‘Before Me There Were Deserts’ by Turkish poet Müesser Yeniay

deserts at night

Before Me There Were Deserts

Stay at Sıtkıllivah
                            where the wave-like sands thin out and subside…*

I saw them eating my body like a carcass
I did not say, “bring me into this world!”
I found myself around the fire
like the hump of a camel
I’ve curved passing through the world

they gathered a handful of sand in their fists
and blew…
at night I slept in the footprints of animals
my body bent in waves
when the sand ended
my eyes, from inside my veil, found
“where the world is”
-even if I am a Bedouin in the desert of desire-

dates tumbled into my mind
in front of the night
I couldn’t find a sound to hear

as deserts are wide, so I’ve looked at my heart

(c) Copyright 2014  Müesser Yeniay

(c) Copyright 2014 Translation: Caroline Stockford

*İmriül Kays

Biography:
MÜESSER YENİAY was born in İzmir, 1984; graduated from Ege University, with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has won several prizes in Turkey including Yunus Emre (2006), Homeros Attila İlhan (2007), Ali Riza Ertan (2009), Enver Gökçe (2013) poetry prizes.
Her first book Dibine Düşüyor Karanlık da was published in 2009 and her second book Evimi Dağlara Kurdum is a collection of translation from world poetry. Her second book Yeniden Çizdim Göğü was published in 2011. She has translated the poems of Persian poet Behruz Kia under the name of Lalelere Requiem. She has translated Selected Poems of Gerard Augustin together with Eray Canberk, Başak Aydınalp, Metin Cengiz (2011). She has also translated Personal Anthology of Michel Cassir together with Eray Canberk and Metin Cengiz (2011). Lately, she has published Contemporary Spanish Anthology with Metin Cengiz and Jaime B. Rosa. She has also published a book on modern Turkish Avant-garde poetry The Other Consciousness: Surrealism and The Second New (2013). Her latest poetry book Before Me There Were Deserts was published in 2014 in İstanbul.
Her poems have appeared in the following magazines abroad: The Voices Project, The Bakery, Sentinel Poetry, Yellow Medicine Review, Shot Glass Journal, Poesy, Shampoo, Los Angeles Review of Books, Mediterranean Poetry (USA&England); Kritya (India); Casa Della Poesia, Libere Luci (Italy); Poeticanet, Poiein (Greece); Revue Ayna, Souffle, L’oiseau de feu du Garlaban (France); Al Doha (Qatar); Tema (Croatia).
Her poems have been translated into English, French, Serbian, Arabic, Hebrew, Italian, Greek, Hindi, Spanish and Romanian. She participated in the poetry festivals like Sarajevo International Poetry Festival, September 2010 (Bosnia-Herzegovina); Nisan International Poetry Festival, May 2011 (Israel); Belgrad International Poetry Festival, September 2012 (Serbia); Voix Vives International Poetry Festival (Sete), July 2013 (France); Kritya International Poetry Festival, September 2013 (India), Galati/Antares International Poetry Festival, June 2014 (Romania).

(biography reproduced with permission from website of Müesser Yeniay)

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