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ÂŞIK VEYSEL (Şatıroğlu)

Minstrel (b. 1894, Sivrialan village / Şarkışla / Sivas – d. 21 March 1973). His surname was Şatıroğlu. In the village of Sivralan of 50 houses (formerly called Söbalan), in which he was born and lived until his late juvenile years, the Şatıroğlu family used to live on agriculture and stock-breeding.

He lost one of his eyes because of smallpox, which he had when he was seven years old and lost sight on the other eye in an accident. He began to play the bağlama* and to sing upon the advice and encourage of his father, who hoped him to be consoled. His sorrow deepened even more, when he lost his mother and father in 1920. The poet Ahmet Kutsi Tecer, who was the director of National Education in the province of Sivas in 1930, helped him to be recognized. At the ceremony of folk poetry organized by Ahmet Kutsi Tecer in Sivas on 5 January 1931, he attracted public attention. He was invited to Ankara on the 10th anniversary of Republic (1933). He sang his poems at cafés, by playing the bağlama*. He was appointed as a lecturer for folk songs at the Village Institutes. He sang his poems at the Arifiye, Hasanoğlan (1943-44) and Çifteler Village Institutes, at the People's Houses, and on radios. On an exclusive resolution by the Turkish Grand National Assembly, he was given regular salary for his contributions to the Turkish language and national unity.

Influencing many succeeding poets, as one of the greatest poets of Turkish literature, Aşık Veysel expressed in his poems the very transitive nature of the world, the reality of death, and the necessity to control the will, and dealt with thoughts and beliefs prevailing in the traditional folk poetry. He also renounced the deep resentment between people, and praised love for land, as a rural poet. He developed a world of poetry on learning by hearing. He has some poems that are the products of his knowledge of Sufism, which he obtained via the lodge culture. As a great minstrel of the Republican Era, he is regarded as the last representative of the tradition of folk poetry, which was initiated by Yunus Emre. Thus, like all minstrels, he wrote his poems in a clear and purified language, understandable by the people. His life was filmed under the name Karanlık Dünya (The Dark World) which was produced by Metin Erksan.


Âşık Veysel'den Deyişler (Poems from Âşık Veysel, 1944), Sazımdan Sesler (Sounds from my Bağlama*, 1949), Âşık Veysel Hayatı ve Şiirleri (Âşık Veysel, His Life and Poems, 1953), Dostlar Beni Hatırlasın (Friends Shall Remember Me, collected poems, edited by Ümit Yaşar Oğuzcan, 1970).