- Category: PA 2009
Ilyas Tunç was born in Ordu, Turkey in 1956, and spent much of his early life there. In 1979, he graduated from the Gazi Educational Institute in Ankara and taught in primary and secondary schools until he retired in 2007. Tunç's poems and essays have been published in numerous Turkish magazines and anthologies as well South African ones such New Coin , Botsotso and LitNet.
His first poetry collection Kis Bir Alkis miydi was published by Biçem Press in 1992. 1994 saw him win the prestigious Ali Riza Ertan Poetry Award and the publication of his second collection, Kül ve Kopus (Damar Press, 1994). The collection received the 1995 Poetry Prize of Damar Literary Magazine and Orhan Murat Ariburnu Poetry Award (Special Jury Award). In his third book Fetus Günlügü (Pervaz Press, 2002), Tunç' tells the story of a foetus in lyric sequences. His book of prose poems, Savrulmalar was published by Ekin Press in 2004.
In 2008, Tunç' won the Ceyhun Atuf Kansu Poetry Prize for his book Sesler Incelikler (Artshop Press, 2008), which he subsequently translated into English, in collaboration with the South African poet Robert Berold. Some of his poems have also been translated into Afrikaans by Charl-Pierre Naude and into Zulu by Angifi Dladla.As a poetry translator, Tunç has three manuscripts in Turkish in press: An Anthology of Contemporary South African Poetry , The Poet's Coat (Selected Poems of Martin Espada) and Song of the Quiet Life (Cai Tianxin's Selected Poems).
Tunç comments: “The future of poetry is closely bounded up with the fate of language and imagination. Poetry will survive as long as humans protect their own words and metaphors from the age of globalization that blurs cultures and identities.” Karnaval is his latest collection of poems. (Artshop Press, 2009).