Nazim Hikmet

Nazim Hikmet

Lecture & Film


Writer, Psychologist

Saturday, November 21, 2015 | 4:30 pm
170 Beacon Street, Boston

Thank you for your kind interest

Nazim Hikmet


"After Rumi, arguably  the world’s most widely read poet today,  it took eight  centuries for the Turkish language to find a new voice through the words of Nâzım Hikmet.

A harbinger  of hope, Hikmet, more than any other poet I know,  was a witness to the epic struggles of the 20th century. He’s  the Anatolian bard  giving voice to nameless peasants  forging a new nation  in the aftermath of the Ottoman empire and World War I; he’s  with Mayakovsky and Meyerhold at the Red Square  in Moscow, addressing workers and students toward a New Jerusalem. In his poems, we see Hikmet  as the Ethiopian student Taranta Babu in Rome struggling against and suffering from Mussolini’s Black Shirts.  He is in Budapest, Warsaw,  and Varna as the exiled poet from his country, wife, and son. In Rome, Paris, and Prague he breathes love through every object he sees and touches;  in Hiroshima he’s the cry in the ashes of  a  perished child pleading for no more bombs; and he’s in Havana with the Cuban people celebrating their freedom from dictatorial rule and Yankee  colonialism.

A World poet par excellence, the only country that would not give him a visa was the United States. -- Gündüz Vassaf

Writer, Psychologist

Gunduz VassafGündüz Vassaf was educated in America and Turkey. Having first worked as a clinical psychologist, he taught at Boğaziçi University until the Turkish military coup of 1980, and was subsequently visiting professor at universities in Germany and a Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Studies in Vienna, before turning to full time writing. He was also Regional Coordinator for Europe and the Middle East for the American Psychological Association’s Division of Community Psychology, a founding member of the Committee for Peace of the International Union of Psychological Science and of the Turkish Psychological Association, and the founder of the Istanbul Amnesty International Section.   Weaving philosophy, psychology, literature and anecdote his books focus on the psychology of everyday life with an overarching theme of the quest for freedom and where we stand as a species. A leading figure in Turkish intellectual life, Vassaf had a weekly cultural column in the newspaper Radikal since 1997. A biography of his life and work was published by Kürşad Oğuz under the title Gündüz Feneri in 2011.

Selected Works:

We Have Yet To Be Heard!: Turkish Workers’ Children in Europe (Daha Sesimizi Duyurmadık), 1983; Prisoners of Ourselves (Cehenneme Övgü – Gündelik Hayatta Totalitarizm), 1992; Depths of Heaven (Cennetin Dibi), 1996; Forty Years On: America-Russia (40 Yıl Önce 40 Yıl Sonra Amerika-Rusya), 2006; Judging History Judging Us (Tarihi Yargılıyorum), 2007;  Turkey, Who Are You? (Türkiye Sen Kimsin?), 2008;  Levant Chronicles (Leventname), 2009; Mostari: The Diary of a Bridge Keeper (Mostari: Bir Köprü Bekçisinin Günlüğü), 2013; Culture, Civilization, and Art (Medeniyet, Kültür, Sanat), 2014; Istanbul Cats (İstanbul’da Kedi), 2014; Bosphorus Fish (Boğaziçi’nde Balık), 2015; Nâzım (upcoming in 2015).

Photo Credit for Gündüz Vassaf: Gülay Ayyıldız Yiğitcan