Durian. Sapardi Djoko Damono, one of Indonesian lyric poet legends passed away on July 19 in a private hospital near Jakarta at the age of 80.
Besides knowing for his famous love poems such as “Hujan Bulan Juni” (Rain in June) and Aku Ingin (I want) that are often quoted by many namely in wedding invitations and social media captions, the professor of literature at the University of Indonesia also translated foreign books into Indonesian language and worked on other form of literature, fiction and non-fiction.
Damono was once dean of literature faculty at the University.
Rain in June in example become a love novel which sending a message of pluralism in Indonesia. Many believe that the novel is narrating Damono’s love story with his only wife Wardiningsih, an Indonesian historian who passed away in February 2019.
Damono’s once admitted that many of his love poems inspired by the spirit of Wardinigsih who unfortunately did not like literature.
The awardee of the ASEAN-sponsored SEA-Write Award for poetry in 1986 was also a co-founder of Lontar Foundation that aims to promote Indonesian literature.
“Poet Sapadri Djoko Damono has died this morning after being sick for several months,” Goenawan Mohamad, an Indonesian senior writer and also co-founder of Lontar Foundation said on his Twitter account on July 19.
His last interview in June that was published through Damono’s Instagram account, he suggested those who are working on literature despite mobilization limitation due to covid-19 pandemic situation.
“When we have intention to write, we can write,” he said in the interview related with Hujan Bulan Juni Festival this year.
In 2018, Manuskrip Sajak Sapardi Djoko Damono (Poetry Manuscripts of Sapardi Djoko Damono) was released and in his last posted in Instagram @damonosapardi on June 10, the literary icon posted his ongoing work, a novel titling “Minuman Keras “(Liquor).
“Maybe life is a long prayer and silent is liquor. He noted, but doesn’t know to whom,” Damono’s quoted part of his ongoing work.
Damono’s body was laid in a cemetery in Bogor, West Java on July 19. He left two children.
You are going to be missed Prof. Sapardi Djoko Damono, but as you was writing: “Time is transient. We are eternal”.