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Chairil Anwar

Born: 26 July 1922

Died: 28 April 1949

Nationality: Indonesia

Chairil Anwar (26 July 1922 – 28 April 1949) was an Indonesian poet and member of the 1945 generation of writers. He is estimated to have written 96 works, including 70 individual poems. His work dealt with various themes, including death, individualism, and existentialism, and were often multi-interpretable. Drawing influence from foreign poets, Anwar used everyday language and new syntax to write his poetry, which has been noted as aiding the development of the Indonesian language. His poems were often constructed irregularly, but with individual patterns.

After Anwar's poem Nisan (Grave) inspired by his grandmother's death, was written in 1942, Anwar gained recognition. However, publishers rejected his poems mostly for being too individualistic and not keeping with the spirit of war time era. However, some, including the poem 'Diponegoro', were able to pass the censors. During this period, he continued associating with other writers, trading ideas and later becoming a leader amongst them. He wrote his last poem, 'Cemara Menderai Sampai Jauh' (Fir Trees Are Sown Off Into the Distance) in 1949.

During his lifetime, Anwar wrote approximately 94 works, including seventy-one poems. Most of those were unpublished at the time of his death, but were later collected in several collections of his work published posthumously. Of these, Anwar considered only 13 to be truly good poems. The first published was 'Deru Tjampur Debu' (Roar Mixed with Dust), which was followed by 'Kerikil Tadjam dan Jang Terampas dan Terputus' (Sharp Pebbles and the Seized and The Broken). The most celebrated of his works is 'Aku' (Me). Anwar died in Jakarta, on 28 April 1949.

Chairil Anwar is one of the Great Utopians for his literary works and expanding Indonesian world of literature. The anniversary of his death is celebrated as National Literature Day in Indonesia.

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