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Forthcoming: July 9, 2024


In this bilingual collection (Turkish and English), Zafer Şenocak returns to the language of his childhood even as he writes from Germany, his home since he was eleven. Readers will find explorations of migration, exile, memory, identity, and the fine line between reason and belief — themes that have appeared throughout his career as a leading Turkish-German intellectual, but which gain new shades of meaning as he articulates them in his first language. Some poems reference mystical Islam — exploring both hidden and evident aspects of the world, the real and the dream-like — as well as Turkish poetic traditions. These poems movingly give voice to what his translator Kristin Dickinson calls “moments of cross-cultural contact and entanglement.”


The book will be a fascinating companion to his earlier collection, Door Languages, published by Zephyr Press in 2008, translated from German by Elizabeth Oehlkers Wright.


Zafer Şenocak is a prolific Turkish-German author and public intellectual, who has published ten books of poetry, seven novels, five essay collections, and numerous articles over the past 40 years. Born in Ankara in 1961, he has lived in Germany since 1970 and in Berlin since 1989. He wrote exclusively in German early in his career, but he now frequently writes in Turkish. He has won several prestigious awards in Germany, and is a frequent contributor to nationwide German newspapers.


Translator Kristin Dickinson is Associate Professor of German Studies and affiliated faculty in the department of Comparative Literature and the Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies at the University of Michigan. Her research and teaching focus on questions of migration, translation, multilingualism, and cross-cultural contact in and between German and Turkish literature. Her book, Disorientations: German-Turkish Cultural Contact in Translation (1811–1946), appeared in 2021 with Penn State University Press. She is also the co-curator of the photography exhibit “Visualizing Translation: Homeland and Heimat in Detroit and Dortmund,” and the co-creator of the public humanities project

First Light

  • First Light
    By Zafer Şenocak
    Translated from Turkish by Kristin Dickinson
    Paperback | ISBN 978-1-938890-30-7
    160 pages | Bilingual Turkish/English


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