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Ali F. Bilir

Ali F. Bilir
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The Poetry of Ali F. Bilir
Big Bend Poets chapter, Florida State Poets Association

Lake Ella
"They scale death with separation..."
~~~ Folk song
Lake Ella,
tiny lake
how familiar she seems —
yet completely separate

Lake Ella,
mysterious and
night tired
like a martin
onto the water

Water lily,
children running about,
woman with a puppy —

the day,
too busy
for me.

Lake Ella,
Why is separation
always more painful than
~~~Tallahassee, August, 2008; Translated by Susan Bright

Prior To Long Journeys
To my daughter Defne

Looking back to my roots,
long journeys, many steps,
how gracefully my homeland
has run after me, snow covered
those glittering clouds
just above the changing mountains.

Like a small child am I
whose heart cannot match
the rhythm of this world.

The lonely wind has gone
with me. In me is desire, desire
such hope it brings!

Maybe I will fall into
the emptiness of my youth.
Quite alone is this home
with the door latched
and behind me the serenity
the emptiness
all my long journeys.
~~~Translated by M. Ali Sulutas; Edited in English by Susan Bright

Violet Scented Night

Year: 1967
An autumn wanderer,
I ached for Istanbul
as I crossed through
the Straits of Gibraltar
in a small, worn-out fishing boat.

On a desert evening in Algeria,
I lay down on the sands
along the Mediterranean Sea
and counted falling stars
on my fingertips.

My God, how high was
the sky?
And Africa!

The night smells violet
whenever the isolation
in me is touched.
~~~Translated by M. Ali Sulutas; Edited in English by Susan Bright

The First Time I Saw The Sea
Mother, wrapped in rags,
swinging in a hammock
rocked me to sleep,
singing lullabies
beneath a cedar tree until

I ran down stony paths,
hoisting on my shoulders
the past and the future,
hope and sorrow.

I still remember
how I cried for joy
the first time I saw the sea,
kissed the clouds
as I rode along
in a blue bodied truck.

I have kept inside me
for many years
that sea,
its salty tears.
~~~Translated by M. Ali Sulutas; Edited English by Susan Bright

Silk Handkerchief

Short is the human story,
incomplete the whistlers’ song.

Death is a gift
we beg of fortune.
At the height of the day
it springs up at the front door.

Life may be short,
but it is a very long road,
resembling a just born butterfly
which becomes itself.

it is our childhood
we hide in our breast pocket-
the scent of a silk handkerchief

~~~Translated by M. Ali Sulutas; Edited in English by Susan Bright

Lake Ella, Tallahassee FL

Ali F. Bilir
ALI was born in 1945 in Gülnar, Mersin, Turkey. He graduated from the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Istanbul in 1969. During his university years, he worked part-time at a tourist youth hostel in Istanbul as a reception clerk and later as a manager. In 1967, as an adventure, he toured Europe and North Africa, mainly on foot. For a while, he lived in Essex and London, England to improve his English, doing odd jobs such as picking fruit from trees, washing dishes and serving as a waiter at restaurants. He participated in the student and youth movements of 1968. His poems, short stories and articles on various subjects have been published in local, regional, national, and international periodicals, magazines, and journals. For more about Ali and his work, visit his website.


Poetry: Migration Ballads by Ali F. Bilir (Poet), M. Ali Sulutas (Translator), Susan S. Bright (Editor), May 2008.


Short Stories: Usüyen Sicak Düslerim (My Shivering Warm Dreams)
Poetry: Göç Türküsü (Migration Ballads)
Poetry: Güz Animsamalari (Autumn Reminiscences)
Critique: Elestiriden Günceye (From Critique to Diary)
Compilation: Mersin'de Aydin Olmak (Being an Intellectual in Mersin) [co-compiler: Orhan Ozdemir]
Research: Orta Asya'dan Toroslar'a Gülnar (Gülnar – From Central Asia to Taurus Mountains) [co-author: F. Saadet Bilir]


• 2008, The people who make impressions on Mersin, awarded by the Mersin Governor`s Office and the University of Mersin
• 2004, S. Avni Ölez poetry award, Jury Special Prize, for the poetry book Güz Animsamalari (Autumn Reminiscences)
• 1998, Samim Kocagöz fiction story award, 2nd place
• 1996, Ibrahim Yildiz poetry award, Honorable Mention for the book Göç Türküsü (Migration Ballads)
• 1993, Orhan Kemal fiction story award, 3rd place
• 1990, Günes Magazine (Sweden), fiction story award, 3rd place

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