Joko Pinurbo is one of the most widely read poets in Indonesia today. Somewhat at a distance from the dominant lyric camp in Indonesian poetry, his work brings a refreshing mixture of narrative drive, irony, and self-reflexivity. Born in Sukabumi, West Java, in 11 May 1962, he later studied Indonesian language and literature at the Sanata Dharma University of Teachers’ Education and taught at his alma mater for several years.
Pinurbo did not start writing poems until his late twenties, though he read Indonesian poetry since early adolescence. His work often mixes different strands of imagery and linguistic registers. Reality and dream, the solemn and the comic, the lofty and the pedestrian may be found together in the same line, mentioned in the same breath. Religious imagery may appear alongside socio-political commentary or intimate conversations.
Some of Pinurbo’s poems appear to parody the Indonesian poetic tradition, while he is also fond of using seemingly banal images rarely found in Indonesian poetry; his references to quotidian objects such as bathrooms, trousers, sarongs and cell phones have now become something of a signature of his work.
He has published eight poetry collections and has won numerous awards in Indonesia, including the Lontar Literary Award and the Sih Award in 2001, the Indonesian Language Center Award in 2002, and the Khatulistiwa Literary Award in 2005.
Celana (Trousers), IndonesiaTera, Magelang, 1999
Di Bawah Kibaran Sarung (Under the Fluttering of the Sarong), IndonesiaTera, Magelang, 2001
Pacarkecilku (My Little Lover), IndonesiaTera, Magelang, 2002
Telepon Genggam (Cell Phone), Kompas, Jakarta, 2003
Kekasihku (My Beloved), Kepustakaan Populer Gramedia, Jakarta, 2004
Pacar Senja: Seratus Puisi Pilihan (Twilight Lover: One hundred selected poems), Grasindo, Jakarta, 2005
Kepada Cium (To: Kiss) Gramedia Pustaka Utama, Jakarta, 2007
Celana Pacarkecilku di Bawah Kibaran Sarung (My Little Lover's Trousers under the Fluttering of the Sarong), Gramedia Pustaka Utama, Jakarta, 2007
Poetry in English translation
Trouser Doll, translated by Linda Owens and Harry Aveling, Lontar, Jakarta, 2002