THE PLEASURES OF EMPTY LOTS by Efe Murad
120 x 170mm, 56 pages, Black & white printing, Perfect bound, Softcover, Ed. of 400, 2021
“I left Istanbul after graduating from high school, in 2006. It was only in July 2015, less than a year after Erdoğan assumed the presidency, that I found myself living in the city again full-time, to conduct manuscript research and improve my Classical Arabic reading skills. My parents’ railroad apartment was a location where I lacked the liberty to edit my poems in peace and to cultivate the sense of ‘poetic bewilderment’ so beneficial to my practice. I therefore had to put on my shoes and abandon it.”
And with that, poet Efe Murad sets off into the streets of his native Istanbul, wandering in search of empty benches, weedy lots, and myrrh-scented subterranean shrines—gaps in the claustrophobic concrete, beyond the reach of the regime and the police, where a young poet with his pockets full of inky drafts is free to sip a can of beer and puff like a magic dragon. Finally, at the end of a dead-end overlooking the sea, Efe finds a spot where he can edit his visceral verse in something like peace as the sun sets, a coup brews, and jellyfish accumulate off the coast of Kadıköy.
Cover painting by Can Aytekin. Includes fragments of Efe’s poems, handwritten by Annabelle Binnerts, and a street map by Begüm Tanrıverdi Bölükbaş.