Oktay Rifat 




Oktay Rifat 

* 10.06.1914, Trabzon, Turčija
18.04.1988, Istanbul, Turčija

Oktay Rifat, is one of the most distinguished of 20th century Turkish poets. He was the son of the poet and linguist Samih Rıfat, who was also the governor of Trabzon. He attended Ankara High School for Boys (1932) and graduated from Ankara University, Faculty of Law (1936).

He was appointed to Paris, France by the State Ministry to do his PhD, however came back after three years without completing his degree due to outbreak of World War II.

Back in Istanbul he started to work at the General Directorate of Press and Publishing (1943) and as a legal practitioner in Ankara and İstanbul. He retired when he was still a legal adviser at Turkish State Railways, İstanbul Directorate Head Office (1961-73).

His first poems were published in the review Varlık (1936-44), and he came to be known for his poems published in the reviews Aile (1947), Yaprak (1949-50) and Yeditepe (1951-57).

He became one of the pioneers of the movement called “New Poetry”, or “Strange” (Garip), with his poems published in the book Garip (Strange), which he published in collaboration with Orhan Veli Kanık and Melih Cevdet Anday in 1941.

He focused on social issues in his poems, in which he employed the features of folk poetry and thus reinvented himself. He followed the vogue of the surrealistic understanding of poetry like the other poets of the Second New movement.

Besides poetry, he wrote plays and translated works from French. He collected the Yeditepe Poetry Prize in 1955 with Karga ile Tilki (The Crow and the Fox) and the Turkish Language Association Poetry Award in 1970 with his book Şiirler (Poems).

His play Yağmur Sıkıntısı (Oppressive Air) was selected as the Best Play of the Year by the Ankara Art Fans Association and won the achievement award at the Turkish Radio and Television Art Awards Contest in 1970.

He also won the Sedat Simavi Foundation Award in 1980 with his book Bir Cigara İçimi (Smoking a Cigarette), the Madarali Novel Award in 1981 with Danaburnu (Calf Nose) and the Necatigil Poetry Award in 1984 with Dilsiz ve Çıplak (Mute and Naked). All his works were published by Adam Publications with the title Bütün Şiirleri (All Poems).

  • 1955 Yeditepe Poetry Prize

  • 1970 Turkish Language Association Poetry Award

  • 1970 Achievement award at the Turkish Radio and Television Art Awards Contest

  • 1980 Sedat Simavi Foundation Award

  • 1981 Madarali Novel Award

  • 1984 Necatigil Poetry Award