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Writing Poetry

Works in Translation

Sapardi Djoko Damono, translated by Kadek Krishna Adidharma
Published as a part of Poetry International – Indonesia (2010), Mar 15, 2010

Originally published

A simple question a poet finds difficult to answer is why he or she writes poetry. Of course it is not appropriate to answer this question in a flippant manner, for instance by saying that one does not know or one does not care – although it is very possible that this is in fact the honest answer. After writing for decades, I have not fully, as a poet, been able to overcome the difficulty this poses, and because nobody wants to blame themselves, the tendency is to lay the blame elsewhere, for instance on the poems one writes. One suspects that poetry is perhaps a cultural artifact of no particular use, as, amongst other things, it’s not east to explain why and for whom or for what it is written. The poet is not at fault if he or she is unable to answer these questions, because poetry is not written as an answer.

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