Yahya Kemal Beyatlı
1884 – 1958
Who was Yahya Kemal Beyatlı?
Yahya Kemal was born as Ahmet Âgâh on December 2, 1884 in Skopje, then in the Ottoman Empire. He wrote under pen names such as Agâh Kemal, Esrar, Mehmet Agâh, and Süleyman Sadi. He came from a prominent family, whose roots could be traced back to the Ottoman court, and he was educated at various private schools. As he was about to start his higher education, severe disagreements between his parents kept him away from school for some time. When he tried to return to school, he was turned away because it was too late into the semester. Little did he know that this intermission was to become a major turning point in his life. This time coincided with the oppressive regime of Abdülhamit II, and Yahya Kemal got involved various anti-regime movements. To avoid getting arrested, he escaped to Paris, France in 1903. During his time abroad, he met important Turkish intellectuals, politicians and writers, who were also exiles. He traveled extensively in Europe,and was exposed to various cultures. He developed a fondness for literature and was influenced by the French romantic movement. He eventually decided that he wanted to write poetry, and he first studied the historical works of French Parnasse poets. Consequently, he sought out a way to revitalize Turkish Divan poetry in order to create smooth and pure poetic lines.
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