Usman Awang

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This is a Malay name; the name Awang is a patronymic, not a family name, and the person should be referred to by the given name, Usman.
Usman Awang.

Usman Awang (12 July 1929 in Kuala Sedili, Johore – 29 November 2001 in Kuala Lumpur) was a Malaysian poet, playwright, novelist and Malaysian National Laureate (1983).


He was born into a penniless family in Johore, and had worked as a coolie and served as a policeman when he was young. He was good at writing traditional Pantun poems. His career began in 1946, and he was a nucleus member of Angkatan Asas 50.[1] Usman Awang died of heart attack on 29 November 2001 in Kuala Lumpur. He was buried at Bukit Kiara Muslim Cemetery, Kuala Lumpur.

Literary criticism[edit]

The prominent Malaysian critic Syed Husin Ali, one of his closest friends, wrote this about him: "Usman is popularly considered, and most justifiably too, as perhaps the best poet in the Malay language. Most important, he is accepted without question as a people’s poet. Writing since 1955, Usman did not produce a very large corpus of poetry, only about 200 of them. But the man, his personality, his poetry and his ideas have a much deeper and wider influence than that number would suggest. Much of his poems are simple, clear, often romantic, and just beautiful. He is a master at weaving words into striking phrases, sentences and verses that are of exceptional classical beauty and sometimes appear to be nostalgic and even escapist."[2][better source needed]


Several places and honours were named after him, including:

  • Sekolah Kebangsaan Dato Usman Awang, a primary school at Kampung Kota Kechil in Kota Tinggi, Johor.
  • Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Dato' Usman Awang, a secondary school which was formerly known as Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Taman Perling located at Taman Perling in Johor Bahru, Johor.
  • Jalan Dato' Usman Awang, a road in Sedili, Johor.


  1. ^ Syed Husin Ali. "Asas 50 dan cita-cita kemasyarakatannya" – Bengkel Asas 50 dan Sastera Melayu Moden (22–23 Aug 1980). Kuala Lumpur: DBP, 1980
  2. ^[unreliable source?]


  • Pogadaev, Victor. “Bapa Sastera Melayu Moden” (The Father of Modern Malay Literature). – “Berita Hrian”, 5 December 2001.
  • Pogadaev, Victor. “‘Dari Bintang ke Bintang’ papar kekuatan puisi Usman” ("From One Star To Another" Shows the High Level of Usman' Poetry). – ”Berita Harian”, 16 March 2002.
  • Zurinah Hassan, Sasterawan negara Usman Awang (National Laureate Usman Awang). Kuala Lumpur:Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, 2006. ISBN 978-983-62-9164-6
  • Muhammad Haji Salleh. Seorang Penyair, Sebuah Benua Rusuh: Biografi Usman Awang (A Poet and Revolting Continent: Usman Awang' Biography). Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, 2006. ISBN 983-62-8759-0, ISBN 978-983-62-8759-5
  • Usman Awang: Penghubung Sastera Moden Dengan Akar Tradisi (Usman Awang: A Linc Between Modern and Traditional Literature). Editor, Hamzah Hamdani. Johore Baru: Yayasan Warisan Johor, 2003. ISBN 983-2440-04-1, ISBN 978-983-2440-04-8
  • Halilah Haji Khalid. Usman Awang Dalam Esei dan Kritikan (Usman Awang in Essays and Ctitics). Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, 2004.

External links[edit]