The third pilgrimage – Can Yücel

After the pilgrimage to Szymborska’s stone and to my daughter, the third pilgrimage was to the house of the great Turkish poet Can Yücel.

Door of his house in Datça 

After saying goodbye to my daughter, I got the idea to visit Yücel’s second house in this life – I had already visited the first one in Kuzguncuk Istanbul, because by chance some friends of mine lived there. I looked at a photo of a feral old boss on the wall with sailor’s head and pipe. Who is that?” I asked, and it turned out to be Yücel, and thus this remarkable poet magically crossed my path.

Yücel with weathered head, the grandson of an Ottoman storm captain

At Poetry International, of course, they never heard of him and he remained uninvited. You only have to open his wikipedia to see why: the psyborgs believe that the presence of curse words is the most special thing about Yücel’s poetry. So the neat, distinguished and pedantic good shepherds found him unrepresentative, it can’t miss.

It was the sight of the cactus growing into the sky that grabbed me by the throat:

A stone with his signature, and a cactus growing to the sky, that is all it takes to arouse my dismay and my awe. For in my world it is no coincidence that twenty years after his death this house still stands, overgrown, empty, with a wild garden that is a tribute to the man himself and his poetry.

the che guevara flag also still hanging there

What a monument, this house, this prickly man, who all his life never wanted to choose for the money and invariably just kept putting his energy into great poems. Poems that were critical, political, rebellious and whimsical. Poems that remained untranslated, because the political elites find it ever more pleasant to control the narrative and everything has to be flattened with the right theme.

That is why this unruly little house in the middle of a neighbourhood full of cafés managed to move me. A little later, I was in a bookstore in Datça, where a kindly old bald man with shining eyes answered my question whether he could sell the collected works of Can Yücel in the negative: they don’t exist, even twenty years after his death, nobody came up with the idea of publishing a colected works.

And so I bought everything he had separately, in Turkish, with the same picture nine times with a pensive, sad look on the back cover. Fantastic actually, a kind of statement in itself. One photo is enough for us. You will hear more about this, because I am going to see if I can do a kind of translation project together with Mavi, so that father and daughter can together create a book by this great poet that does justice to his grandcactiness.

Martinus Benders, Datça, 22-01-2022

Mountains, giants and mushrooms – in this fairytale-like collection, magic whirls and swirls, yet another reality breaks through as well – the whole world turned into The Shining, and the pilgrimage to Szymborska’s grave, a simple stone in Krakow, fails at the last minute; a journey without check marks across sixteen national borders to his daughter, however, succeeds. In its combination of fairy-tale nature, historical background and eerily topical reality, this collection of poems is Benders’ best since he lost count.


You have no time to read this, but that is because you are no longer human. If something of the original person were still alive in you, the old mycelia of childhood, then you would learn a lot from this book, indeed, with its magical knowledge, it might become your most useful possession. A book about the human imagination, and how it managed to get into the iron grip of trans-dimensional cockroaches. Furthermore, there are also magical tips to substantially improve your life and your time acceleration, and M.H.H. Benders also makes light-hearted mincemeat of the entire Dutch literature, what more could you want!

If you don’t want to crawl around mars like a cyber insect under a scrubbed boot – which is on the agenda – then you’d do well to read this book.

The first collected work of Martinus Hendrikus Hogervorst-Benders comprises no fewer than 712 pages and weighs in at least 1.4 kilos in thin print. It is the most ambitious collection written in the last thirty years, and certainly one of the highlights of Dutch literature as a whole, in line with Snoek and van de Woestijne. Anyone with a heart for literature and who wants to read an ambitious book brimming with cast-iron poems instead of yet another typical Dutch-language ‘masterpiece’ will be delighted with the purchase of this brick.

The Microdose Bible is the worlds most comprehensive and complete oversight of mind altering substances, teacher plants and mushrooms. Dutch mycologist and philosopher M.H.H.Benders takes you on a magical journey full of wonder about what teachers nature has to offer. Includes the Psychosupersum, a guide that describes all known mental disorders and offers wisdom for their treatment. 

This book will be published end of 2022.