Arc Publications logo

50 years
at the cutting edge
of poetry publishing

& Silk & Love & Flame

by Birhan Keskin

Bilingual English / Turkish edition

Translated by George Messo

Part of our Visible Poets series edited by Jean Boase-Beier

& Silk & Love & Flame

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.

These highly original poems are marked by a daring self-assurance paired with an eerie emotional precision. Birhan Keskin erases the delicate line between matter and consciousness and lays bare, in the clearest possible terms, what it is to be alive. In the ravishing world of these poems, every atom is perceived, every molecule insists we are one with the things we love: a black river, a curtain of rain, the silk slats of an open fan. George Messo has made us a gift by bringing these poems across into English.

Mary Jo Bang

Weirdly unsettling, like the sound of a door opening on the floor above you in a house you know that you are alone in, these poems make you strain to hear past their half-finished utterances; they make you think long after the poem is finished and you know no one moves above and you are alone.

Kazim Ali

978-1904614-57-9 (pbk)
978-1906570-51-4 (hbk)
Published April 2013