It is the paradoxical nature of Capan's poetry that makes it so distinctive. It sounds ancient and traditional, yet is recognisably related to modernism; it is rooted in Turkish life and at the same time is European, and beyond that, aware of, and part of, a world literature.
Capan's poems are at once lyrical and wry, rich and plain. They inhabit the large landscapes of Turkish life — steppes and forests, seas and mountains — and also an extended world of modern politics.
Many of the poems are personal, concerned with Capan's family, his father's story, the names of his children, and yet they have the impersonality of old stories and tales. His work is permeated by a sense of history and legend. Even his most overtly political poems manage simultaneously to call up a legendary emotion. Michael Hulse's excellent translation does justice to the work of this seminal poet.
Parallel text, Turkish / English