Afrizal Malna was born in Jakarta in 1957. He studied for a time at the Driyarkara College of Philosophy in Jakarta before dropping out.
In common with the work of Joko Pinurbo, a prominent theme in Afrizal Malna’s poems is the material aspects of urban existence. He is fond of juxtaposing images from daily life in a noisy, almost chaotic, manner, and the titles of some of this poems reflect this: ‘Anthropology of Coca-Cola Cans’, ‘Red Fanta for the Gods’, ‘Migration from the Bathroom’, ‘English Lesson on Body Weight’. He seems keen on finding links between objects in his poems, seeking – in his own words – a “visual grammar of things”. This intimation of secret connections among objects informs much of his poetics.
Stylistically, Afrizal’s poetry is characterised by syncopated rhythms, non sequiturs, and broken sentences. Early in his poetic career, he occasionally seemed to delight in simply listing a string of mixed images in his poems. Objects also frequently metamorphose in his work. Afrizal likes to revise his poetry, and may rewrite a poem over and over, even when earlier versions have already been published.
He also occasionally writes short stories, and has published two prose books, Novel yang Malas Mengisahkan Manusia (A Novel Reluctant to Tell of Humans, 2003) and Lubang dari Separuh Langit (A Hole from Half the Sky, 2004). His poetry collection Teman-Temanku dari Atap Bahasa (My Friends from the Roof of Language, 2008) was chosen as the best literary work of 2009 by the Indonesian news magazine Tempo. Afrizal Malna took part in Poetry International Festival in Rotterdam in 1996.
Poetry in Indonesian
Abad yang Berlari (The Runaway Century), Penerbit Altermed, Jakarta, 1984
Yang Berdiam dalam Mikropon (The Silent One inside the Microphone), Medan Sastra Indonesia, Jakarta, 1990
Arsitektur Hujan (Architecture of Rain), Bentang Budaya, Yogyakarta, 1995
Kalung dari Teman (Necklace from a Friend), Grasindo, Jakarta, 1999
Dalam Rahim Ibuku Tak Ada Anjing (In My Mother’s Womb There Are No Dogs), Bentang Budaya, Yogyakarta, 2002
Teman-Temanku dari Atap Bahasa (My Friends from the Roof of Language), Lafadl Pustaka, Yogyakarta, 2008
Pada Bantal Berasap (On the Smoking Pillow), Omahsore, Yogyakarta, 2010
Prose in Indonesian
Novel yang Malas Menceritakan Manusia (A Novel Reluctant to Tell of Humans), IndonesiaTera, Magelang, 2003
Lubang dari Separuh Langit (A Hole from Half the Sky), AKY Press, Yogyakarta, 2004
Poetry in English
Biography of Reading, 1995
Sesuatu Indonesia: Esei-esei dari pembaca yang tak bersih (Something Indonesia: Essays from an impure reader), Bentang Budaya, Yogyakarta, 2000
Featured in anthologies
Traum der Freiheit Indonesien 50 jahre nach der Unabhangigkeit, ed. Hendra Pasuhuk & Edith Koesoemawiria, Koeln, 1995
Frontiers of World Literature, Iwanami Shoten, Tokyo, 1997
Poets, Friends Around the World, Mitoh-Sha, Tokyo, 1997
Menagerie 3, ed. John H. McGlynn, Lontar, Jakarta, 1997
Do Lado Dos Ollos Arredor da poesia, entrevistas con 79 Poetas do Mundo, ed. Emilio Arauxo, Edicions do cumio, 2001