lundi 21 mai 2007

MUHAMMED FUZULI, a great Turkmen Poet

Muhammed Fuzuli

(born circa 1498 in Kerbela, Iraq - died in 1556 in Kerbela, Iraq)


Fuzuli is one of the greatest Azeri-Turkish poets. His real name is Muhammed Suleiman oglu (poet’s name and patronymic).

Fuzuli belonged to the Turkic tribe of Bayat, one of the Turkoman tribes that was scattered all over the Middle East, Anatolia and the Caucasus from X-XI century. Although Fuzuli’s ancestors were of nomadic origin, Fuzuli’s family had long been town-dwellers. At that time the area where Fuzuli lived was a part of the Safavid State headed by the leader of the Turkmen Shiites Shah Ismayil Safavi. Young Fuzuli devoted a poem to Shah Ismayil named Bang-u-Badeh, where he praised his reign.

Fuzuli was a versatile and learned man, and was both ambitious to possess these qualities, and proud in possessing them. He wrote: "…I am master of all the arts in discussing beauty of expression and in disputing agreeableness of style with those who are masters of one art only."

This demonstrates the total "presumption" ("fuzuli" in Arabic), but also the "perfection" of Fuzuli. Thus, the poet explains his nom de plume, which literally means 'presumptuous', but which also brings to mind 'fuzul', the plural of 'fazl' meaning "virtue". He chose this pseudonym in order not to be confused with others and to be "unique". He was sure that because of its unpleasant meaning nobody else would adopt it.

Fuzuli has left us writings in Azeri-Turkish (his mother tongue), Persian and Arabic. This trilingualism was not rare among the Turkic writers of the medieval period and is explainable by their cultural formulation, which was based, in fact, on Arabic religious and scientific tradition and on Persian literary tradition. In Fuzuli’s case the use of the three languages was conditioned also by his particular environment, because all three tongues were in use in Iraq, which was first a part of the Safavid State in the XVI century and later became a part of the Ottoman Empire in 1532.

The ability to write in more than one language was one of the things of which Fuzuli was most proud and one of his favorite habits was to use two or three languages alternately in his poetry or prose. He would blend Arabic, Persian, and Turkish phrases and words in a complicated fabric of inverted images, of hidden allusions which defies translations and was intended for the initiated Moslem reader.

The problems of appreciating Ottoman poetry are those of any foreign culture: differences in outlook, history, tradition and verse forms. Since the Divan poets did not seek novelty or individual expression, moreover, their excellence lies in the depth to which they exploited Arabic and Persian forms — which means that all-important subtleties are often lost in translation.

His works transcended the highly formalized Islamic literary aesthetic and influenced many poets up to the 19th century. His most famous poems include his rendition of the Muslim classic Leylâ ve Mecnun, a celebrated allegory depicting the attraction of the human spirit for divine beauty. His two poetry anthologies, one in Azerbaijani Turkish and one in Persian, contain his most lyrical verses.

Fuzuli was only one of a galaxy of outstanding Divan poets, women included — Baqi, Sultan Suleyman, Hayali, Tashcali Yahya Bey, Ruhi-i Baghdad, Naili, Nedim, Seyh Galip. Similar lists compiled for the other schools would at least mention Suleyman Celebi and Yunus Emre.

Fuzuli lived in constant need, which we know from his numerous poetic complaints. The great poet died of cholera in Kerbela in 1556.
(Part of these notes were taken from Encyclopaedia Britannica).

Poem "Leyli and Mejnun" (excerpts)
1. Chapters III - XII

I would like to add the following comment:

Contrary to the information provided on MSN Encarta, i.e. "Fuzuli, poète turc d'origine kurde irakienne"!!! = "Fuzuli, Turkish poet of Iraqi Kurdish origin"!!!

FUZULI was NOT of KURDISH origin, he belonged to a TURKMEN tribe.

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