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Experiencing Literary Work with DR. BM

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Perjamuan is my first acquaintance with poem. It was a shocked-experience to me. I questioned myself how a writer could use a language in such an effective and unpredictable way in terms of offering meaning of content. The lexicons the writer employed tends to be ordinary words, but the meaning behind those words brings me to a world where I almost never imagine before. The poet succeeds in delivering his theme to the audience in such a beautiful way and leaves a deep impression on the audience mind like me.

In my point of view, choice of words is not the only power of a poem to astonish its reader but also its capability to be interpreted in various ways.The experience offered was interpreting Perjamuan classically. Quietly, I struggled to interpret what Perjamuan is when it was being read by DR. BM. My interpretation went wrong. Interpreting word-by-word sent me to a denotative meaning whereas the poem itself employed metaphors. In interpreting a poem, there is what so called personal point of view interpretation and communal interpretation. Personal interpretation derives from individual understanding on a poem. This kind of interpretation may vary from one person to another. One’s past literary experiences or prior knowledge influence the understanding and response. As an example, I kept my mouth shut and a little scared when Perjamuan was read. I have my own frame and certain expectation on poem. In other words, I had a firm belief that poem is not my world and enjoy a poem is a kind of impossible mission to me. Interpreting Perjamuan corners me to the fact that a poem speaks more than its words. I realized that “close reading” is a start to understand a poem, besides knowing the rule of significance, character of the writing, and coherence of metaphor. In metaphor, Perjamuan means something else, not a kind of serving food but somewhat like screaming of dissatisfaction soul. Meanwhile, communal interpretation means that a poem has a cultural bound. The implication of this can mean that teach literature can not be given one on one. Sharing is the right model. Each of the individual offers their interpretation based on their personal life experiences as a part of a community. Through sharing, the greatness of a poet in his thought can be felt. His ability to make virtual reality or imaginer reality sounds real can be traced by listening what others said and what joy they had on the poem.

For a novice and almost poem-allergic person like me, being given a task to experience on how to select poem would look like was a new big leap for my understanding on poems. Jump from one poem to another in a binding book and a digital book had confused me. Questions arouse on my head, what these poems are trying to say and why the writer made them. Select one poem from hundreds of poems was a mourning task to me. I decided to choose Indonesian poem, even though it contradict with my own first intention. I chose Sundanese poem. I thought it would work for me since it uses my mother tongue then I can understand it easier. But alas, Sundanese poem looked and structured too weird for me and I could not even see them as a great work of art. On my desperate, I picked an Indonesian poem Jejak di Tangga. I can say that this poem seem to relate to my emotion. After I re-type, re-read, and read it aloud. This poem represents my loneliness feeling, my choice to enjoy my solitude, and my isolation. When the poet wrote: Sudah berapa lamakah musim ini memenjarakanu, wahai rumah yang selalu menutup pintu? This stanza is like directly ask my hidden or cloak feeling. This stanza represents a good poem since the message is framed perfectly. It applies grammatically acceptable and correct sentence as its syntactic reference. As I can digest the message then the aesthetic experience can be gained. From this point, it can be said that a good poet can advantage from a simplest thing and he lifts it into a beautiful thing. Question is our everyday clause. But a good writer turn everyday question into ‘another sound’ as he takes a great linguistic and put his imagination in it. Besides, the nouns rumah, pintu (house, door) used as metaphor suggesting that the writer emphasizes the closeness. Rumah represents the familiarity and emotional bound between the occupant and the building itself. Further, I considered that Jejak di tangga uses simple-understandable sentences.

I guess simplicity works for me. A layperson like me who does not have a detailed knowledge on poem, consider a complicated skill demanding poem needs time to enjoy it. Even though all the writers use the same raw material for their writing, which is language. But the style of them to create poem is not the same. It depends on when, where, and how he lives. These differences causes the poems have their own strength. They are called good poems if they at least have three characteristics. First, a good poem makes good prose or makes good essay. Second, its explication can return to the source text, and the last, good interpretation is coherence or lack of contradiction. Another experience provided was theorizing a literary work from inside out. The writer of “The One” is DR. BM. He is a man who has blood and flesh, and ID card, so that he is called the biological creature. Meanwhile, the images creatures created by the writer or I poetical is another thing. In “The One”, there are He, me and you. When ‘He’ is interpreted as God, it causes a question arise whether it is a responsible interpretation. ‘He’ is marked by the capital letter. Can this mean that the writer has a God. To theorize this, we can try by make a prose from a poem. Good poem make good essay. ‘The One’ can make good essay or good prose, so it is a good poem. And by using I poetical, “The One” offered new understanding on the difference between the writer and the image created by the writer. The last, the unforgettable and unexplainable mixture of feeling and experience was when I was being challenged to translate “The One” into Bahasa Indonesia. In my point of view, to convey meaning or meanings of “The One”-as a given linguistic-discourse- into Bahasa demands high understanding on study of meaning or semantics. The shift from dictionary meaning to contextual meaning causes meaning-gain and meaning-loss. I found out it is very difficult to obtain equivalent meaning especially when the culture of English and Bahasa Indonesia are different. Even though I could catch the conceptual meaning and the logical meaning of a given word, but that type of meaning does not come as it was in the translation. I can say meaning-loss occurred. An effort to find lexical equivalent was easy as dictionary provides its denotative meaning, but became worthless and did not help in translating The One into Bahasa Indonesia.

 I can conclude that experiencing literary work with DR. BM is a great experience and cause me to take me a bundle of joy. Even though feeling afraid is still around me as literary work is new to me but I believe DR. BM can bring a different atmosphere and condense a new insight on literary work for me. Thank you DR. BM.


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