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Neyzen Tevfik

 

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  Neyzen Tevfik

Neyzen TevfikNeyzen Tevfik (March 24, 1879 – January 28, 1953) was a Turkish poet, satirist, and ney player (which is what Neyzen means in Turkish). He was born in Bodrum on March 24, 1879, and died in Istanbul on January 28, 1953.

He learned Persian as a young man, and became a Mevlevi in İzmir. He then moved to Istanbul and continued his Mevlevi practice in Galata and Kasımpaşa. In 1902 he became a Bektashi dervish.

His interest in poetry influenced him into meeting with Mehmet Akif Ersoy. He also visited Egypt for sometime between 1908 and 1913.

Neyzen Tevfik's fame in the popular Turkish culture is mainly due to his virtuosity with the ney. Moreover, he was also a heavy drinker while practicing a form of Islam, which was very problematic due to the ban on drinking in Islam. He therefore is also a symbol of a clash between the orthodox Islamic doctrine, and the Bektashi order that he was in, as illustrated in the following translation of his writing:

“The disbeliever's book has neither beginning nor end.
A few pages from its middle is all we ever grasp.
For religion's sake and fear of blasphemy we endure woe.
Reason cannot perceive where righteousness may go.”


Neyzen Tevfik was known for his colorful, bohemian lifestyle and for verse that could be savagely caustic in its wit. He often introduced himself as "Neyzen Tevfik, whose three-dimensionality is manifested in his music, his poetry, and his rakı." His poetry is imbued with social awareness, philosophy, and depth and it invites the reader to partake in a rational, common-sense morality. As a poet, Neyzen Tevfik is unique in the literature of the late Empire and early Republic.

During his lifetime, two books of his work, Hiç ("Nothing") and Azab-ı Mukaddes ("The Sacred Torment") were published. Many other anthologies of his poetry and satire were published posthumously. Neyzen Tevfik was also the composer of works of Classical Turkish music.
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

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