Chairil Anwar, a Talented Indonesian Poet


Chairil Anwar was born in Medan, North Sumatera, on July 26 1922. He is the only one child of Saleha and Toeloes, both of them are the residents of Lima Puluh Kota district in West Sumatera. He started his first school in Hollandsch Inlandsche School (HIS) in Dutch elementary school for indigenous people and then entered Meer Uitgebreid Lager Onderwijs in Dutch junior high school, but he did not finish his study and dropped out in the age of 18. After his parents divorced, he moved with his mother in Batavia (now Jakarta) in 1941, and it was the world where he started to get to know about the literature.


He had a dream to become an artist since he was child. To realize his dream, he started to read many books of International authors such as Hendrik Marsman, WH Auden, Edgar du Perron, and Riner Maria Rilke who inspired him in his literary works. Chairil Anwar‘s first poem “Nisan” (Gravestone) in 1942. He made it because of the shocking when his grandmother died which took his into the limelight. Since that incident, he created a numerous of poems by theme of death awareness. In 1943, he wanted to publish his own poem, then he came to the Pandji Pustaka magazine, but unfortunately, he was rejected.


Chairil Anwar often combined his everyday-language became his new individualistic poem with the unusual manner. His poems were differentiated by a short blend, stand-alone lines with lines of long-linked style. In 1949, he created his last poem with the title of “Cemara Menderai Sampai jauh”. Mostly, his poems were inspired by the popular author but with completely modifications and new ideas to make a fresh piece. He had 94 works during his entire life including 71 poems there. Most of them were published after he passed away. His works were translated into several languages; it is Dutch, English, and French. His most popular poem is “Aku” which was published in 1943 at Jakarta Cultural Centre.


Chairil Anwar was a very talented Indonesian poet whether in his period and the next period after he died. He is like an inspirator of the youngsters who want to create a good poet. He was popular among the youngster in his era that pioneered the changing of Indonesian traditional literature and modified it on the newly independent nation lines. He was successful in transforming the Indonesian literary scene with his poems. Chairil was reputed as the Indonesian greatest literary figure by Burton Raffel, an American poet and translator.



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