Poet’s Home In Disrepair/Award For Gabeba Baderoon – Poetry News Roundup May 31st

We begin the week with a look at the poet’s home that has fallen into disrepair and the poet Gabeba Baderoon who has won another award.

Poet’s Historic Home Turned into Parking Lot

The house in the Bakırköy district of Istanbul that once belonged to Cenap Şahabettin the Turkish writer and poet is currently being used as a parking lot. The poet was one of the first to introduce the psychology of self to his work.

The home was where the poet died in 1934, and over the years it has remained empty, eventually falling into a state of disrepair. It is now in such a bad condition that it is believed that it is on the verge of collapsing. The trees in the garden were cut down a while ago. Then the building, which had been abandoned, began to fill with rubbish, before becoming a frequent haunt for drug addicts.

A senior architect who also works as a restorer feels that the street where the house is located gives a real historical texture to the life of the poet. The residence itself is incredibly important to the memory of Istanbul. She believes that the building could be between 100 to 120 years old. She also believes that the city should be looking at ways to preserve the building as some form of cultural institution in honour of the poet.

It is currently against the law for historical artefacts to be used as any form of parking lot.

The poet was known as one of the most important names in an avant-garde movement of Turkish literature – Servet-i Fünûn. French symbolism was very influential in his work. He spent the last few years of his life living in seclusion in the home where he eventually died.

International Award for Gabeba Baderoon

Poet Gabeba Baderoon

An associate professor, specialising in Gender, Women and sexuality studies in combination with African studies, Gabeba Baderoon has won an international award for “The History of Intimacy”, her latest poetry collection.

This is her third book and was published in South Africa before being published in the USA. The book has already won the Elizabeth Eybers Poetry Prize in 2019 in the same year the University of Johannesburg Prize for South African writing. Now the book has been awarded the National Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences award for best fiction, poetry and short stories.

Baderoon, who was born and raised during the South African apartheid had expected to follow in her mother’s footsteps and become a doctor, but her mother encouraged her to follow her passion – which was for literature.  She has a Bachelors, a masters, and a doctorate in English Literature all from the University of Cape Town. She then moved to America where she has a fellowship from Penn State, the university that she now teaches at.

When she first began writing poetry she did so in English, one of her two main languages – the other is Afrikaans. She has now written several books of poetry a number of which have been nominated for awards. Much of her work is influenced by the South Africa that she grew up in, apartheid and the story of Nelson Mandela.

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