Jakarta Arts Council Announces Winners of Poetry Anthology Contest

BY :NICO NOVITO

DECEMBER 23, 2015

 Jakarta. The Jakarta Arts Council announced three winners of the Poetry Book Manuscript Contest in a ceremony at the Taman Ismail Marzuki cultural center on Tuesday night.

The contest was revived this year after a 14-year hiatus and is "intended to encourage young poets to write quality works and support them with [access to] good publishing house," according to a statement by the council.

Young poet Norman Erikson Pasaribu's poetry anthology , "Sergius Mencari Bacchus" ("Sergius Looking for Bacchus"), won first prize. His poems illustrate the inner conflicts of its gay and transgender characters who are questioning their identity.

The jury, comprising established poets Oka Rusmini, Joko Pinurbo and Mikael Johani, praised Norman's deftness in using a light and almost comical tone that renders his poems even more tragic. "Great use of irony!" the jury exclaimed in a statement.

"'Sergius Mencari Bacchus' answers our quest for a manuscript that offers a strong theme, novelty as well as a writing technique that is fresh and excellent," the jury concluded.

Second place went to Ni Made Purnama Sari's "Kawitan." According to the jury, the work showed how she could reinvent the poetry style of her predecessors into "something more fluid and varied in a wider context."

Cyntha Hariadi received the third prize for her anthology "Ibu Mendulang, Anak Berlari: Kumpulan Puisi Pendek di Atas Celemek" ("Mother Is Washing, Children Are Running: A Collection of Short Poems on Top of an Apron"). The jury noted her ability to portray the complexity of a mother's domestic life in Indonesia, "transforming the banal details of daily life into something that is almost surreal."

The three winners were selected from 572 poetry manuscripts received by the council from various parts of Indonesia — from South Sumatra to Papua — in November.

Each of them will receive cash prize — Rp 15 million ($1,100) for first place — as well as publication and book printing subsidies worth Rp 10 million from a partnering publishing house.

The Jakarta Arts Council is an autonomous body formed by arts communities based in the capital and inaugurated by former Jakarta governor Ali Sadikin in 1967. Now the council acts as the city government's partner in arts-related policy making and program planning.

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