and poetic way, or it is revived, reconstructed, and shown to us what is left under the wrath of plundered history, or it takes us to areas and places that no one has yet experienced. But in this topic, politics and poetics are often mixed, or politics says, “I made it, so you can make it a poet,” and with this position, it sees itself as the leader and commissioner of poetics. Maybe one becomes a sacrifice for the other. When it comes to Kurdish poetry, the politics of poetics imposes itself on the world like a decentralized commissioner, it becomes the authority.

The poet’s aim should be as TS Eliot said, they should be the main line of art. Something terrible has happened in a place, and the poet is commissioned(!) to record this sad story with an ancient sacrifice or with a ‘mythical spell’. Or to write the current thing in the current way. Otherwise, he is accused of being apolitical, of being degenerate. Is not the art of poetry itself a political act? So why write down the sad story with a pencil? What is the need for kitsch politics? With the words of Arjen Ari, “Who can forget the spilled blood?” That is, the poet is not the one who asks the authorities to publish his poems, or who uses his pen on the orders of the authorities. The poet have a value, the attitude and the position. This value must not be hidden from the people but must be seen in the context of literary history. “But those who are politicians and have fallen into the center of poets, what will we do then?” The poet should turn a little deaf ear to these rumors. However powerful these people may be, an argument with them harms the immortality of the poet’s.

The sense of history and tradition

Are we a memory, or is history a memory? TS Eliot says, “If a poet wants to have a tradition, s/he must work hard. The first condition is that the poet must have a sense of history. A poet who has a historical sense does not just talk about the sense of his time. From Homer to all literature (including his national literature) exist simultaneously, and all literary works form an organic whole. This is what the sense of poet should have: main line of art.” [2] Literature is a cumulative art, namely it develops through build on. The new one doesn’t ignore the old one, it forms a harmony with the old. Reading poems and famous poets is necessary for the birth of a new breath of poetry. Since when? In the history of Kurdish poetry, since Ahmed Khani… The history of the sense of Kurdish poetry begins with Ahmed Khani. The sense of history also expands the knowledge of the tradition of poetry. That is why he is aware of it and tells Khani: “Wîth the name of Meleye Ciziri / Will follow Ali Hariri / Will give you pleasure to Feqiye Teyran / Will be amazed until forever.” 

As the memory of history, reading, and knowledge of the tradition of poetry come to appear, there is also a danger for young poets: imitation and influence. The influence comes from themselves, it will be many times. Perhaps because of the Oedipal complex, he becomes a murderer because he kills those who live before him. But imitation?


In Kurmanji dialect of Kurdish langugae literature, some articles were published on the subject of imitation and the danger of influence, and it can be said that Harold Bloom was the reference for all these articles. Sometimes one learns to write poems by imitating them extensivel. Or this imitation is not based on imitation of the style. If we imitate Cegerxwin, our aim should not be to write like him. We must embrace the spirit of Cegerxwin’s poetry, which expresses his uniqueness in poetry and gives people the enthusiasm of their first youth. That is, it is not a question of Kawa Nemir leaving aside the influence of Anglo-Saxon literature. If there is such a thing as an immortal coffee, we can say that he has captured the spirit of Yeats and Eliot.

This issue is frequently discussed in some critiques (sometimes even attacks) on the poetry of young Kurdish poets. When it comes to imitation and similes, something like this happens: “This young man’s poems surpass this poet’s poems, he is talented / This young man’s poems surpass this poet’s poems, it is useless…” Every poet begins to write poetry, not like Theocritus, but like Eumenis [3]. In the first judgment of the poet, there is a great possibility that he smells the words of the great poets and has the tendency to imitate the style of the great poets. But in our literary community, this head is first shown as a weakness, then it causes attacks and blackouts. Because if the young poet does not come from the neighborhood, there will be the deuce to pay! [4]

The manierism of deficient

The style (mannerism) is a school of sculpture and painting, but its signs can be found in other art genres as well. In Mannerism everything is connected. Events are not clearly depicted and it is difficult to understand them. Poetry is written with words. Well done! The poet also has the ability to listen to the words, to deform the words, and to form adverbs. This may be a “cliche” as Yehya Omeri said. [5] But in our poetry, there is a tendency to use bad words in the first judgment of all poets. This is also my opinion. Is that wrong? Are you here? But if it goes too far and becomes a habit, it can lead to a crippled style. Or you do not sacrifice the aesthetics of poetry for the revival of a word. But what we mean is more than that: muttering words with a meaningless and meaningless dignity.

The use of the words vague and dusk in the style of the disabled creates a senseless dance. According to Ramazan Alan, this also leads to a false mannerism. This exists in some Kurdish poems. In other words, the multitude of bad words does not lead to ontology, philosophy, meaning, and essence. The throng of meaning also becomes meaningless. Because the poet does not say anything…


[1] Aristoteles (2013), Poetika: Şiir Sanatı Üstüne , (translator. Samih Rifat) p. 37: Can Yayınları.

[2] Eliot, TS (2007), Edebiyat Üzerine Düşünceler , (translator. Sevim Kantarcıoğlu) p. 2-3: Paradigma Yayınları.

[3] The poem “The First Stair / İlk Basamak” by Kavafis. no. Kavafis K. (2012), Bütün Şiirleri , (translator. Millas H. and İnce Ö) p. 97: Varlık Poetry.

[4] In the Kurdish poetry community of this time, the competition of esthetic poetry hasn’t yet prevented the rivalry and personal hatred of critics, readers, and poets. Since the community is close, everyone is a friend of some and a hater of others, if he’s not from the neighborhood, his pen is weak and useless; if he’s from the neighborhood, he’s the jewel in the crown, whatever he writes is right, because he’s a cousin, an aunt, a friend, and so on.

[5] Yehya Omerî, Poet as the source of words , Botan Times:

Translated by AI Tools (GTranslate, DeepL, Google IPA), edited and published by Botan Times