Widji Thukul

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Widji Thukul
Born (1963-08-26) August 26, 1963 (age 53)
Solo, Central Java  Indonesia
Nationality Indonesian (Javanese)
Period 20th century
Genre social/ political poetry

Widji (sometimes Wiji) Thukul is an Indonesian poet born in 1963. His work is political, often critical of the Indonesian government and the social conditions of the country. He has been missing since 1998.


Born on August 26, 1963, Thukul attended junior high school but left middle school in 1982 due to his family's financial constraints. Early jobs included newspaper-seller, ticket-scalper, and finisher in a furniture shop.

As well as being a poet, Thukul was also a musician and also accompanied a theatre group, Theater Jagat, around Solo.

In 1988, Thukul married Dyah Sujirah. They had two children. Together they founded an arts group called Sanggar Suka Banjir (Frequent Flooding Studio).

Thukul helped organise workers demonstrations and was a member of Partai Rakyat Demokrasi (People's Democratic Party). In a worker demonstration in 1995, Thukul was struck in the eye by a rifle butt, causing permanent damage to his sight.

His last contact with his wife was in February 1998. In April of that year he was seen in a demonstration in Tangerang but has not been seen since. It is suspected that he was one of many anti-government protesters abducted by government forces during the anti-Suharto demonstrations.


  • Pusi Pelo (Lisping Poetry), published by Taman Budaya Surakata, Solo, 1984.
  • Darman dan Lain-lain (Darman and the Others), published by Taman Budaya Surakata, Solo, 1994.
  • Mencari Tanah Lapang (Looking for an Open Plot of Land), published by Manus Amici, 1994.
  • Aku Ingin Jadi Peluru (I Want to be a Bullet), published by IndonesiaTera, Magelang, 2000.


Thukul's Looking for an Open Plot of Land won the 'Encourage Award' from the Netherlands-based Wertheim Foundation.


All information in this article is taken from the biographical essay 'Wiji Thukul: People's Poet' by Tinuk R. Yampolsky, in Menagerie 5, edited by John McGlynn and Laora Arkeman, Lontar Foundation, Jakarta, 2003.

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