Birhan Keskin is one of a number of women poets in Turkey who have made their mark since the 1990s and this selection of poems, drawn from six books including her prizewinning collection Ba, makes her work available to English-speaking readers in a book-length collection for the first time.
Keskin's poetry is finely-honed and minimal and, at the same time, powerfully visual, evocative and exact. Meaning and music overlap, lines dissolve, restart and repeat. Fluid and elusive, her poems inhabit a space between cognition and remembering, testimony and invention. Although there is an easy directness about Keskin's work - a directness that George Messo captures perfectly in his sensitive translation - it is far from easy in terms of its impact on the reader. Keskin's poems have sharp claws, claws which will not easily be shaken off.
Published April 2013