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Amir Hamzah

Pangeran Indra Poetera
Amir Hamzah portrait edit.jpg
Born (1911-02-28)28 February 1911
Tanjung Pura, Langkat, Dutch East Indies
Died 20 March 1946(1946-03-20) (aged 35)
Resting place Azizi Mosque, Tanjung Pura, Langkat, Indonesia
Occupation Poet
Language Indonesian/Malay
Nationality Indonesian
Genre Poetry
Subject Love, religion
Notable works
  • Buah Rindu
  • Nyanyi Sunyi
Spouse Tengku Puteri Kamiliah
Children 1

Tengku Amir Hamzah (February 1911 – 20 March 1946) was an Indonesian poet and National Hero of Indonesia. Born into a Malay aristocratic family in the Sultanate of Langkat in North Sumatra, he was educated in both Sumatra and Java. While attending senior high school in Surakarta around 1930, the youth became involved with the nationalist movement and fell in love with a Javanese schoolmate, Ilik Sundari. Even after Amir continued his studies in legal school in Batavia (now Jakarta) the two remained close, only separating in 1937 when Amir was recalled to Sumatra to marry the sultan's daughter and take on responsibilities of the court. Though unhappy with his marriage, he fulfilled his courtly duties. After Indonesia proclaimed its independence in 1945, he served as the government's representative in Langkat. The following year he was killed in a socialist revolution led by the Communist Party of Indonesia and buried in a mass grave.

Amir began writing poetry while still a teenager: though his works are undated, the earliest are thought to have been written when he first travelled to Java. Drawing influences from his own Malay culture and Islam, as well as from Christianity and Eastern literature, Amir wrote 50 poems, 18 pieces of lyrical prose, and numerous other works, including several translations. In 1932 he co-founded the literary magazine Poedjangga Baroe. After his return to Sumatra, he stopped writing. Most of his poems were published in two collections, Nyanyi Sunyi (1937) and Buah Rindu (1941), first in Poedjangga Baroe then as stand-alone books.

Poems by Amir deal with the themes of love and religion and his poetry often reflects a deep inner conflict. His diction, using both Malay and Javanese words and expanding on traditional structures, was influenced by the need for rhythm and metre, as well as symbolism related to particular terms. His earlier works deal with a sense of longing and idealised love, whereas his later works have a deeper religious meaning. Of his two collections, Nyanyi Sunyi is considered the most developed. Amir has been called the "King of the Poedjangga Baroe-era Poets" and the only international-class Indonesian poet from before the Indonesian National Revolution.

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