Live Virtual Group Session: 6pm EST April 5th 2021

Thank you to everyone who joined for this session! In honor of just having passed our one-year anniversary of launching our virtual group sessions, we are revisiting a text that was unfortunately interrupted one year ago.

That text is “The Mailman” by Nazim Hikmet, posted below.

Our prompt for this session, again, was: “Write a letter you’d like to deliver.”

More details on this session will be posted, so check back!

Participants are warmly encouraged to share what you wrote below (“Leave a Reply”), to keep the conversation going here, bearing in mind that the blog of course is a public space where confidentiality is not assured.

Also, we would love to learn more about your experience of these sessions, so if you’re able, please take the time to fill out a follow-up survey of one to two quick questions!

Please join us for our next session Friday April 9th at 12pm EDT, with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.

The Mailman, Nazim Hikmet  from Hungarian travel notes
Author(s): NAZIM HIKMET, Randy Blasing and Mutlu Konuk
Source: The American Poetry Review, Vol. 23, No. 2 (MARCH/APRIL 1994), pp. 38-39
Published by: Old City Publishing, Inc.
Whether at dawn or in the middle of the night,
I've carried people news
– of other people, the world, and my country,
               of trees, the birds and the beasts –
                               in the bag of my heart.
I've been a poet,
                which is a kind of mailman.
As a child, I wanted to be a mailman,
not via poetry or anything
but literally – a real mail carrier.
In geography books and Jules Verne's novels
my colored pencils drew a thousand different pictures
                 of the same mailman– Nazim.
Here, I'm driving a dogsled
                                                            over ice,
canned goods and mail packets
                                                           glint in the Arctic twilight:
I'm crossing the Bering Strait.
Or here, under the shadow of heavy clouds on the steppe,
I'm handing out mail to soldiers and drinking kefir.
Or here, on the humming asphalt of a big city,
I bring only good news
                                                                 and hope.
Or I'm in the desert, under the stars,
a little girl lies burning up with fever,
and there's a knock on the door at midnight:
The little girl opens her big blue eyes:
her father will come home from prison tomorrow.
I was the one who found that house in the snowstorm
and gave the neighbor girl the telegram.
As a child, I wanted to be a mailman.
But it's a difficult art in my Turkey.
In that beautiful country
                a mailman bears all manner of pain in telegrams
                                and line on line of grief in letters.
As a child, I wanted to be a mailman.
I got my wish in Hungary at fifty.
Spring is in my bag, letters full of the Danube's shimmer,
                                                                  the twitter of birds,
and the smell of fresh grass –
letters from the children of Budapest
                                to children in Moscow.
Heaven is in my bag . . .
One envelope
"Memet, Nazim Hikmet's son,
Back in Moscow I'll deliver the letters
to their addresses one by one.
Only Memet's letter I can't deliver
or even send.
Nazim's son,
highwaymen block the roads –
                                 your letter can't get through.