Ed Foster interview in Turkish Newspaper
Edward Foster: Over the years, Turkish writing has been an ongoing fascination
15 March 2012 / AYDOGAN VATANDAŞ, NEW YORK
When “Summer’s End” by one of the most remarkable novelists in Turkey, Adalet Agaoğlu, was translated into English in 2009, I never forgot the name she mentioned: “This is all thanks to Edward Foster.”
In America, he is a well-known poet, critic, essayist and editor whose works have been translated into many languages. He is also a professor of history and associate dean for administration in the College of Arts and Letters at Stevens Institute of Technology and a former visiting professor at Drew University Graduate Faculty and Beykent University (İstanbul) and was a Fulbright lecturer at Hacettepe University in Ankara and at İstanbul University.
I recently interviewed this modest man about his work and ongoing fascination with Turkish literature.
How would you describe yourself to a Turkish audience unfamiliar with your work?
I guess that would depend on the circumstances. In the US, I’m best known perhaps as a poet and as a publisher of poetry, yet most people at my university would think of me primarily as an academic and a critic, and as such, I have published a number of scholarly books. My association with Turkish universities has been as an academic also, but a few of my poems have been translated into Turkish, and I have done poetry readings in İstanbul and Izmir. In addition my publishing company has also published a number of Turkish works in translation, and more are planned.
What were you like as a child?
I grew up in a small village in the hills of western Massachusetts in New England. The village is now mostly a suburb and country residence, but when I was young, it was fairly isolated and largely woods and farmland (there is only one working farm left). We were rather poor. Our father died when my brother and I were quite young, but we had a very caring mother, and though we had few of the things that our neighbors took for granted (a car, for example), we were not particularly unhappy when we were little. Since our mother worked long hours, we were free much of the day to explore the woods and the countryside. I’ve never lost the love of nature that I learned then.