Indonesia Awardee


After thirty five years of immersing myself deeply into the hobby of writing poems, I feel that I am fully indebted to trousers. My work has been well known by the Indonesian literature society since my poem anthology Trouser Doll (1999) was published. Since then, my existence as a poet cannot be separated from trousers. I have even been called a “Trouser Poet” because I have written a lot about trousers even though I have of course not only composed works on trousers, but also many other things. However, people cannot dismiss their memory of my trousers.

The trouser doll is actually part of my effort to search for a convenient method and style of writing poems for myself. After a long period of learning how to write poems, observing other work written by my predecessors and analyzing their style of writing poems, I have discovered other possibilities which seemed to be more interesting to explore, for instance, images connected to the body and domestic surroundings. Therefore, following up on trousers other objects drawn from everyday life and our surroundings such as bathrooms, toilets and beds emerged.

The birth of the trouser doll is marked by a new style of expression which is simpler, more narrative, and more fluid, related to phenomena of daily life, more relaxed, colored by humor and irony that touches the absurdity of everyday life. By developing these themes, I have learned how to interact with people and studied the way of life in my society, especially in Yogyakarta, which has its own uniqueness to encounter, with a wealth of situations rooted in social life, for example, specific styles of casual communication mingled with jokes.

I of course would not stop at simplicity. In a simple way, metaphorical atmosphere has to be maintained. Behind simplicity, which seems to be playful, there is actually a mystery which relates to human anxiety in their constant endeavor to search for identity. The struggle to seek out identity frequently surfaces in tiny simple things, or even in daily routine. My greatest pleasures in writing poems is to let my imagination wander, to live up words, events, obsolete, barren, or dead things. I would like to admit that the birth of the trouser doll was actually inspired by a text in the Bible saying, “Because life is more important than food and body is more important than cloth.”