Short listed for the 2007 New South Wales Premier's Translation Prize
The period from 1966 to 1999 represents a distinct era in Indonesian history. Throughout the “New Order” regime of President Suharto, the policies of economic development and political stability were dominant. However, the public opinion of personal expression was consistently under suspicion, and indeed dissent was severely punished.
Secrets Need Words traces the development of Indonesian poetry throughout this entire period. Texts are presented both in the original Indonesian and in careful, stylistically sensitive English translations.
In this anthology of contemporary work by Indonesian poets, the renowned translator and editor Harry Aveling presents a series of ongoing analyses detailing the political and social shifts that have influenced the work of particular poets.
Professor Aveling's analyses, along with the poems themselves, demonstrate how the poets responded to the power of the state in a variety of ways ranging from direct confrontation to withdrawal into personal and private realms characterized by fantasy and the use of heavily rhythmic language.
Secrets Need Words will be of interest to scholars of Indonesia and comparative literature, and will be for many years to come a basic text for scholarship and teaching. But it also offers all readers of poetry an opportunity to explore a new, complex, and exciting body of literature from one of the world's largest nations.