Enis Akın (1964), a Turkish poet, literary critic, and translator, is one of the most controversial figures of his generation. His poetic work explored the anti-cliché, experimental, innovative areas of poetry when most of the poems at his time were either escapist or over-political due to the lingering effects of the military coup in 1980.
His first poem and poetic essay appeared in Edebiyat Dostlari [Friends of Literature], a monthly literary magazine in March 1988. Published by politically-left poets, Edebiyat Dostlari’s mission was to balance the politic and the aesthetic in literature. He lived in Melbourne, Australia between 1992 and 1996 where he worked both professionally and studied Sylvia Plath, Ted Hughes, Beat Generation, Jean Baudrillard, and Edward Said.
Enis has been publishing his free small fanzine, beyazmanto [white cloak], since November 1991. It’s title, beyazmanto is a tribute to the famous Turkish novelist Oguz Atay, and it is a craft-paper representation of Enis Akin’s literary aesthetic, and political viewpoint. He has made contributions with his essays, poems, and translations to many magazines including primarily Edebiyat ve Elestiri, Kitap-lik, Defter, Birikim, Yasak Meyve, Varlik, Heves, Oteki-siz, Siyahi, Karayazi, and Sicak Nal.
He has had numerous television appearances, and participated in panels where he provided an anti-authoritarian discourse against literature-bureaucracy (e.g. who monopolizes juries of poetry contests, government grants, and academic seats). In his essays, he has developed unique approaches to understanding important Turkish poets including Behçet Necatigil, Nazim Hikmet, Turgut Uyar, Ece Ayhan, Can Yücel, and Ilhan Berk.
An activist, he was arrested multiple times in street demonstrations during the May 1st demonstration in the late 1980’s and the Gezi Park Events in 2013. He shares a vast common ground with leftist, socialist, and anarchist authors but his cause is primarily in literature, i.e. creating an aesthetic, but a smart one at that.
In 2004, Enis translated many poems including Three Women by Sylvia Plath and published a book containing his own account of Plath’s poems. In 2017, he translated Crow by Ted Hughes and now he is working on translations of poems by Robert Creeley.
Enis Akın has been managing Natama [Incomplet] magazine and publishing house for the past five years. Natama’s goal is to create an alternative culture focusing on literature.