Goenawan Mohamad was born in Batang, Central Java, on 29 July 1941. He wrote his first poem when he was 17; and early in his literary career he translated poems of Emily Dickinson and Guillaume Apollinaire into Indonesian. His poetry often uses allusions drawn from diverse sources ranging from Javanese legends to the Mahabharata and the Bible to Greek mythology and contemporary arts.
Goenawan’s poetry collections are Pariksit (1971), Interlude (1973), Asmaradana (1992), Suppose We Were in Sarajevo (1998), Complete Poems of Goenawan Mohamad 1961–2001 (2001) and Goenawan Mohamad: Selected Poems (2004). Among the prizes he has received as a poet are SEA Write Award (1981), A Teeuw Award (1992), and Achmad Bakrie Award (2004). He has also written librettos, two of which, The King’s Witch (2000) and Kali (2001), have been performed in Indonesia and the United States set to the music of contemporary Indonesian composer Tony Prabowo.
Goenawan is also a highly respected journalist and a prolific essayist. His weekly columns, “Catatan Pinggir” (Sidelines), have appeared in the news magazine Tempo—of which he was editor-in-chief for 23 years—since the early 1970s, and have so far been published in six volumes. His other collections of essays include Portrait of a Young Poet as Malin Kundang (1972), Sex, Literature, Us (1980), Conversations with Difference (2002) and On God and Other Unfinished Things (2007). Goenawan is a recipient of the International Press Freedom Award (1998), International Editor of the Year Award (1991), and Dan David Prize (2006) for his work as a journalist. He was a Nieman fellow at Harvard University in 1990.
Goenawan Mohamad took part in the Poetry International Festival, Rotterdam, in 1973.
Pariksit, Litera, Jakarta, 1971
Interlude, Yayasan Indonesia, Jakarta, 1973
Asmaradana, Grasindo, Jakarta, 1992
Misalkan Kita di Sarajevo, Kalam, Jakarta, 1998
Goenawan Mohamad: Sajak-Sajak Lengkap 1961-2001, Metafor, Jakarta, 2001
Poetry in English translation
Goenawan Mohamad: Selected Poems, ed. Laksmi Pamuntjak, KataKita, Jakarta, 2004
Potret Seorang Penyair Muda sebagai si Malin Kundang, Pustaka Jaya, Jakarta, 1974
Seks, Sastra, Kita, Penerbit Sinar Harapan, Jakarta, 1980
Kesusastraan dan Kekuasaan, Pustaka Firdaus, Jakarta, 1993
Setelah Revolusi Tak Ada Lagi, Alvabet, Jakarta, 2001
Kata,Waktu: Esai-Esai Goenawan Mohamad 1960-2001, PDAT, Jakarta, 2001
Eksotopi: Tentang Kekuasaan, Tubuh dan Identitas, Pustaka Utama Grafiti, Jakarta, 2002
Tentang Tuhan dan Hal-Hal yang Tak Selesai, KataKita, Jakarta, 2007
Catatan Pinggir, Grafiti Pers, Jakarta, 1982
Catatan Pinggir 2, Pustaka Utama Grafiti, Jakarta, 1989
Catatan Pinggir 3, Pustaka Utama Grafiti, Jakarta, 1994
Catatan Pinggir 4, Pustaka Utama Grafiti, Jakarta, 1995
Catatan Pinggir 5, Pustaka Utama Grafiti, Jakarta, 2002
Catatan Pinggir 6, Pustaka Utama Grafiti, Jakarta, 2006
Essays in English translation
Sidelines, Hyland Publishing House and Monash Asia Institute, Victoria, 1994
Conversations with Difference, Tempo Inti Media, Jakarta, 2002
On God and Other Unfinished Things, KataKita, Jakarta, 2007
Libretto and Plays
Tan Malaka dan Dua Naskah Lain, KataKita, Jakarta, 2009