Rebel With a Cause: How Chairil Anwar’s Disgust for Establishment Takes Indonesian Poetry to Next Level

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About Chairil Anwar,
Written by Dhania Putri Sarahtika, and was originally published in Jakarta Globe,
May 09, 2018


“Aku ini binatang jalang” (“Here I am, a wild beast”) is the most famous line by arguably Indonesia’s most famous poet of all time, Chairil Anwar. The line seems to perfectly embody the rebellious spirit of the poet who, according to many critics, modernized and changed the course of Indonesian poetry during the heady days of the Indonesian Revolution in the late 1940s.

Chairil’s first clarion call was his haranguing of his more conservative forebears in Pujangga Baru, a literary magazine founded in 1933 by Sutan Takdir Alisjahbana, Armijn Pane and Amir Hamzah – the three giants of modern Indonesian literature.

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