Kurdish Literature between Classicism and Modernity Abdullah Goran (1904-1962)
He was revered as the new Kurdish national poet, but he was put in prison and the political content of his poems was demonized:
„Ich bin schuldig,
abgestempelt vom Volk als verlogen /
mein Lebensweg führt mich ins Gefängnis –
zu Ende geht meine lichthelle Welt.”
By then, Kurdish literature had also lost its innocence and had taken up the poetic struggle against political oppression. Undertaking this primarily by renewing and expanding the language, Goran became the odd man out in Kurdish literature.
But he, the father of Kurdish modernism, also wrote romantic odes in the style of Shelley. Fathers of modernism are not modernists, and yet in the poems of Abdullah Goran all facets of image deconstruction are already evident, as is the case in contemporary poetry in the Kurdish language.
Who was this Goran, whose poems now appear in a comprehensive selection in Kurdish and German?
Abdullah Suleyman Goran was born in 1904 in Helebce in Kurdistan/Iraq as the son of a formerly aristocratic family. As a young man, he studied in Kerkûk before earning his living in his hometown, first as a primary school teacher and then as a cashier in the labor office in Erbîl. In the course of the 1940s, he became increasingly interested in politics. His political activities and views eventually led to his being arrested three times and spending years in prison. In the course of the revolution in Iraq in 1958, he was released and celebrated as a hero. He spent his last years working as editor-in-chief of various magazines, as a translator from European languages into Kurdish, and as a lecturer in Kurdish language and literature at Baghdad University. In 1962, he died of cancer.
The name of the anthology “Bleeding Rose” goes back to his poem of the same name and is at the same time programmatic for his poetic style: with poetically unusual, even uncomfortable words and images, he takes up the struggle against political and social oppression – or as Goran, the poet of the people, himself wrote in one of his poems:
„Ich sagte: das Volk. –
Nein, die Verräter des Volks,
die Leiter der Institutionen.
Die Feingekleideten sind es, die Schande,
die die Fehler beim Hungrigen sucht.”
(Feryad Fazil Omar)