Sergius Mencari Bacchus

“It carries a theme rarely explored in such depth in contemporary Indonesian poetry: gay life and homosexual identity (also, through the depiction of a gender-shifting narrator, transgender identity). The poems in this manuscript portray—making good use of both frank pseudo-memoir confessionals and subtle hyper-literary clues—the psychological struggle of a narrator involved in a nearly endless self-interrogation of his identity, in which he is often reduced as an “other” both within his own family and in the wider context of culture and society. At a crucial point in the manuscript, this question and answer session takes an unexpected spiritual turn. Going against the grain of recent tendencies in contemporary intellectual thought, the manuscript chooses not to reduce religion or religious thinking into something necessarily irrational. Instead, the poet bravely attempts to reach a reconciliation (albeit a fragile one) with the divine.” — Jakarta Arts Council

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  • Finalist, the 2014 Khatulistiwa Literary Award for Prose

“Norman Erikson Pasaribu’s writing is a gift of great beauty. His is a new and magical voice emerging in literature, yet one almost preternaturally wise, profoundly celebratory of the history and possibility of poetry. His is a formidable talent.” —Christos Tsiolkas