6 Poetry Figures in Indonesia, Who is your Favorite?

Figures of Poetry in Indonesia – Does Sinaumed’s like literary works of poetry? Poetry is often regarded as a literary work that can captivate readers because it contains beautiful words and metaphorical meanings. Even literary works of poetry are also often used as a means to rebel against the government, during the colonial period.

In Indonesia, there are many poetic figures who have inspired many people to participate in creating these literary works. In fact, these figures have become legendary all over the world and literary works are constantly remembered by poetry connoisseurs.

Then, who are these poetic figures in Indonesia? What about examples of their most famous literary works of poetry?

Come on , see the following review about this poetic figure from our country!

1. Chairil Anwar

Chairil Anwar is a pioneer figure in Indonesian literature in the 45th generation who was born on July 22, 1922 in Medan, North Sumatra. Since childhood, Chairil Anwar has been interested in learning several foreign languages ​​on his own, namely English, Dutch, and German. Therefore, he can study world literature.

During his life, Chairil Anwar continued to create literary works of poetry and was able to generate rupiah coffers from the results of writing these literary works. Most of the literary works created by Chairil Anwar are inspired by his life experiences, from his marriage to his divorce from his wife, Hapsah.

Apart from creating his own literary works, Chairil Anwar also translates foreign literary works. Call it the literary works of John Cornford (England), Hsu Chih Mo (China), to WH Auden (America).

Previously, it was mentioned that Chairil Anwar played a major role in the development of literary works in Indonesia and was the pioneer of the Generation of ’45. This is because the literary works created by him are referred to as renewals of existing poetry in Indonesia. Apart from that, his literary works also indirectly “rebelled” against the government which at that time was leading the Indonesian state.

His literary works have even been translated into many foreign languages. In Dutch, his literary works were translated by Dolf Verspoor. Then, in English, translated by Mrs. Dickinson. There are also fifteen in French, translated by LC Damais.

Chairil Anwar’s most famous poems are I’m an Animal Bitch (1986), Roar Mixed with Dust (1949), Sharp Pebbles and Crashed and Broken (1949), and many others.

The following is an example of a poem from a collection of poems entitled I’m a Bitch Animal ,


If it’s my time

‘I don’t want anyone to seduce

Neither do you

No need to sob the sedan 

I’m a bitch from the herd of castaways 

Let the bullet penetrate my skin I’m still inflamed crashing 

It hurts and I can take it running


Until the pain of the fairy is gone

And I would be even more indifferent

I want to live another thousand years

2. Sapardi Djoko Damono

Sapardi Djoko Damono is a well-known poet in Indonesia, as well as a lecturer, literary observer, literary expert, and literary critic. He was born in Solo, Central Java, on March 20, 1940.

In the development of his career as a writer, he has attended various international meetings that discuss literature. For example, the Translation Workshop and Poetry International in the Netherlands. In fact, he has also served as an editor, panelist, and has become a member of the Founding Committee of the Asean Poetry Center in India.

Sapardi Djoko Damono is considered a young scholar who plays a major role in the life of literature in Indonesia. In addition, there are those who say that his poetry must be understood as well as possible, because there are similarities with Western poetry at the end of the 19th century (symbolism).

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Apart from that, Sapardi Djoko Damono also succeeded in translating several foreign literary works into Indonesian, for example Grief For Elektra (Mourning Becomes Electra by Eugene O’Neill), Daisy Manis (Daisy Milles by Henry James), The Old Man and the Sea (The Old Man and the Sea). Old Man and The Sea by Hemingway), and many more.

He has received many awards for his poems, for example in his book entitled Rain Magic which received the Puisi-Puisi Putera II Award from Malaysia. In addition, he also received an Art Award from the Ministry of Education and Culture in 1990.

Here is one of his poems entitled I Want,

I want to

I want to love you with simple

with words that couldn’t be said

wood to the fire which turns it into ashes

I want to love you with simple

with an unspoken signal

clouds to the rain that makes it nothing.

3. Sitor Situmorang

Sitor Situmorang is one of the famous poets in Indonesia who was born in North Sumatra on October 2, 1924. During his life, he studied in Japan and worked at the Japanese financial office in Sibolga.

After Japan accepted defeat, Sitor Situmorang immediately worked as editor of the newspaper Suara Nasional, which was published by the Tapanuli Regional National Committee. From there, he became acquainted with the world of writing literary works.

Sitor Situmorang’s literary creations were heavily influenced by Chairil Anwar. This was because when he worked in Jakarta and read a literary magazine entitled Siasat which contained the works of Chairil Anwar and Asrul Sani.
Sitor Situmorang not only writes poetry, but also other prose literary works, such as short stories, plays, and translations. His literary works are the New Age (1962), Wall of Time (1976), Travel Map (1977), Nameless Face, and many more.

