I’ve said so many times: “You must read Igor Isakovski’s poems!”, but I’ve never said why. I guess it’s time.
We don’t follow contemporary poets. Especially, in the last years, the interest in poetry has decreased. We know so few new poets after “Second New Movement”, if we haven’t gotten stuck in the “Strange” era. With this reality inside our borders we don’t get a chance to know poets from abroad.
I’ve come across Igor Isakovski’s poems thanks to his book “F.ck You Isakovski” launch gathering in May. I had the chance to hear the poems from himself in his language, to which I am not even a little bit familiar. Even so, I had a strange feeling as if I understood what he was saying. When Gökçenur Ç, who translated his poems to Turkish, started to read, in a way, understanding became tangible.
The first poem selected for the book “Looking for an Inspiration?” is like a guide to Isakovski’s poetry. He’s inspired from his suffering caused by his awareness, rebellion in times of defeat, things he can hold onto when he’s at the bottom, his journeys, love and passion, eligible literature and also more importantly, in my opinion, from the doubt in himself. When reading with these elements in hand you come to understand easily the source of the real sorrow in his poems. Yet because of this, the caressing on your cheek through his lines becomes an instant smack. It’s not an intentional smack given by poet, it is caused by the bond he builds with the reader and the fact that he touches in the right place.
ted poems for this book let you read, without thinking behind closed meaning as “what did the poet want to say”, with the Isakovski’s emotion flow, fell to raise, undefeated, with pain, passion, sometimes the affection of a father, and mostly with “awareness”. You need to take a long or short break to breathe in after every poem. I, generally, tend to read all at once when I first meet with a poetry book. Actually, I couldn’t do it with this one. My first attempt ended when I arrived to the sixth poem: “Alright”, which starts with these lines: “alright, let me confess to myself: / I am alone. full stop.” I stopped right there. I’ve heard this poem at the reading. Actually, I thought that the fact that I had already heard it shouldn’t affect my reading. I was wrong. I decided to read it by putting on his loneliness and giving breaks. I didn’t touch the book for a while. When I decided to go on with my readings I went to where I was, to “Alright”. I compare this poem to strong booze, if you drink it slowly you get the taste of it all over in your palate, but if you drink it fast, all at once, you get smashed.
The following one, “Gentle Poem”, gets my upside down balance right, even though it has lines like poet’s smacks on your face, as in, “never managing to be satiated with food, words, and music / – I’ll screw myself up with too much love for life”.
He confessed that he’s a caring father in “You Sleep Here…”, but he’s never a hypocrite. If a father leaves behind this book for his offsprings, they would understand him and his pain, and be aware of life’s reality, which will lead them to be good person. I don’t think – for sure – that the poet planned something like that. This is totally my humble opinion.
His irony peaks in the poem which gave the name to the book: “Fuck you, Isakovski” (I don’t cite any line from it, especially; the whole poem is a wicked grin in my face).
After reaching the top, Isakovski does not push you from the back and let you fall from the cliff. He takes your hand and goes on describing his experiences until he says goodbye. In “Reclining on Verses” he says: “all around me verses / on top of me verses beneath me verses / like tender butterflies like golden dust / they run away like a flock of mute fish / in the sky’s pond that shines in gold / golden as silence”. His journey ends in Istanbul with “Seagulls Above The Rooftops” with these lines: “tonight, a seagull was chasing a dove. / a dove came to defend the dove: / more seagulls came. / there’s no justice in the sky. / in the nights above Istanbul. and at all.” I guess, because of his sincerity, you don’t want to lose his hand and go on reading few poems back not to finish the book.
I’d read the book for many times before I started to write this review. In the end, I told myself: “Igor Isakovski isn’t mimicking anything, he’s not writing random verses, and he picks the right words and builds in a poem… so he does poems”.