This trek across the soundscapes of Rum culminates in the city of Kırşehir, where Sultan Valad’s followers attempted to spread the teachings of their master. Here one finds Gülşehri and Aşık Paşa, two of the earliest poets of Anatolian Turkish, adapting the poetry of Rumi for new ends. Not only did these poets fashion a literary genealogy that bound Turkish poetry to its Persian and Arabic antecedents, but they also composed verse in a dizzying array of languages, including Arabic, Persian, Turkish—and, in one case, even Armenian. Far from spurning the poetry of ‘others,’ the earliest poets of Anatolian Turkish sought to preserve difference—linguistic, ethnic, devotional—within an Islamic hermeneutic frame.
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