Indonesian Poetic Reflections

Indonesian Poetic Reflections MainBefore Dawn iconSecrets Need Words iconAll That is Gone iconSidelines iconSecrets Need WordsSecrets Need Words: Indonesian Poetry, 1966-1998
by Harry Aveling
Published by Ohio University Press, 2001

The period from 1966 to 1999 represents a distinct era in Indonesian history. Throughout the “New Order” regime of President Suharto, the policies of economic development and political stability were dominant. However, the public opinion of personal expression was consistently under suspicion, and indeed dissent was severely punished. Secrets Need Words traces the development of Indonesian poetry throughout this entire period. Texts are presented both in the original Indonesian and in careful, stylistically sensitive English translations.

In this anthology of contemporary work by Indonesian poets, the renowned translator and editor Harry Aveling presents a series of ongoing analyses detailing the political and social shifts that have influenced the work of particular poets. Professor Aveling’s analyses, along with the poems themselves, demonstrate how the poets responded to the power of the state in a variety of ways ranging from direct confrontation to withdrawal into personal and private realms characterized by fantasy and the use of heavily rhythmic language.

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SidelinesSidelines: Thought Pieces from Tempo
by Goenawan Mohamad, (Translated by Jennifer Lindsay)
Published by Equinox Publishing, 2005

In SIDELINES, Indonesian intellectual Goenawan Mohamad reveals an Indonesia which exists beyond the headlines. He writes about identity and change, democracy and freedom, and the meaning of history. This book gives an unrivalled insight into a complex country with a many-layered past. It is a collection of pieces first printed in ‘Tempo’, the banned Indonesian weekly news magazine. Focuses on many of the issues facing Indonesia including social justice, democracy, censorship, human rights, Islam and the impact of western culture. Goenawan Mohamad is an Indonesian poet, journalist and activist.

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All That is GoneAll That Is Gone
by Pramoedya Ananta Toer
Published by Penguin books, 2005

Pramoedya Ananta Toer’s transcendent novels have become part of the world literary canon, but it is his short fiction that originally made him famous. The first full-size collection of his short stories to appear in English, All That Is Gone draws from the author’s own experiences in Indonesia to depict characters trying to make sense of a war-torn culture haunted by colonialism, among them an eight-year-old girl soon to be married off by her parents for money and an idealistic young soldier who witnesses the savage beating of a man accused of being a spy. Though violence and brutality pervade these tales, there is present throughout a profound sense of compassion—an extraordinary combination of despair and hope that gives All That Is Gone rare power and beauty.

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Before DawnBefore Dawn: The Poetry of Sapardi Djoko Damono
by Sapardi Djoko Damono, (Translated by John H. McGlynn)
Published by The Lontar Foundation, 2013

Sapardi Djoko Damono, one of Indonesia’s most productive and popular poets first began writing poetry as a high school student in the mid- 1950s. Before Dawn includes poems written by the author over a forty year time span, from 1961 to 2001. Arranged as they are in chronological order, the poems in Before Dawn together form a kind of poetic autobiography, opening with the 1964 poem, One Night, when he is a young Muslim boy crying outside the church door as his classmates celebrate Christmas to the 2001, and ending with the title poem, Before Dawn, when the poet is a much older man, concerned with frailty and mortality.

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Menagerie 3Menagerie 3: Indonesian Fiction, Poetry, Photographs, Essays
Collected by John H. McGlynn
Published by The Lontar Foundation, 1997

Featuring the short stories of Idrus, one of Indonesia’s best-known writers, Menagerie 3 also includes stories by Bondan Winarno Danarto Hanna Rambe Putu Wijaya Ratna Indraswari Ibrahim Seno Gumira Ajidarma Titis Basino Also in Menagerie 3 are essays on the topic of freedom and expression by Ulil Abshar-Abdalla, Melani Budianta, and Stanley Y. Adiprasetyo as well as poems by Afrizal Malna and a photographic essay on East Timor by Rini PWI.

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