Istanbul, capital of two great empires, confluence of Asia and Europe, has called forth poetry throughout her long history, from paupers and sultans, natives and visitors alike. When Mehmet the Conqueror first wandered through the ruins of the Byzantine palace, it was with the words of the Persian poet Firdusi on his lips: ‘The spider spins its web in the palace of the Caesars, An owl hoots in the towers of Afrasiab’. Since then the silhouette of thousand-year-old domes and tapering minarets, the sunsets reflected nightly in a thousand palace windows and the bustle of her markets have inspired Sultan Süleyman, W. B. Yeats and Nâzim Hikmet, amongst others, to salute one of the world’s most remarkable cities.
Ateş Orga is a writer and a record producer who has taught at both Surrey and Istanbul Technical Universities. His books include biographies of Beethoven and Chopin, and he contributes regularly to Cornucopia, Andante, and International Piano.
‘A wonderful cache of treasures and a great deal of pleasure between its covers’
The Sunday Times
‘An ideal starting point for discovering Turkey’s rich poetic tradition’
Isabel Hunter, Time Out Istanbul