Some Critical Remarks on the "Aruz Rhythmical Poems" in Turkish Minstrel Poetry

Ozarslan M.

BILIG, no.52, pp.129-146, 2010 (SSCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: Issue: 52
  • Publication Date: 2010
  • Journal Name: BILIG
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.129-146
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


This study focuses on examples of minstrel poetry employing "aruz" rhythmical patterns, which are primarily associated with Divan poetry. The study analyzes such poems known as "Aruz Rythmical Poems" (named as "divan", "selis", "semai", "kalenderi", "satranc", "vezn-i aher") with a view to resolving problems found in theoretical books concerning the form, genre, and rhythm of these poems. In specifying "aruz" rhythmical poems, theoretical books often leave issues of form, genre, and rhythm open-ended. In addition to addressing this problem, the study also counters the commonly adopted argument that these poems were first written in syllabic meter and then adapted to "aruz" meter. For this purpose, the article looks into poems by a variety of minstrel poets, focusing primarily on the work of Asik mer and Gevheri. This analysis reveals that almost none of the poems analyzed exhibit "aruz" flaws especially in the first line, couplet or quatrain. This makes it possible to argue that in these poems the "aruz" meter has been employed intentionally. Additionally, the study argues that "aruz" flaws do not diminish the artistic value of a poet since they have their source primarily in features peculiar to Turkish phonetics. The article also suggests that using a certain meter is a matter of free choice for the poet and that Divan and minstrel poetry have been composed upon the same linguistic and cultural basis although each has followed its own tradition. The study emphasizes that these two traditions have had significant interactions with each other, and one manifestation of this is works commonly known as "Aruz Rhythmical Poems".