A Promenade at Home by Sevinç Çalhanoğlu
Poetry and illustrations by Sevinç Çalhanoğlu
Cover painting by Ürün Ünal
A winner of the 2021 VOLUMES (Zurich) Book Award
Here, each memory is like a child in need of protection. I myself am like an institution. Where could I go with all my institutionalism? Even if I leave, my habit will remain. I cannot break the habit of my habituation. I cannot break the habit of this habitation.
Equal parts lyric and performative, A Promenade at Home is a meticulous cataloging of possession in all its forms. Revisiting her childhood home in Istanbul in spirit, poet Sevinç Çalhanoğlu overhears a conversation between her mother and the sentient house, their dialogue a cantillated litany of decorations past and present. Meanwhile, her mother bustles about with broom and bleach, seeking to disrupt the settling of dust and malefic hexes in rooms that arrange themselves into a theatrical set.
As Sevinç proceeds to piece together painful memories of coming of age in this middle-class, Muslim household, she reckons with an interior’s ability to occupy its occupants—specifically her mother and, through osmosis and inheritance, the poet-daughter—and explores how a home touched by grief can become a haunted space. With cathartic intent, Sevinç excavates the microhistorical, retrieving memories long muffled by carpet in an effort to assuage the white noise of trauma.
I must learn to live with this noise. This noise, is here, to keep me, alive.
A Promenade at Home is comprised of two self-contained poetic works, each illustrated by Sevinç with its own of set of art: the titular “A Promenade at Home,” a weave of poems, fragments, and performative dialogue, arranged together with abstract monochromatic watercolors; and the previously unpublished “Melancholia: An Inventory,” a prose-poetry hybrid of domestic diary and institutional guided tour, illustrated with drawings of household artifacts.
Each copy of Promenade includes three sturdy, black-and-white “Door” prints tucked between its pages. Measuring a postcard-like 10.5×15 cm, these are offset prints on fibrous Munken paper of drawings of doors by Sevinç—doors, thresholds, and hallways being ever-present motifs throughout Promenade—plus a brooding floor plan.
Edition of 500
Translated, from the Turkish, by Ayça Akarsu and Cansen Mavituna
80 pages, paperback, 12×17 cm, b&w offset, sewn & glued
Printed on Arctic Munken Print Cream 115 and Pure Rough 300
Designed by Damian Nowak
Aquarelle cover painting by Ürün Ünal
Includes prints of Sevinç Çalhanoğlu drawings (10.5×15 cm each)
Sevinç Çalhanoğlu is a poet, artist, and researcher whose work examines the imprint of memory on space, and the intersection of both with literature. In addition to poems and essays, she creates interdisciplinary literary works incorporating sound and photography. She is the author of two books of poetry in Turkish: the original edition of A Promenade at Home, Evde bir gezinti (periferik) (Nod, 2016), and Et/ve/Fal (Heterotopya, 2017); and is an initiator of the Turkish poetry journal Moero. My Life in Curves Recently, a zine of hand-drawn graphs plotting her daily rhythms and habits during coronavirus lockdown, was published by Bored Wolves in 2020. She is based in Brooklyn.