Gokçenur Ç in translation: Lutenitsa



1.thirtyeight of july

(last nght I burnt all the dictionaries on the balcony,
none of them included your

he wrote that july is longer than summer
even summer rain is longer than summer
your name is longer than your hair

I won’t write your name here

2.july is longer than the summer

(if it‘s the month in which you had your shortest haircut)

we said “lets prune the grapevine”, we pruned
“lets praise the shadow of the grapevine”, we praised

the sky sweats
and talks of death
thıs alone was enough
to purıfy all meanıng

noon was searching for its place
in the sentences
like an anxious preposition

we pruned the names of noon and the damp stone
(we did this to make them live forever)

we said “lets make wraps from the grapevine leaves”, we made wraps and cooked

we made love
but what we dıdn’t say was
“lets make love under the grapevine”

3.summer is a wet rat, july is a village under quarantine

(rain extends like an endless sentence from a book named,
Not To Be Able To Go A City...)

my town is a haiku
with four verses
and stands in the middle of the plain

I wrote to you that summer “I had to leave school,
they are forcing us to change our names”
That summer I wrote to you “I’ll be taken for military service
My acting studıes incomplete, no more theatre games.”

That summer I wrote you three more haikus

That summer I wrote to you of the azalea blossomıng, and how we camped on the plum plateau for the first time without you
and how a publisher rejected my book

I wrote days are “ordinary, everything is madness
but we are getting use to it”
I wrote “we opened a bottle of wine on the break water,
and celebrated the aniversery of dıscovering the first edition of
The Instute of Adjusting Clocks;

and aunt autumncat’s rheaumatism is going bad and
they are forcıng us to move from our houses”

I wrote “all around my country falls apart but all my thoughts are of you”

I couldn’t write “they took your brother to the asylum”

Language is a concentratation camp, my country is an empty mime
My acting class will remain ıncomplete till the end of time

4.three haikus

(summer is a sweaty parade in a public house, autumn is a little girl
who is rubbing her feet and repeating her role while she is  waiting for her time)

milk of july
in the shadow of the figs
bee makes love with locust

I drank three cups
haiku in the second one
water is alive

your nut shell eyes
thıs summer won’t be  peaceful
whısper the horse chestnuts and the wind


(language bites july, blue camels pass from
the rabid desert night of your hair)

lutenitsa, lutenitsa
your name means paprika sauce with honey
but I learned that too late

Translated by the Author and Raman Mundair (Istanbul, Word Express, 2009)


'I like to use the languages of the various arts – literature, music, theatre...I think that is the spirit of the modern global era.'- poet Ivan Hristov spoke to SJ Fowler of 3AM magazine about the evolution of the contemporary Bulgarian poetry scene.


Cosmin Borza discusses the work of Romania's 'Generation 2000' poets, including Radu Vancu and Claudiu Komartin in an essay at Asymptote.


At the Sofia Poetics festival, which was organised by Word Express participant Ivan Hristov, Scottish based poet Ryan Van Winkle caught up with fellow festival guests SJ Fowler and Tomasz Rózycki. To hear Fowler and Rózycki discussing their work and reading some of their poetry, listen to the Scottish Poetry Library podcast here.