Welcome to the second edition of the journal
of the Society of Friends of Makhtumkuli. As readers familiar with
our first issue will know, this is a journal mainly devoted to familiarizing
Western readers with the unique work of the eighteenth century poet of
what is now Turkmenistan who gave his name to our Society. But the
subjects covered in this latest collection of articles range far beyond
the poet himself and deal with Turkmen and Central Asian cultural life
In the Five years that the Society has existed, we have consistently tried not only to present to theEnglish-speaking world the work of the poet-genius but to familiarize our audience with the cultural traditions and the landscape from which he sprang.
That is why we have held a series of musical events in England, combining the performances with readings from Makhtumkuli's poetry; and that is why, in these pages you will find not only new translations of Makhtumkuli's poetry and poems inspired him, but also articles on the urban life of modern Turkmenistan, the ancient traditions of hawk-breeding, features on Turkmen graphic arts and many other subjects. They help to place the central figure of our Society's activities in his cultural context. In future issues we hope to give greater coverage to other aspects of the rich but little-known culture of Central Asia and Turkmenistan in particular, such as carpet-weaving.
Those who supported our first issue and anticipated the second will have noticed that it has been a long time coming. The reason for the delay has not been a lack of material to publish - far from it - but a dearth of funds. Producing a high-quality journal of a standard and size worthy of its subject is an expensive venture for a small society such as ours, and we rely on the kindness and financial support of the Friends of Makhtumkuli. The fact that this second issue of ourjournal is now reaching your hands at last is in no small measure due to the generosity of one benefactor in particular - Peter Hughes, to whom we extend our grateful thanks.
The Societys own activities in the intervening period are outlined in more detail below. Formal membership of the Society is not required for either subscribing to this journal or attending its events - we prefer to remain a loose association of people pursuing a common interest.
In choosing and editing the material for this edition of ourjournal I have had the constant help and guidance of our Societys founder and veteran Makhtumkuli enthusiast, Dr.Yousef Azemoun.