Poet and writer (b. 15 June 1925, Menemen / İzmir – d. 11 October 2005, İstanbul). He is the elder brother of the movie actress Çolpan İlhan. After he finished Karşıyaka Cumhuriyet Primary School and Karşıyaka Secondary School, he entered İzmir Atatürk High School. He was arrested for setting up a secret organization when he was in the first grade. His penalty was postponed due to his young age, but he was expelled from school and documented as “Cannot study in Turkey” (1941). With the decision of the Council of State he earned the right to study again and finished İstanbul Işık High School (1946). While he was a student in İstanbul University Faculty of Law, he left his education and went to Paris to join the Committee of Rescuing Nazım Hikmet (1949). He lived in the artistic and bohemian environments of Paris, to where he returned a few more times (1951-1952, 1962-1965). He joined the Socialist Party of Turkey when his first returned from Paris. He worked at Gerçek and Demokrat İzmir newspapers and wrote leading articles in Demokrat İzmir, where he worked as editor-in-chief. He worked as an advisor at Bilgi Publishing House in Ankara, where he settled in 1973. After 1980, he settled in İstanbul and was a publishing consultant at Sanat Olayı magazine for a while, which was published by Karacan Publishing and had been managed by Ülkü Tamer before. He married in 1968 for fifteen years.
His first poem, Balıkçı Türküsü (Folksong of the Fisherman), was published in the Yeni Edebiyat magazine (1 October 1941), and his first articles were published in İstanbul magazine (January, 1945). He became known by winning second prize at the Republican People’s Party Poetry Contest in 1946 with his poem Cebbaroğlu Mehemmed (Mehemmed the Son of Cebbar). He won the 1974 Yunus Nadi Award with his book Tutuklunun Günlüğü (Diary of the Prisoner). Later, he published his poems and critiques in newspapers and magazines such as Gün, Genç Nesil, Adım Adım, Fikirler, Varlık, Aile, Yirminci Asır, Seçilmiş Hikâyeler, Kaynak Mavi, Yeditepe, Dost, Ataç, Yön, Yelken, Cumhuriyet, Milliyet Sanat Olayı. He worked as a columnist for Dünya and Milliyet newspapers. His connection with cinema started with his movie reviews in Vatan newspaper in 1953. After his script Sekiz Sütuna Manşet (Headline in Eight Columns), his script named Kartallar Yüksek Uçar (Eagles Fly High) was made into a 12-part TV series in 1984 and his script named Yanlış Saksının Çiçeği (Flower of the Wrong Vase) was made into a TV film in 1997; they were both broadcast by the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation. Attila İlhan, who influenced new generations by featuring among the great names of the pervious period as a poet, became more famous in the following years, and his views became an important topic to be discussed. He was against the “Strange” and “Second New” poetry movements. He became the spokesman of the “Societal Realism Movement” known as the Maviciler in Mavi magazine. He won the Turkish Language Association 1974 Poetry Award with Tutuklunun Günlüğü (Diary of a Prisoner), and the Yunus Nadi Award of 1974-1975 with his novel Sırtlan Payı (Share of the Hyena).
In his scripts, he used the name Ali Kaptanoğlu. His major films were Yalnızlar Rıhtımı (Pier of the Lonesome, directed by Lütfi Akad), Ateşten Damlalar (Fire Drops, directed by Memduh Ün), Rıfat Diye Biri (A Person Named Rıfat, directed by Ertem Gönenç), Şoför Nebahat (Driver Nebahat, directed by Metin Erksan), Devlerin Öfkesi (Rage of the Giants, directed by Nevzat Pesen) and Ver Elini İstanbul (İstanbul Give Me Your Hand, directed by Aydın Arakon). French society and his observations regarding the environment when he was in Paris formed the basis of many incidents and characters that featured in his later works. On his return to Turkey, he often got into trouble with the police. The interrogations in the Sansaryan Han played an important role in his works where death, danger and themes of tension were discussed.
In his novels, he dealt with the people of the city and the recent history of Turkey regarding the political, economical and social aspects. He was not contented with just reflecting through his characters, the lifestyle, economic and social problems of the period he dealt with, or just the big cities of Turkey like İstanbul and İzmir. But he considered at length, how Western culture was reflected in Turkey, its negative and positive effects within his characters in a structure that ran in parallel with the cities in Europe. He entered a period that might be considered his maturity period with Kurtlar Sofrası (Table of the Wolves). The characters in the five-book series Aynanın İçindekiler (The Ones Inside the Mirror), which was written later, are intellectuals who reflect the period that formed Turkey’s recent history. Historical events are discussed with political and social balance. Each of the characters, which are related to each other, emerges to the forefront and the incidents are narrated with that character’s observations.
His first poetry book Duvar (The Wall), in his own words, is a book “that discusses our daily and long-term life problems almost always under the light of freedom and happiness, carrying the optimistic romanticism of future good days, along with a social realism.” He gave examples of sensitivity both in a societal context and individually in Sisler Bulvarı (The Boulevard of Mists). In his later books, İlhan’s rich imagination and exotic images accompanied the improving language in his poetry. His poems were sometimes wrapped in a melancholic atmosphere, and sometimes a hopeful and lively one; they acquired a highly sensitive quality, woven with boisterous, striking and easily remembered images, taking as their basis the individual in society and sometimes based on narration. He also knew how to benefit from the possibilities of Divan* poetry.
