"Why do we read and write poetry?"

Poetry. 15 year old Saras perceived poetry as a passage, filled with rhymes, a theme, deep-bombastic words. Back in high school I never quite appreciated its purpose, let alone its beauty. It was merely something that I just had to learn, something I had to go through in tenth grade. That was why I read and wrote poetry, of course, half-heartedly.

"...We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are member of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering - these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life."

Fast forward 2 years. I began to understand and I begin to feel the need to express complicated feelings. I began to see the beauty in something vague. Something open for interpretation. Something mysterious. Something that calms the heart.

"...But poetry, beauty, romance, love. These are what we stay alive for."

Fast forward now. I have finally understood the purpose of poetry. The purpose of art. The purpose of language and the beautiful things in life. It is what we stay alive for. I am no artist, I do not major in any art major, but I do appreciate and truly believe that every piece of art made holds a story, a heart-break, an emotion, a human being.

Introducing you my friend, Avilia Alexandra, soul sister found in Fakultas Kedokteran Universitas Pelita Harapan. A lover of art, a lover of love, a lover of poetry. A person who stays alive for poetry, beauty, romance and love too.


Saras: Vi, how would you describe yourself in 5 words?

Avilia: What's receh* in English?

Saras: Hm, coins? Haha!

Avilia: Wait, give me a sec. Let me think

*1 minute later*

Avilia: um. Lunatic. Awkward. Someone that craves authenticity all the time....... WAIT NO, let me redo this.

Sushi, alternatives, always-in-between, awkward, orcas!

Saras: Hehe sweet! We've been friends for like one year and I notice how much you love poetry. I think it's interesting. I don't think it's everyone's cup of tea. So tell me, what is poetry to you.

Avilia: Poetry is an escape for those who believe in the statement "Art never comes from happiness". And like, I'm not a poetry expert and not an expert at how to write a good poetry, or how to choose the sentence structure that works best, or how to build suspense - but I like art in any form, including poetry. I like the idea of how someone chooses to portray their sadness into different forms and the reason why they chose to express it in a form of art of their choice. Each person has their own go-to medium to express sadness. My go-to would be poetry.

Saras: That's beautiful. There's always beauty in every single thing in life - always a good side in something that's bad. Sadness may be one of the worst things in life but it does contribute in the making of the beautiful things in life. So when did you start liking poetry?

Avilia: I first started liking poetry since I was young. There was this time when I joined a choir group. We had a concert called "Ars Amatoria". It wasn't just a choir concert but we musicalised poetry by Sapardi Djoko Damono. At that time I was merely 12. At first I felt okay but as I sang, and sang, and sang the verses he wrote, I fell more and more in love with it.

That was the first time that I found out about something that's very out of the box. That something such as literature does exist in this world. From that moment I began 'addicted' to Sapardi Djoko Damono's creation. He was the reason why I used to be passionate about writing (sadly not so much these days).

Also it also helps how I'm an expressive person, so I find solace in exploring art and ever since then I began exploring new poetry.

Arteria by Avilia Alexandra

Avilia: I also like talking about um sophisticated things with my dad

(Note. I'm not lying. I've stayed over at Avilia's place a couple of times and it's amazing how the whole family is filled with depth and talk about deep, philosophical, sophisticated things over lunch.)

... And every time I have a topic I'd like to share with him, I find that I like sharing it in a very implicit way. 

Avilia: I think implicitness is what makes life interesting. Statements expressed implicitly is left open for interpretation - and people interpret things differently. That's the beauty. Semakin tersirat, semakin nikmat. And I think that the ability of stripping the meaning (their meaning, to be exact) behind poetry is reflected by the person's depth.  

Saras: Haha I love your answer. So who's your favorite poet?

Avilia: My favorite poet? Everyone I talk to. Superficial or deep, I think anything said honestly and sincerely is truly art. The key is authenticity. And every single thing authentic is art. 

Saras: Who's your favorite poet? 

Avilia: Um wait. Let me think. Sylvia Plath! Haha. But my favorite piece as actually written by a local poet. Hujan Bulan Juni by the one and only (my first love) Sapardi Djoko Damono. Theoretically, the poetry appears to be well, simple. But so far it is the one poetry that I can really relate to. 

Saras: If you don't mind me asking, what does Hujan Bulan Juni mean to you? 

Avilia: My relationship with my ex which affected a lot of things. Affected how I see myself, how I see my world, how I perceive love, how I perceive disappointments. 

Saras: I see. Do you still write poetry now? 

Avilia: HAHA I don't think I write poetry, exactly. I do rants. Whenever I feel like doing it

Saras: Rants and thoughts in a form of implicit rhymes eh? Poetry, essentially. 

Avilia: I write impulsively. Haha. But I did write some things. I uploaded some to my blog.

Saras: Can I include one of them in this post?

Avilia: Haha of course! Include the one titled Pekat. Actually pick anything you like haha! 

*So I picked two. One titled Arteria (see picture above) and Pekat*



Satu malam dua malam
Semakin gelap semakin dalam
Satu nafas dua nafas
Perih, sesak, besar sulit terkoyak

Suara suara, mati
Seperti mawar layu tanpa henti
Menunggu hujan datang lagi

Bukan kamu, tapi aku
Hitamku, bukan hitammu

Kain putih lusuh mengharapkan goresan tinta
Agar sempurna, awalnya, agar berbenda, berguna

Namun tinta hitam tumpah ke atasnya
Hapus segala terang dalam ketidakkesempurnaannya

Biar hujan yang bilang
Kepadanya yang  menantikan pengampunan

Karena sampai detik ini
Aku masih tenggelam dalam sepi

- a.a

Saras: Okay last question. Favorite tunes and cravings at the moment.

Avilia: Steenly Dan's Charlemagne, Coldplay's Charlie Brown. I honestly still am mesmerized by their concert in Singapore! For cravings. Hm, matcha ice cream. New pairs of earrings, cami tops, vinyl player, books by Haruki Murakami.

Interview written on a quiet Tuesday night over a cup of freshly brewed Green Tea.
x Saras

*Receh: An Indonesian slang for having a low sense of humor.