Tozan Alkan

Turkey

Born in 1963, studied at Galatasaray High School before graduating from the Faculty of Business Administration of the Boğaziçi University. At present, he is an instructor at Istanbul University, School of Foreign Languages. He is a member of Turkish Writers’ Union and of the Translators Association, he has translated from such world famous authors like Anatole France, Charles Baudelaire, Lord Byron, Victor Hugo, Oscar Wilde, William Blake, Emily Dickinson, Tristan Tzara, Philippe Soupault, D.H. Lawrence, William Butler Yeats, Federico Garcia Lorca, Antoni Machado and Alfonsina Storni. 

He was awarded “Behçet Aysan” and “Metin Altıok” prizes in poetry. 


The first poetry book of Tozan Alkan, Time and Mask,originally published in 2003, has now seen its third publication. The book which comprises in it 31 poems is the fruit of long meditations. It has the character of a book which had long been anticipated by the poet who had already proved himself as a long standing poet rather than a poet à la mode.  We can say that the book in question is a work far from being the work of a novice long anticipated by the poet himself who has already earned a name in literature. It’s a book which introduces us to a poet whose language has attained all the niceties of poetic licence. The words are selected minutely. The expressions used are apt and free from ambiguities that would have darken the text so that we are confronted here with a poet whose language is non plus ultra. His naivety as dominant characteristics of his future productions may well be observed in the lines in this book wherein themes and the well established phenomena are given concretized forms. Loneliness, death, love, rebellion, unhappiness are the abiding themes in this harmony with which it is in perfect accord. The important part of this harmony owes its sundry rhythm types based on vocal characteristics. The relationship whose recourse to the words in question has a rhythm of its own. This rhythm which does not loose its concomitant relationship comes from the nature of the voice.  Most of the time it is sotto voce.  The magnanimity of the word comes from its simplicity, clarity and introspection.  

Alkan’s second book, the afternoon of the heart,contains 22 poems which are replete with sentimentalism, the majority of which are derived from the small everyday words of childhood. Here these are addressed to “you” directly in an actual dialogue, which is inclined towards solitude, good intentions and moments and sharp bends. In fact, it sounds to the ear not so complimentary; this fanciful expression can also be seen in the words themselves. Nearly all the poems in the book imply ’myself’ and ‘yourself` in conjunction. The subjects entailed in the poems introduce what the reader is expected to see from a real poet. 

The poet's third book, and the wind, contains 25 poems; the readers who have read all the books of the poet must have observed an originality inherent in all of them. They must have noticed the fact that what should not be contained in the poems at least up to a certain point.  These books are full of genuine expressions, metaphors and descriptions. These poems bear the expressions of the poet what he desires to communicate. These lives are not written for the poems per se.In the poem called weightwhich may be inserted in any Turkish anthology of Turkish verses is the poet’s analysis of himself. 

The poet's fourth book, the city will come to you, contains 38 poems. The main theme of the book is urbanization and the problems coming with it. 

The poet has published a remarkable and well known translation magazine in which you could find most important translators. Tozan Alkan is also writing articles about translation and language in a prestigious monthly magazine called Varlık. His writings have hardly any precedence in Turkey.

Those who are within his circle of friends know that he has a close link with music. Most of the Tozan`s poems have been put to music. In his poems and the music that accompanies them one can see the outcries of popular music.  

Theopen doorconsists of poems which are fed by `immortal essences` in terms of Edip Cansever. Modesty is the poet`s particular characteristic. His neologisms are often used in our everyday speech. His readers cannot help being impressed by his style which happens to be at the point where traditional and modern poems concur. He is the spokesman of words, sentiments and phenomena incarnated in the human being. Sentiment, thinking and actuality coexist in Tozan`s poems. Tozan`s poem originates from knowledge as it continues towards professionalism. From the point of view of poetry we might surmise that the knowledge as such does not interest us so much. We find ourselves surrounded by poems addressed to future times. Some of the readers for whom Tozan Alkan`s style is familiar with may in all probability encounter decades from now will find themselves treading the same path. Another important point that is remarkable in Tozan Alkan`s poetry is his fidelity to the fact that a poem is written in words. Each word in poems finds itself a home in this state of consciousness. Every single word is in its place. The language as a role to play in functions beyond linguistic consciousness. In other words the language is self explanatory.  This means that the language’s role is not limited; so as a means of communication, this critical point is hardly met with in other poets. In other words to show the intention of teaching as it has recourse to words while in thinking he also abides by the meaning of these words.