Until the tenth year after Independence, revolution was still a dominant theme in all Indonesian literature genres, including plays. A drastic change and somewhat forced into an independent nation caused a lot of issues due to unpreparedness and sudden anticipation, which was not well planned. The obscurity of post-independence and disorganized “independence” concept was the things that were revealed: cursed, regretted, and mocked in most of the play in this third chapter. The players produced characters tasked to talk about independence impact to the society at large.
The establishment of Taman Ismail Marzuki (TIM) on 1968 affects the art development as a whole in Indonesia. With the establishment of a theatre there, the theater pupil started to set strategies for public establishment and chose scripts accordingly to the socio-cultural and political contexts at that time. In New Order creations, it was felt the effort to be free from the pressure of the Old Order and succeeded to create artistic reformation, which before was forced to be loyal to realism, whereas at the end of the New Order, most of the creations tend to lean on realism-socialist ideas.
In a writing career spanning more than thirty years, Afrizal Malna has published several major collections of poetry and has seen his poems translated into several languages. Afrizal is concerned with questioning language and with bodily engagement with public and private spaces. It is through the appearance of everyday objects that his poems emerge as a repository of the cultural meanings of space and objects in Indonesia’s everyday modernity. His poems maintain a fine balance between consistency of style and variations in theme. These are poems that trace the quickly changing urban trajectory of present day Indonesia.
The book’s title, Ars Poetica, clues you in: the essays herein constitute a reflection on the art of poetry. With their lyrical language, Hasif’s essays are practically poems in disguise. Hasif writes as if in conversation with a friend for whom there is no need to lecture or show-off his knowledge.
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.
In “One Night,” written in 1964, the author is a young Muslim boy crying outside the church door as his classmates celebrate Christmas. In the 1967 poem, “For my Wife,” he is a young husband telling his wife that “the earth holds a spray of flowers, just for you.” In the 1981 poem, “In the Hands of Children,” he is now a doting father marveling that “in the hands of children, paper becomes Sinbad’s ship.” Jump to the 1989 poem, “At the Restaurant,” and he is now middle aged and wondering about the constancy of relationships – whether two people can ever truly share an eternal love. And finally, in the 2001 title poem, “Before Dawn,” the poet is a much older man, whose concerns are mental and physical frailty and, of course, death.
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At the time of the construction of the Borobudur in the ninth century, Buddhism had been established in Java for several centuries. Jennifer Mackenzie’s Borobodur, an exquisite long poem, tells the story of its legendary architect, Gunavarman, and of Indonesia’s mystical monument with cultural understanding, sensitivity, and great feeling. Like Gunavarman by the poem’s end, Mackenzie becomes a “dot on the horizon” leaving us stilled in silence
Joko Pinurbo’s poetry is immediately recognizable for its simple language, accessibility, and the recurrent use of a number of speci c but unusual motifs. His poems deal with a wide range of interpersonal relationships, with gures who engage in prosaic narratives that are deeply ironic, full of dark humor, and interwoven with nostalgia.
Lawi’s poems are a calm and intimate read that indulge in the use of metaphoric descriptions of nature and free flowing verses. This collection evokes his religious upbringing and traditions within his family and community while intertwining a sort of confessional exploration on the role and process of being a poet.
In this coming-of-age novel four Indonesian high-school students seek to discover what their future will bring and find answers to their questions about sexuality. With characters ranging from cross-dressing hairdressers, drag queens, and rent boys to fanatic Muslims and low-life security personnel, the action of this tragicomedy moves between an Islamic boarding school and a gay bar in Jakarta, and in so doing illuminates the mindset and yearnings of a new generation of Indonesians.
English version: Not A Virgin
Caravanserai is a story set in Persian antiquity about a brother and sister who are adopted by a merchant called Uncle Babar. It is an exploration of the abuse of power within polygamy and the exploitation of sexuality through pedophilia. This story challenges the taboo of homosexuality by expressing very intimate desires and accounts between the male characters.
A coming-of-age story, a tapestry of erotic and tragic liaisons, a dreamscape of nightmares and wonders. But Ceremony is, above all, a tribute to the ceremony-rich life of the Benuaq Dayak, one of the many “upriver people” of Kalimantan. This post-modern (and first) novel by Korrie Layun Rampan took Indonesian literary scene by storm when it won the Jakarta Arts Council’s novel writing competition award in 1977. After winning the award, Korrie continued to establish himself as one of Indonesia’s major literary figures, but four decades later, Ceremony still has the power to thrill, awe, and mystify readers. This edition is graced by an informative introduction by noted French scholar, Bernard Sellato, on the rituals of the Benuaq Dayak people. It also contains a critique of the original edition by Indonesian poet and translator Dodong Djiwapradja.
Budi Darma’s stories are absurdist and surreal. Often in conversation form, they draw content from mythology, legends, and fables. There is an omnipresent mood of darkness that pervades much of his writing; a kind of bleak perspective that lies behind a thin cloak of normality and peace. In the modernist manner, Darma is interested in style, structure, themes, and plot. Yet at the same time, he disavows himself of the role of creator and regards his short stories as being the result of something external.
As a flight attendant for the new Indonesian Airlines, Elisa is determined to establish her independence and find a place where she really belongs. With a troubled family background and almost no knowledge of her ancestors, Elisa is searching for her true identity. The search for her true father proves to be heartbreaking and Elisa grows to hope that her marriage to a handsome Javanese man she fell deeply in love with will give her a sense of belonging ad stability. In this novel, Elisa learns what it means to be a young woman finding her way in the troubled early years of Indonesia’s independence.
Di Balik Kaca brings together, in Indonesian, the same twenty stories published in Menagerie 7. Not only do the stories herein disprove the persistent but baseless myth that all forms of sexuality and sexual behavior that fall outside the norm of accepted heterosexual behavior are not, somehow, “Indonesian,” they also show that the Indonesian archipelago is as multi-sexual as it is multi-ethnic.
After the 1965 incident, numerous Indonesian authors were stranded outside Indonesia and were unable to return home. Together they produced a body of literary work known as “sastra eksil Indonesia”—Indonesian exile literature, which is not a literary genre but, instead, a historical marker. As part of Indonesian history their work cannot be ignored. This book contains poems from fifteen exiled authors.
Drought is a celebration of life and human commitment. The hero decides to move to one of Indonesia’s outer islands, in a government-run program called “transmigration”, to start a new life as a farmer. His near-failed effort takes him to meet various inspired madmen—bureaucrats, bandits, psychiatrists, religious teachers, and a beautiful woman known only as the V.I.P. The combination of these characters will make us question what is considered “normal” in a conventional society. The book is a lyrical testimony of the strength and unpredictability of human character.