Yalvaç Ural is a champion for children’s literature in a country where children are generally encouraged to start behaving like adults the sooner the better, and where most poets begin writing while still in their teens. In such a country, a poet writing mainly for children is indeed a rarity. Ural himself developed a keen interest in music and poetry while in secondary school.
Apart from a writer he still is a practicing musician. He has played in many bands and has recently picked up the soprano saxophone. He earns his living as a journalist, having worked for several newspapers as an editor and columnist. He has also worked as an editor for a succession of publishers. His main achievement has been the publication of a wide range of children’s magazines, some twenty-five in all, over a period of twenty-three years. He is a well-known contributor to children’s programmes on Turkish television, including cartoon series.
Ural’s work for adults includes a collection of poems entitled Mirnâme (‘Book of Mutterings’) and three biographies. His work has won awards in Turkey and other countries, and has been translated in several West European and Balkan languages. Speaking about Ural’s poems for children, his countryman Enis Batur, earlier a guest at Poetry International, said: ‘At first I did not care particularly for children or children’s poetry, but when I read his, something stirred inside me as well. What more could you want?’.
[ Yalvaç Ural took part in the Poetry International Festival Rotterdam 2001. This text was written on that occasion.]