Talat Halman

Famous Turkish poet, translator, cultural historian. First Minister of Culture of Turkey in 1971.

During his long and on-going academic career, Prof. Halman taught at Columbia University, Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania, and New York University, where he also served as Chairman of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Literatures. Currently he is the Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Letters at Bilkent University.

Honors include Columbia University's "Thornton Wilder Prize" for lifetime achievement as translator, an honorary doctorate from the Bosphorus University, a Rockefeller Fellowship in the Humanities, the UNESCO Medal, and "Knight Grand Cross, the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire".

In 1971 he served as Minister of Culture (first person ever to hold this cabinet post), and created the Ministry. From 1980 to 1982 he was Turkey's first Ambassador for Cultural Affairs. From 1991 to 1995 he was a Member of UNESCO's Executive Board.

He has served as a Member of the Executive Committee of the American PEN Center and is currently on the Center's Translation Committee. He has been a long-time member of the Poetry Society of America. Since 1967 he is a Member of the Editorial Board of World Literature Today.

A Knight Grand Cross (GBE) was conferred on him by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Talat Sait Halman is also a well-known translator into English as well Turkish.

His books in English include two collections of his poems (Shadows of Love, published in Canada, and A Last Lullaby, published in the United States), Contemporary Turkish Literature, Modern Turkish Drama, Living Poets of Turkey, three books of the 13th century Anatolian mystic folk poet Yunus Emre, Rumi and the Whirling Dervishes (with Metin And), Süleyman the Magnificent - Poet, Turkish Legends and Folk poems, Tales of Nasruttin Hoca, and others. His 1984 book on Celalettin Rumi preceded and contributed to the wave of Rumi enthusiasm in the United States in the 1990s. His books on Rumi, Nasrettin Hoca, and Turkish Legends books are widely available throughout Turkey. He has also published books featuring selections from the work of Fazil Hüsnü Daglarca, Orhan Veli Kanik, Sait Faik, and Melih Cevdet Anday. His renditions of three Turkish plays (I, Anatolia by Güngör Dilmen, Old Photographs by Dinçer Sümer, and In Ambush by Cahit Atay) have also been published.

His books in Turkish include nine collections of his original poems, two massive anthologies of the poetry of ancient times, a book of ancient Egyptian poems, the selected poems of Wallace Stevens and Langston Hughes, an anthology of living American poets, a book of American woman poets, his verse translations of Shakespeare's Complete Sonnets, a book of Eskimo poems, a one-actor play featuring Shakespeare, etc. He has translated Robinson Jeffers' version of "Medea"', Neal Simon's "Lost in Yonkers"', Dear Liar" (based on George Bernard Shaw-Mrs. Patrick Campbell letters) and Eugene O'Neill's "The Iceman Cometh" (for the two latter plays he won Turkey's top play translation awards.) He was the first Turkish translator of William Faulkner.