Hikmet, Nâzım (1902–1963) By Kismet Bell, İpek
Nâzım Hikmet (Ran) (b.January 15, 1902, Thessaloniki–d.June 3, 1963, Moscow) was a Turkish poet, playwright, novelist, and screenwriter who spent nearly fifteen years of his life in prison due to his political views. He is considered to be one of the leading figures of twentieth-century world literature and has been compared to such literary figures as Louis Aragon, Bertolt Brecht, and Pablo Neruda. His work, which has been translated into many languages, is imbued with an avant-garde aesthetics, marked by formal experimentation, and informed by Marxist theory. Among his most well-known works are Memleketimden İnsan Manzaraları (Human Landscapes from My Country), which covers the history of the Ottoman Empire/Turkish Republic between 1908 and 1945 in a five-volume literary piece consisting of verse, dramatic sequences, and prose; Şeyh Bedreddin Destanı (The Epic of Sheikh Bedreddin), a highly political and reformist extended prose poem which demonstrates Hikmet’s formal experimentation, and Taranta-Babu’ya Mektuplar (Letters to Taranta-Babu), a narrative poem promoting Hikmet’s antifascist views. The Turkish military began persecuting Hikmet in 1935 for his views found in this poem which led to numerous imprisonments and finally to the revoking of his Turkish citizenship. Hikmet’s Turkish citizenship was restored posthumously in 2009.