Mysticism, aestheticism, and activism of Santri Poet Acep Zamzam Noor

Ian Campbell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Writing poetry in Indonesian and Sundanese Taskimalaya-based Acep Zamzam Noor is now one of Indonesia's finest poets of the generation which first came to prominence in the 1980s. The article describes aspects of Acep's own journey as a 'santri' poet whose work may display 'sufist tendencies' (kecenderungan sufi) but cannot be limited by such descriptions. In particular, his poetry in Indonesian, written after an extended period in Europe in the 1990s, often utilises techniques that might be derived from sufist literary traditions in the Middle East (and Indonesia) but appear in new form from his encounter with many of the cultural icons of the French and Italian cityscape. However, the bulk of his Indonesian language poetry has often encompassed reflections and meditations on his immediate environment in the countryside near Tasikmalaya. The article also covers aspects of his Indonesian language poetry which is of a satirical mode and his activities in fostering and participating in local Iiterary associations. In sum, the article argues, that in respect of the Indonesian language poetry of Acep Zamzam Noor, it is possible to see his poetry and literary activities generally as operating simultaneously at local and national levels.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118-143
Number of pages26
JournalJurnal Kritik
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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