Poems of Nazim Hikmet

Nazim Hikmet forayed into the world of poetry at the age of fourteen and published his first volume of works at the age of seventeen.

Revolutionary in his ideas, Hikmet flouted conventions even while writing. Although he wrote his first few poems in the time-tested syllabic meter, he was constantly in search of newer and bolder forms.

The Soviet bard Mayakovski was his chief inspiration. When Nazim first read the Russian poet's work, he did not understand a word of it but he was profoundly inspired by the free flowing verse style that Mayakovski wrote in. Turkish poetry was in for a radical change.

Nazim was finally able to break free from the shackles of the prosodic constraints and incorporate the Mayakovski styled free flowing verse in his works. He was one of the first Turkish poets to do so. This particular style also gelled well with the rich Turkish language and imparted to his poems certain forcefulness and an ease of comprehension.

One of his most renowned works is the long poem "The Epic of Sheik Dedreddin", which is a treatise on a fifteenth century peasant uprising against Ottoman rule. This book was in the eye of storm for propagating anti-government ideas. Nazim Hikmet was in fact, arrested for igniting such sentiments through his writings.

Nazim Hikmet's early poems also show traces of Soviet Futurist poet-inspired styles. But during his prison sentence he did away with this style and adopted a more straightforward and serious approach.

He was at his productive zenith during these times. He not only penned some of his greatest lyrics during this time, but also wrote his epic masterpiece "Human Landscapes".

His later poems show a marked departure from the languid style of his earlier works. The frantic pace of these poems, almost devoid of any punctuation and a certain disregard for line divisions, all conveyed a feeling of helplessness in the face of advancing time. This was perhaps a reflection of the restlessness in the poet's mind.