The most famous literary work is entitled “Eid Eid” which contains only one short sentence of poetry. Here is a quote from the poem.

Eid Night

moon over the grave. 

4. Goenawan Mohamad

The figure of Goenawan Mohamad cannot be separated from the existence of poetry figures in Indonesia. He is a poet who since childhood has been given adequate reading facilities to make him a bookworm and intelligent.

Goenawan Mohamad started writing when he was in high school by translating Emily Dickinson’s poems which were later published in Harian Abadi in the 1960s. After that, his first poetry work was included in a collection of poems entitled Manifestasi which was published in the cultural rubric of Harian Abadi. The poetry collection also contains literary works belonging to other writers, namely Taufiq Ismail, Armaya, and many others.

Not only did he write poetry, but he also wrote several essays and published a collection of essays entitled Portrait of a Young Poet as Malin Kundang in 1972. In the following years, he was finally able to publish a collection of essays with various titles.

His achievements in poetry and essays made Goenawan Mohamad an important poetic figure in the development of literature in Indonesia. He is considered as a brilliant literary critic.

The following is an example of his poetry literary work entitled About Death,

About Death

At the end of the stanza, a dot begins to appear

which then collapsed, 5 minutes after that.

At the end of the room began to appear a row of fingers

who wants to take it back.


it will never happen

It’s a very ordinary hour: Death parks his chariot

at the end of the alley and walked erratically

The steps are not what you imagine: nothing

earthquake, no acid rain, no ditches


Just a rhyme, like a broken cable

Or almost broke.

5. Wiji Thukul

Wiji Thukul is a literary figure who is hailed in Indonesia for his literary works which are always used as a symbol of resistance. When he was in school, Wiji Thukul had already shown his interest in the world of literature by writing poetry and joining a theater group. Together with his friends in the theater group, he has traveled to various places by performing a poetry musical accompanied by music.

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In 1988, his poems were successfully published in print media, both at home and abroad. For example, his poems entitled Justice (Yogyakarta), Inside Indonesia (Australia), Homeland (Netherlands), and many more. Not only writing poetry, but he also wrote short stories, essays, and poetry reviews.

Wiji Thukul’s poems are said to be a symbol of resistance to the authoritarian regime. His most famous work is titled “I Want to Be a Bullet”

The figure of Wiji Thukul is truly seen as a militant who is intelligent in mobilizing the public against the New Order through his poetry. The end of Wiji Thukul’s life can be called tragic because he is considered a figure who fought against the New Order regime and there are many allegations that he was kidnapped by the military.

The following is a literary work of poetry created by Wiji Thukul entitled Gloomy Notes .

Grim Note

black cat walking slowly

jump down from the roof

three people appeared in the dark

hidden holding the iron

black cat walks slowly

followed by a shadow

when it reaches the mouth of the alley

three people growled

throw punches

the moon is covered in dim clouds

witness the celebration of poverty

moving cat meat

into people’s stomachs!

Solo, 1987

6. WS Rendra

Who doesn’t know one of the famous poets in Indonesia, whose real name is Willibrordus Surendra Broto or often called WS Rendra? Yep, everyone knows this poet for his popular literary works. Even WS Rendra also earned the nickname “The Peacock” for his performance as a declarator who always fascinated the audience.

In 1954, WS Rendra was successfully invited by the United States Government to attend a seminar on literature at Harvard University. After that, for two months, he toured the United States with the aim of getting closer to the literary life there.

Since attending school, his literary works have been published in several magazines. Not only did he write poetry, but he also wrote plays and was performed by his colleagues at school, under the title “Fake Legs” in 1952.

WS Rendra’s most famous works are Odipus the King, Bip-Bop, He’s Got a Beautiful Neck, He’s Already an Adventurer, and many others.

The following is an example of a poem by WS Rendra entitled My Gumam Ya Allah .

I muttered oh my God

(WS Rendra)

The wind and sky within me,

dark and light in the universe,

direction and qibla in space and time,

dazzling sense of conjecture and guesswork,

is the secret shadow of Your presence, O God!

Hair or cubits

I don’t know what’s the difference in curious understanding.

Travelers who are always on the go.

Humans do not have a champion.

The fire of longing for You burns on a lonely peak.

All human beings are equally ignorant and equally longing.

Religion is the camp of the nomads.

Echoing various prayers and puja.

The same meaning in different languages.

So, those are the poetic figures in Indonesia whose literary works are always remembered by the public and poetry fans. Sinaumed’s can also be a part of these figures with Sinaumed’s’ own literary works. Don’t be shy to publish your literary works, OK?

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