POETRY: Duvar (The Wall, 1948), Sisler Bulvarı (The Boulevard of Mists, 1954), Yağmur Kaçağı (Fugitive of Rain, 1955), Ben Sana Mecburum (I’m Bound to You, 1960), Belâ Çiçeği (Flower of Trouble, 1962), Yasak Sevişmek (Forbidden Lovemaking, 1968), Tutuklunun Günlüğü (Diary of the Prisoner, 1973), Böyle Bir Sevmek (A Love Like This, 1977), Elde Var Hüzün (On the Hand There is Grief, 1982), Korkunun Krallığı (Kingdom of Fear, 1987), Ayrılık Sevdaya Dahil (Separation is Inside Love, 1993), Ayrılık Sevdaya Dahil Bütün Şiirleri:11 (Separation is Inside Love, All his Poems: 11, 2001), Kimi Sevsem Sensin-Bütün Şiirleri:12 (Whoever I Love, It is You- All his Poems:12, 2001).
NOVEL: Sokaktaki Adam (The Man on the Street, 1953), Zenciler Birbirine Benzemez (Black People Don’t Look Like Each Other, 1957), Kurtlar Sofrası (Table of the Wolves, 2 volumes, 1963-1964), Bıçağın Ucu (Tip of the Knife, 1973), Sırtlan Payı (Share of the Hyena, 1974), Yaraya Tuz Basmak (Rubbing Salt into the Wound, 1978), Fena Halde Leman (Terrible Leman, 1980), Dersaadet’te Sabah Ezanları (Morning Prayers in Dersaadet, 1981), Haco Hanım Vay (Wow! Miss Haco, 1984), O Karanlıkta Biz (Us in That Darkness, 1988), Allah’ın Süngüleri (God’s Bayonets, 2003).
SHORT STORY: Yengecin Kıskacı (Pincer of the Crab, 2003).
TRAVEL LITERATURE: Abbas Yolcu (Abbas the Passenger, 1957).
ESSAY-RESEARCH-CRITICISM-MEMOIR: Hangi Sol (Which Left Wing?, 1970), Hangi Batı (Which West?, 1972), Faşizmin Ayak Sesleri (Footsteps of Fascism, 1975), Hangi Seks (Which Sex?, 1976), Hangi Sağ (Which Right Wing?, 1980), Gerçekçilik Savaşı (War of Realism, 1980), Hangi Atatürk (Which Atatürk?, 1981), Batının Deli Gömleği (Straightjacket of the West, newspaper articles, 1981), İkinci Yeni Savaşı (Second New War, 1983), Sağım Solum Sobe (Right, Left and Home Free, newspaper articles, 1985), Yanlış Kadınlar Yanlış Erkekler (Wrong Women, Wrong Men, essay, memoir, 1985), Ulusal Kültür Savaşı (National Culture War, essay, critique, 1986), Sosyalizm Asıl Şimdi (Socialism Right Now, 1991), Aydınlar Savaşı (War of the Intellectuals, 1991), Kadınlar Savaşı (War of Women, 1992), Hangi Edebiyat (Which Literature?, 1993), Hangi Laiklik (Which Laicism?, 1995), Hangi Küreselleşme (Which Globalization?, 1997), Bir Sap Kırmızı Karanfil (One Red Carnation Stalk, 1998), Sultan Galiyef-Avrasya’da Dolaşan Hayalet (Sultan Galiev-The Ghost Wandering in Eurasia, 2000), Dönek Bereketi Cumhuriyet Söyleşileri – Nisan-Eylül 1998 (Untrustworthy Abundance, Republic Interviews – April-September 1998, 2002), Hangi Küreselleşme (Which Globalization?, 2002), Açtırma Kutuyu! (Don’t Make Me Talk!, 2004).
INTERVIEW: Cumhuriyet Söyleşileri / 1: “…Bir Sap Kırmızı Karanfil…” (Interviews in Cumhuriyet newspaper / 1: “…One Red Carnation Stalk…”, 1998), Cumhuriyet Söyleşileri 2 – Ufkun Arkasını Görebilmek (Interviews in Cumhuriyet newspaper – Being Able to See Beyond the Horizon, 1999).
SCRIPT (With their dates of broadcast on TV): Sekiz Sütuna Manşet (Headline in Eight Columns, 6 parts, 1982), Kartallar Yüksek Uçar (Eagles Fly High, 12 parts, 1983), Yarın Artık Bugündür (Tomorrow is Now Today, 1986), Yıldızlar Gece Büyür (Stars Grow at Night, 16 parts, 1992), TeleFlaş (TeleFlash, 13 parts, 1993).
TV FILM: Paranın Kiri (Money Filth, 1979).
His translations have also been published.
