Nazim Hikmet

Perceived as a radical, the poet and playwright Nazim Hikmet (1902–1963, Turkey) spent much of his life in prison, jailed by the Turkish Republic which was his home. First imprisoned at the age of 22 for working on a leftist magazine, he was later sentenced for inciting revolt in the armed forces – sailors had been found reading and discussing his poetry. He spent the last thirteen years of his life in exile, mainly in the Soviet Union. It was while in prison during the 1940s that Hikmet wrote some of his best-known poems including “On Living” (1948). Renowned for using passionate, simple language in sophisticated and innovative ways, Hikmet is regarded as the first modern Turkish poet and one of the great international poets of the twentieth century.