Poetry and illustrations by Sevinç Çalhanoğlu
Cover painting by Ürün Ünal
Published by Bored Wolves
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fragments, and performative dialogue, arranged together with abstract monochromatic watercolors; and the previously unpublished “Melancholia: An Inventory,” a prose-poetry hybrid of domestic diary and institutional guided tour, illustrated with drawings of household artifacts.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.
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