REFERENCE: Asım Bezirci / Papirüs (Ekim 1969) - On Şair On Şiir (1971), Mehmet Seyda / Edebiyat Dostları (1970), Mehmet Kaplan / Cumhuriyet Devri Türk Şiiri (1973), Seyit Kemal Karaalioğlu / Resimli Türk Edebiyatçıları Sözlüğü (1974), Hikmet Altınkaynak / Edebiyatımızda 1940 Kuşağı (1977), M. Kutlu / Türk Dili ve Edebiyatı Ansiklopedisi IV (1977), Oktay Akbal / Şair Dostlarım (1977), İhsan Işık / Yazarlar Sözlüğü (1990, 1998) - Türkiye Yazarlar Ansiklopedisi (2001, 2004) – Encyclopedia of Turkish Authors (2005) - Resimli ve Metin Örnekli Türkiye Edebiyatçılar ve Kültür Adamları Ansiklopedisi (2006, gen. 2. bas. 2007) - Ünlü Edebiyatçılar (Türkiye Ünlüleri Ansiklopedisi, C. 4, 2013) - Encyclopedia of Turkey’s Famous People (2013), Vecihi Timuroğlu / Yazınımızdan Portreler (1991), Durdu Şahin / Peyami Safa, Cemil Meriç ve Attila İlhan'ın Eserlerinde Batı (1994), Zeynep Ankara / Yalnız Şövalye: Attilâ İlhan (1996), Belgin Uzunöz-Oya İşeri / TRT'nin İddialı Filmi: Yanlış Saksının Çiçeği (söyleşi, Merdiven Sanat, Kasım 1997), Öner Kemal Ciravoğlu / Büyük Yolların Haydutu (fotoğraflarla yaşamöyküsü, 1997), Okan Yüksel / İzmirli Ozan Gazeteciler (1997), A. Bulut / Türkçü-Devrimci Diyalogu: Doğu Perinçek ve Attilâ İlhan'la Röportajlar (1998), İbrahim Oluklu / Tarih Öncesi Yazıları (1998), Y. Çelik / Şubat Yolcusu: Attilâ İlhan'ın Şiiri (1998), Öner Yağcı / Attilâ İlhan'ın 41. Yapıtı: Bir Sap Kırmızı Karanfil (Cumhuriyet Kitap, 28.1.1999), Muzaffer Uyguner / Attilâ İlhan'dan 1982-1983 Yazıları: Ulusal Kültür Savaşı (Cumhuriyet Kitap, 18.2.1999), Zeynep Aliye / Toplumcu Sanatçı, Sorumluluk Altındadır (Cumhuriyet Kitap, 13.5.1999), Behçet Necatigil / Edebiyatımızda İsimler Sözlüğü (18. basım, 1999), Şükran Kurdakul / Şairler ve Yazarlar Sözlüğü (6. basım, 1999), Serap Akıncıoğlu / Ayrılık Sevdaya Dahil Şiiri Üzerine Bir İnceleme (Hece, Ağustos 2000), Zeynep Aliye / Sevdanın ve Kavganın Yolcusu Attilâ İlhan - H. Bülent Kahraman / Attilâ İlhan Şiirinin Modernist Boyutu Üzerine - Yakup Çelik / Attilâ İlhan Şiirinde İnsan (Cumhuriyet Kitap, 26.10.2000), Feridun Andaç / Edebiyatımızın Yol Haritası (2000), Erol Manisalı / Attilâ İlhan'la 1000 Saat (Konuşma Notları, 2001), Ahmet Günbaş / Attila İlhan’dan Yeni mi Yeni Şiirler (Cumhuriyet Kitap, 29.3.2001), Hidayet Karakuş / Bağımsız, Demokrat, Toplumcu: Attilâ İlhan (Cumhuriyet Kitap, 5.4.2001), Ayrılık Sevdaya Dahil - Kimi Sevsem Sensin (Kitap Rehberi, Aralık 2001), Tanzimat’tan Bugüne Edebiyatçılar Ansiklopedisi (2001), Selim İleri / Adı Dilimize Deyim Olan Romanı: Kurtlar Sofrası (İş'te Kitap, Bahar 2002), Zeynep Aliye / Mavi Adam-Attilâ İlhan'la Söyleşiler (2002), Oğuz Özdem / Zeynep Aliye'den Bir Attilâ İlhan Kitabı (Cumhuriyet Kitap, 11.1.2002), Muzaffer Uyguner / Attilâ İlhan'la Erol Manisalı Konuşmaları (Cumhuriyet Kitap, 4.4.2002), Hüseyin Atabaş / Attilâ İlhan’ın Şiiri ve Arabesk Meselesi (Kum, Haziran 2002), Gönülden Esemenli Söker / Attilâ İlhan'da Kültür Sorunsalı (2002), Ümit Sarıaslan / Allah'ın Süngüleri (Edebiyat ve Eleştiri, Mart-Nisan 2003), Ayten Esgün / Attilâ İlhan’ın Aynasında Öne Çıkanlar (Kum, Eylül-Ekim 2003), İbrahim Oluklu / Seni Yazarak (Balıkesir, 2003), Ali K. Metin / Türk Şiirinde Attilâ İlhan Açmazı (Kökler, 2004), Mehmet Nuri Yardım / Yazar Olacak Çocuklar (2004).