N?zim Hikmet (1902-1963), Turkey's best-loved poet and a commanding presence in its public life, lived through a turbulent era—the end of the Ottoman Empire, the rise of Communist Russia, and the birth of the Turkish Republic. Born into the Ottoman elite, Hikmet embraced Communist ideals and joined the revolutionary ranks at nineteen. Of passionate temperament, he lived his life full-tilt, deeply romantic in his loves and uncompromising in his politics—for which he spent more than a third of his life in prisons or in exile. His stirring free verse in simple words, praising his country, his women, and the common man, was considered "subversive" and banned for decades. Today it is available in more than fifty languages, and Hikmet is recognized worldwide as a major twentieth-century poet.