THE BOOK OF THE EDGE
During my long flight, before falling into the river, I reflected. For I was nowhere. Not even in the air. Just as I’d reach the air, I’d move a little farther down. I reflected: this was a good place for reflection. For, I wasn’t anywhere.
When everything you look at starts to speak to you,you have wholly embarked upon the journey. When everything you see secretes its magic in your direction, the path has begun to leak its secret.As the migrants of long ago would say: the explorer becomes the path, in
Since you know this from the start, you won’t hurry, but experience, in silence, the moment you become the path.
So, the point you are at is farther than ever from the crowd. Your only place is the explorer’s roofless, volatile home.
You belong to yourself now. Acquainted with no one. No one knows you besides yourself.
The fish lines that wrap around the flesh of noise have been pulled, their tips thinned, they dangle from your hemline.
The poems in Book of the Edge are not overtly political. Some are not political at all. Those that make political statements do so in an understated, allegorical way. Temelkuran’s goal in these poems is to explore the human condition, exposing our weaknesses and our potential. But her insight into, and interpretation of, this human condition are undoubtedly inspired, at least in part, by her socially-involved upbringing and her many years of work as a journalist.
The book is, to use Baudelaire’s words, an invitation to a voyage. The speaker asks the reader to become an explorer, to leave the city and embark upon a journey of self-discovery. Although each poem stands alone, the poems work together to describe this quest; they turn into a modern, poetic fable, in which speaker, explorer, and reader merge into one. “You may not know it yet,” says the speaker in the prologue, a wink at what is to come. “You are just like me.”
Structure of Temelkuran’s poems reflects this philosophy: from poem to poem, the voice alternates between first and second person. It is not always clear if the explorer is the speaker or the reader, but this fluid identity is exactly what Temelkuran is after.
In Book of the Edge, the three traditions of political poetry, Sufism, and shamanism coalesce to create a collection rife with life and death, body and spirit, serenity and chaos. Ece Temelkuran, who does not place herself in one particular school or movement of Turkish poetry, nevertheless proves, in these poems, to be a part of a larger movement—the great tradition of the poets of the world.
“The poems lead the reader to question the ignorance, knowledge, cruelty, and spirituality of human beings through the explorer’s journey. Ece Temelkuran’s exquisite sense of nature and humanity is rendered through Deniz Perin’s precise translation, which skilfully conveys the tone of the original Turkish and makes the book a meaningful gift to readers of the English-speaking world.”
World Literature in Review
The story itself is incredibly compelling. Because the allegories and metaphors are well grounded, the reader can focus less on exploring esoteric themes and are instead invited to lose themselves wholly in the tale of a journey of self-discovery. It’s a universal feeling of restlessness that draws the reader in.
Andrew Scoggins, Poetry International
“This book that feels like a journey, pushes the readers to face their own devils of how they experience life in their souls and how they should live it”