Like a treasure-filled storehouse to which we have lost the key, Ottoman lyric poetry is almost unknown today, particularly among Western readers. Yet, during the centuries in which the Ottoman Empire was one of the world's great powers, poetry was its central medium of cultural expression. From love to the most profound search for spiritual truth to impassioned pleas for employment or largesse, everything that touched people deeply was expressed in poetry.
This anthology, the first major English translation of Ottoman poetry in nearly a century, unlocks the storehouse. The authors offer free verse translations of 75 lyric poems (whose original Ottoman Turkish texts are also included), spanning a period from the fourteenth through the early twentieth centuries.
In addition to the poems, the authors provide concise background information on Ottoman history and literature, informative notes to the poems, and brief biographies of the poets. These materials give students and general readers sufficient context to understand the poems, without burdening the reading experience.