Bilir was the Guest Speaker for the BBP Poetry Reading Event

On November 10th, Ali F. Bilir attended the poetry reading event as the guest speaker, organized by Big Bend Poets (BBP), a chapter of Florida State Poets Association.


The poetry reading event started with a short speech by Bilir. After reading verses from his famous poems in both Turkish and English, Bilir answered questions by poetry lovers. Meeting concluded with poems read by amateur and professional poets. This is the second BBP poetry reading event, following his first appearance in October 2008.

Bilir’s daughter Defne Bilir, a PhD. candidate at Florida State University, served as an English translator for the event. She also recited Ali F. Bilir’s poems in English.

BBP is a North Florida based poetry society open to public. The organization’s purpose is to promote poetry to benefit the community. BBP group meets second Tuesday of each month at one of the local bookstores in Tallahassee.

Ali F. Bilir`s Poem is in Florida State Poets Association’s Anthology Twenty-Seven

Bilir`s poem “Violet Scented Nights” from his book “Migration Ballads” (Plain View Press, 2008), is in the Anthology Twenty-Seven (2009) by Florida State Poets Association, Inc.

In his poem, Bilir shares an incredible night under the vast African sky, when traveling Europe and North Africa by foot in 1967.

Violet Scented Nights

Year: 1967
An autumn wanderer,
I ached for Istanbul
as I crossed through
the Straits of Gilbraltar
in a small, worn-out fishing boat.

On a desert evening in Algeria,
I lay down on the sandals
along the Mediterranean sea
and counted falling stars
on my fingertips.

My God, how high was
the sky?
And Africa!

The night smells violet
whenever the isolation
in me is touched.

Translated by Mehmet Ali Sulutaş
Edited by Susan Bright