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[Masters of Our Culture]

KARACAOGLAN (1606 - 1689)      

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A Turkish folk poet. He ushered a new era in the tradition of Turkish folk poetry with his poems in which he established a universe with an effective language and emotions. He is thought to have been born in 1606 and died in 1679 or 1689. There is no certain knowledge about his life.

In some resources his name takes place as Simayil and in some of his poems he is named as Halil and Hasan. According to memories of Hodja Hamdi Efendi from Aksehir, Karacaoglan was brought up as an orphan and went to foreign lands at an early age. He spent most of his life in the areas Cukurova, Maras, and Gaziantep. Like his birth place, his death place is not known either. It is understood from his poems that he lived a long life. According to memories of Hodjaa Hamdi Efendi, he died in Cezel Plateau in Maras at the age of ninety-six. And according to the latest findings, his tomb is thought to be at Karacaoglan Hill in the village Cukur in the district Mut in Icel.

The source of his poems is composed of traditions of the nomadic society in which he was born and brought up and the environment which he lived in and assumed as his homeland. The life styles, perception and thinking way of Turkmen clans living in the regions Southeast Anatolia, Cukurova, Taurus and Gavurdagi brought an entirely new way of saying to poetry literature by being combined with their personalities.

The themes in his poems are nature and love. Other themes are leave, living in foreign lands, missing the homeland and death. Beloved are pronounced with their own names such as Elif, Anşa, Zeynep, Huru, Dondu, Done, Esma, Emine, Hatice for the first time in his poems.

Karacaoglan fell in love with them while some of them were filling their buckets at a head of water, while some were carrying small buckets on their shoulders and going to fountain, and while some were making buttermilk or weaving carpet. He also frequently uses words with sexual meaning such as love and making love in his poems. The vivid beloved gets clearer with sexual motifs and takes place impressively in his poems. He intensively uses local words.

An important aspect of his poems is that they are close to “mani” (a kind of verse composed of 4 lines with 7 syllables in each line and whose authors are not known) which is a kind of folk poem. “Kosma” (a kind of lyric poem whose syllable pattern is 6+5 or 4+4+3 and whose themes are love and nature), “semai” (a kind of folk poem composed of 3-5 verses with 8 syllables in each line and whose themes are love, nature and separation), “varsagi” (a kind of folk poem composed of 3-6 verses having an authentic melody) and songs have an important places in his poems. Over five hundred poems of Karacaoglan, whose poems have been researched, compiled and published since 1920 have been recorded in written sources.