Rize’s local poet named a ‘living human treasure’

Rize’s local poet named a ‘living human treasure’

Rize’s local poet named a ‘living human treasure’ Osman Efendioğlu, a local poet living in Turkey’s Black Sea province of Rize, has been selected as a Living Human Treasure by UNESCO. 

The 80-year-old Efendioğlu says he knows 90 percent of “atma türkü” (a type of public poetry unique to the eastern Black Sea region) spoken in Rize and is working to collect all this poetry in a book. 

“The term ‘atma türkü’ means the art of simile. I have contributed to many public poets transferring this culture to the next generation. While doing this, I got great support from Rize governors,” he said during a visit to the provincial Culture and Tourism Director İsmail Hocaoğlu and Rize Governor Erdoğan Bektaş. 

“When you perform, you do it properly and educate students to adopt this culture of ours. You also make a contribution to Rize’s promotion. Collecting your repertoire in a book is a great service for our culture,” Bektaş said.

Speaking after the meeting, Efendioğlu said he first got interested in poetry when he was 10 had therefore been a poet for 70 years. 

“‘Atma türkü’ is an important cultural value and its center is Rize. I know around 200 old poems by heart. I don’t even know the number of poems that I have composed,” he said, describing his recognition as a “Living Human Treasure” by UNESCO as an “honor.”