While walking in Kadıköy, if you come across the lines “Life is short, birds are flying” on the paving stones, you will immediately understand that you are right in front of the house where Cemal Süreya lives. Let’s review together the life, poems and relationship of Cemal Süreya, a poet who is considered one of the important names of contemporary Turkish literature and who has made great contributions to the development of Turkish literature with his immortal poems and original perspective.
Cemal Süreya was born in Erzincan in 1931 and died in Istanbul on January 9, 1990. He was a talent that attracted attention from the first years he stepped into the world of literature. Süreya graduated from Istanbul University Business Administration Department in the late 1950s and worked in journalism and publishing for a while. However, he gained his real fame and recognition with his poems.

Cemal Süreya, one of the poets of the “Second New” movement, generally dealt with universal themes such as love, death, loneliness and human relations in his poems. He explains these themes using simple and fluent language. An original and impressive aspect of his poems comes from his ability to touch human emotions and inner world. Readers can easily identify their own emotional experiences and thoughts with Cemal Süreya’s verses.

Cemal Süreya, who has written poetry books such as Üvercinka, Göçebe, Kiss Me Then Give Me Birth, Opening on the Cliff, Hot Nal, Güz Bitık, Sevda Sözleri, as well as works in genres such as essays, criticism, diaries and anthologies, is especially known for his love poems. It approaches love, passion and lost love with emotional depth and sincerity. Therefore, Cemal Süreya’s poems are loved and appreciated by many readers. The sincerity of his poems causes him to touch people’s emotional worlds and encourage his readers to think.

It is a frequently told literary gossip that when Cemal Süreya fell in love with the same woman as Sezai Karakoç, a famous poet like himself, he made a bet about whose love would be preferred, and when he was rejected by the woman he loved and lost the bet, he gave up one of the two letters “y” in his surname. In other words, Cemal Süreya is a man of love who was able to give up his surname when his love was not reciprocated.

Cemal Süreya’s relationship with Istanbul is also reflected in his poems. As a poet living in Kadıköy, the streets, people and atmosphere of Istanbul constitute an important part of his poems. Istanbul appears frequently in Cemal Süreya’s poems and reflects the magic, complexity and beauty of the city. The poet treats Istanbul not only as a place but also as a world of emotions and thoughts. This contributes to the depth and diversity of his poems.

“A wall in Istanbul, a church on the wall
You are eating apples naked
You eat apples all the way to the middle of the sea
You eat apples to the middle of my heart
On the one hand, our youth is in deep sorrow.
On the one hand, the train full of women of Sirkeci

Cemal Süreya’s poems, decorated with images, hidden with word games and containing small playfulness, are considered to be a part of an important transformation in the contemporary periods of Turkish literature. His language is known for being simple and understandable, which helps him bring his poems to a wide readership. Additionally, his ability to touch people’s inner worlds makes his poems timeless.

A while ago, quotes from five different poems of the famous poet were written on some of the paving stones in front of Cemal Süreya’s house in Kadıköy, Caferağa District, on Cemal Süreya Street, which bears his name today. Cemal Süreya, whose poems such as “Life is short, birds are flying”, “The day freedom comes, it is forbidden to die that day” were written within the scope of the “Living Streets Project”, will be remembered by his loved ones and literature lovers not only on the anniversary of his death, but every day.

The poems of Cemal Süreya, who is considered a modern genius of Turkish literature, stand out with their impressive expression of deep emotions and human relationships. His love poems are some of his most well-known and beloved works. Additionally, the influence of Istanbul is clearly seen in his poems. Cemal Süreya’s works are an important part of the rich heritage of Turkish literature and his art will continue to be a source of inspiration for future generations.

How to Get to Kadıköy?
On the Anatolian Side of Istanbul, where the continents meet, Aspera Hotel Altunizade, next to the transportation lines, is located in a very central location to go to Kadıköy. You can go from Altunizade to Kadıköy by any public transportation vehicle you want. Many buses and minibuses departing from near the hotel can take you to Kadıköy, one of the most lively and crowded corners of the city, within 15 minutes. Or you can take a taxi from the hotel to Kadıköy, which takes about 10 minutes. You can reach Kadıköy and see for yourself the street where Cemal Süreya, one of the poets whose name is associated with Istanbul, lived.