Luke Frostick, Editor in Chief
So another two months and another Bosphorus Review has to be published.
This month we have some fascinating articles and stories. I believe we have managed to strike a really interesting balance between the different sections of the magazine. With great stories, poems and non fiction.
I’m particularly excited to see that our collaboration with Maviblau continues. They have sent us a very interesting article this month on Orientalism among Erasmus students.
One of the new piece that we have is a work on A Wretched Heaviness by Metin Kaçan. This book doesn't have an English translation yet and our contributor Yağmur Coşkun makes the case that it should. This work reminded me that Turkish literature is a deep well and although in recent years more Turkish literature has been made available in English there is still so much more that deserves to be shared with the world. If we here at the Bosphorus Review can have a small part of that, by publishing articles like Yağmur’s, translating stories or poetry (as Erica and Thomas have both worked so hard on), I think it’s doing just a little bit to make the world a better place.
This month our cover was done by Zeynep Beler. I love it; sea gulls are among my top twenty birds. You can find more of her work here.
We have some good interviews this month as well. Thomas has his debut in this section and it makes for a very interesting read. We also have the novelist Selçuk Altun and the historian Professor Jerry Brotton, both of whom I enjoyed talking to.
Loyal readers by now have realised that I do a lot of interviews with historians (disloyal readers will be arrested under new powers granted to us by the state of emergency). This is in part due to me. I am a history graduate, I have always been interested in history and I feel I’m able to ask decent questions in a way that I wouldn’t with say, a political scientist or philosopher.
Furthermore, I also think that we are living in times where history is important.
We look to America and see white nationalists parading round the statues of confederate generals built in the era of Jim Crow, the Brexit vote stirring up ideas of historical brutishnessas a tangible concept and the president of the Republic of Turkey on billboards caressing a bow and arrow like he won the battle of Manzikert himself. My point is that history is complex, nuanced and far less clear-cut than politicians of all stripes would like us to believe. I believe it is important to talk to the experts, to give them a platform from which to muddy the waters and pull apart the frustrating little details that don't fit into modern political narratives and world views.
Please enjoy The Bosphorus Review and have a great holiday!
Thomas Parker, Poetry Editor
Iyi Bayramlar. What better way is there to celebrate Kurban Bayramı/Eid Al-Adha than with good literature? We are only one issue away from finishing up our first year of BROB, as we affectionally call it, and I continue to be surprised by how fast and how well it is growing. I’m slightly biased, but I find this to be one damn good issue of literature.
In the poetry section, I had the pleasure of publishing two poems from Dora Šustić’s Istanbul Streams. She wrote the manuscript during February and March of last year, while on a writing residency with the maumau art collective in Istanbul. The poems were written as streams of consciousness during her walks through the city; there is no edits or interventions of any kind, it is all raw thoughts and personal reflections. That kind of thing isn’t my usual cup of tea, because in my experience, it usually results in bad poetry, but that is not at all the case here. Actually, both me and Luke had the pleasure of meeting her while she was in Istanbul as we heard her poems at Spoken Word. The second I heard “You pierce me with your Golden Horn, Istanbul” I was insanely jealous that I was not the one to have come up with the metaphor. The poems are also accompanied by photographs of the city and attaching photographs with poems or even with other pieces is something I hope to do again in the future. In this issue, I also had the pleasure to continue my collaboration with Gözde Kurt, the Turkish author of three novels. In the July issue, the two of us translated Tasavvur (Envision), the first of two poems in her third novel Köprüde Durup Beni Öpmesini Bekleyeceğim (I’ll Stand on the Bridge and Wait for The Kiss). I am simultaneously happy to publish the second of the two and sad at seeing the collaboration end.
This issue also marks my debut (finally!) in the interviews section. It was a distinct pleasure to interview Yassin Al-Haj Saleh about his first book to be translated into English The Impossible Revolution: Making Sense of the Syrian Tragedy as I’ve long been a fan of his work, reading as many of his articles as I could, both in Arabic and English. The book is a collection of ten articles written in four different cities covering various aspects of factors in the more than six year-long Syrian conflict. Many of the articles are more society-focused and a few even reach the level of sociological theory. It is by no means an easy read, but I do think it a necessary one. If we do indeed live in a “Syrianized world” as Al-Haj Saleh puts it, as increasingly the entirety of the world is in Syria and the entirety of Syria is in the world, it is important we be Free Syrians.
Last but not least, I’m quite happy the amount of translation this issue has, as we have not only two translated poems, but two translated short stories. I hope we continue to feature a large amount of translation, allowing us to accomplish our goal of serving as a bridge between the literary worlds of Turkish and English.
Once more, Iyi bayramlar
Erica Eller, Editorial and Outreach Assistant
We've come to the end of summer and a little part of me is dancing in my seat. Good riddance to the hot, sweaty summer that made my face ceaselessly glisten and my hair frizzle frazzle. Hopefully this also marks the beginning of the end of the obstacle course of construction projects around town. I'm scribbling this by the pitter patter of my finger on my phone's typepad on the way to iğneada for a brief Bayram getaway so please ignore my typos (I'm on it, Ed.).
This issue reminded me that I need to keep spreading my tentacles wide and far. I once started a collaborative women's literary reading series in San Francisco in which each reader took part in selecting the readers for the next month's line-up. It was a simple idea that made our readings much more varied. At the same time, it enabled each reader to become a co-creator in the project. It is my dream for the Bosphorus Review to have a similar rotation in which the published writers and our readership constantly pass the torch and encourage our friends and favorite writers to submit work. My work in this issue is also inspired by an attempt at fruitful collaboration. I lent a hand to T. Ecem Tosun to translate her fictional story, "Postbox Loneliness" producing my first ever translation of Turkish, I reached out to my former student Yağmur Coşkun to ask him to write a book review on a book of his choice, and I wrote a piece about the work of Julio Cortazar for which a companion piece will appear on my own blog dedicated to cultural commentary, Pomp and Intertext. I've also been excited about BRB's getting mentioned recently on the Facebook of "The Lab," home of Matthew Davison Clark's creative writing classes, which I attended in the past. In addition, we've been trying to stay connected with everyone more regularly through Facebook and come out of our social media shell. Of course, we haven't yet crossed over into Twitter, but we'd love to spark interesting discussions on Facebook.
Our Facebook wall is yours to share.
Coming up in the next issue, I'm excited about a few anticipated projects. My interview with two-time O. Henry Prize winner Shruti Swamy is in the works. I'm also reading the work of Elif Batuman and Birhan Keskin to offer either reviews or interviews featuring their work.
Finally, as I was inputting new contacts one by one like a fool into our mailing list, I realized it's time for Mailchimp. I hope to get an automated email list set up soon.