International Nazım Hikmet Poetry Award

Nâzım Hikmet (RAN) (1902-1963)


The second of International Nâzım Hikmet Poetry Award, which is held every two years in order to make Nâzım's memory live, provide the becoming widespread of his works and to appreciate the contribution of contemporary poets in art, was won by Martinique poet Aimé Césaire. In 1995 the first award was given to Lebanese poet Adonis living in French.


Poet Adonis (Ali Esber), who first won the International Nâzım Hikmet Poetry Award, was born in Syria in 1930. He experienced the process that the country gained its liberty. He organized demonstrations against the French forces in Syria. He published his first poems during that time. He studied literature at Damascus University. He made his doctoral degree at Beirut Saint Joseph University. Influencing the whole Arab poetry from Middle East to Morocco, Adonis broke off from Arabic poetry tradition and authenticated Arabic poetry. He attempted for the Arabic poetry to establish a relationship with the world without losing its own identity. He was awarded Syria-Lebanon Best Poet Award in 1971 and the Highest Award of the International Poem Biennial in Brussels in 1986. He was elected as Stephen Mallarme Academy Member in Paris in 1983. Adonis, who is a Lebanese citizen since 1961, is living in Paris.

The Selective Board formed by Nâzım Hikmet Foundation evaluates the works by considering all works of the poets; his lines were found worth the award because they expressed with a striking language not only the dram of humanity experienced between the two world wars, but also the freedom and longing of all oppressed people during the century.


Aimé Césaire was born in Cesaire, Martinique in 1913. He was graduated from Ecole Normale in Paris. He also initiated the literature trend aiming to make the black Africans regain their 20th century identities and to provide equality in Paris. He returned to Martinique in 1939 and worked as a teacher for sometime. Having met Cesaire in 1941, André Breton assisted the better promotion of his works. Césaire, who entered the local elections as the candidate of the Communist Party in 1946, was elected as the Mayor of Fort-de-France. Upon the suppression of the revolt in Hungary in 1956 by the Soviet Union, he quitted the Communist Party and established Martinique Independent Revolution Party. He fell far from traditional forms in his poetry, made use of the freedom of the surrealistic trend and used images unique to Africa. Besides his poetry books such as Cahiers d'un retour au pays natal (Notebook of a Return to the Homeland, 1939), Les armes miraculeuses (Miraculous Arms, 1946); Soleil cou coupé (Decapitated Sun, 1948), Ferrements (Putting in Fetters, 1960), he also has plays such as La Tragédie du Roi Christophe (The Tragedy of King Cristophe, 1963) and Une saison au Congo (A Season at Congo, 1966). This last play of him was staged by famous theatre director Mehmet Ulusoy, who works in Paris, and gained great success in France and Martinique.