Under This Saffron Sun

The new book looks beyond the idea of ‘enemy’ towards friendship, love and commonality. Travelling through Turkey – Istanbul, Bursa, Kaş, Bozcaada Island, the poet experiences loving friendships emerging out of difference but with a common human thread. Significant poems emerge on Bozcaada, once Tenedos. A small Turkish island of wine growing and red poppies, its village life fits well with a poet who grew up in the small seaside town of Shellharbour in New South Wales Australia.

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Description

But I begin here in the body,’ I say
—hand sweeping up my trunk between breasts—
‘and the poem slides along my skin,
it moves up through the heart and out…’

This book embodies Robyn Rowland’s love for the people, the cities, the land, the history of Turkey. So much richness is here to be enjoyed, as she introduces us to a country with its nine layers of civilisation, its food and colour, stone and tile and dome, the people she meets as she travels across the country. The land has me captive, she writes, and reading these poems, it is not hard to see why with their wealth of imagery, their evocative detail.

Ron Pretty AM, the left hand mirror, Australia

Don’t grieve. Anything you lose comes round in another form. These comforting words of the Sufi master, the poet Rumi, are used as the title of one of the last poems in this book. To get there we, as readers, are taken by the indefatigable traveller Robyn Rowland on a journey into the mystery of the country that is Turkey. These poems are alive to the ancient past as well as to more recent displacements, wars and pitiable erosions. From intense mother love to the divine love evidenced in the dervish rapture, this poet’s credo is surely all you need is love. Everywhere here a flag is hoisted for our common and shared humanity, in language rich, resonant, precise, and eminently fit for purpose. From Istanbul to Cappadocia, to Marmaris, a book of the good things we find on this earth: a song of colour, pattern, taste and feeling, weaving that needs the map inside the hands as she so memorably puts it. Here is a testament to witness and friendship, the griefs of a life touched on and set down, the ultimate healing solace to be found in the authenticity of connection.

Paula Meehan, Geomantic, Ireland

These are poems that stroll in Kadıköy, get excited in Kapadokya, rest in Kaş, pop into Gülhane, blossom in Bozcaada. They love and embrace Anatolia. Robyn Rowland feels Anatolia. With a woman’s sensibility, Rowland puts her hand under the water that flows from its heart. Her poetry blooms in the fruitful soil of Turkish through Mehmet Ali Çelikel’s meticulous translations; a language the poet clearly loves. You will meet a woman with humanism in her heart; whose homeland is empathy.

Didem Gülçin Erdem, Boşluklara Doğru ilerleyelim, Turkey
Sample poems from Under This Saffron Sun –Safran Güneşin Altında
Lost Pearl

for Serhat

Bone-white, the full moon
threads itself round curtain cracks,
through the lace cloth of my heart,
the same moon that lays itself
on your sheet of water
harboured below your window,
far away in space, in time,
both of us on islands, decades apart.
You placed a shell ring on my finger.
The sea gave it to you for me.
Solid twist knotted where a gem might be,
its interior is softly polished, the inside
of an oyster, from which the pearl fell.

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