BBC podcast on the Indonesian poet Amir Hamzah

A conversation with, among others, Indonesian novelist Ayu Utami and KITLV researcher Taufiq Hanafi about the writer Amir Hamza, a national hero in Indonesia, celebrated for both his poetry and his role in the development of the country’s national language.

Hamza was an emotional man who struggled with thwarted love and inner conflict and created a beguilingly intense body of work. His poetry paid homage to Malay literary tradition infused with Islamic mysticism but also reflected new ideas springing up in the artistic circles in Java where he worked in the 1930s. Towards the end of that decade events conspired to enforce his return to the family home in Sumatra and ultimately led to his becoming a tragic victim of brutal retribution during Indonesia’s transition to independence.


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