À Jakarta on mange de la cervelle tous les matins.
Mikael Johani wasn’t born in Rochester, New York, in 1927 and was never educated at Harvard or Columbia universities. He has not written nineteen previous books of poetry. Never has been and never will be Charles P. Stevenson, Jr., Professor of Language and Literature at Bard College, he does not live in New York City or Hudson, New York. His poetry is not a rigorous search for “the unknown”—but still based on a “reasoned disordering of all the senses” by means of alcohol and, sometimes, when money allows, hard drugs. He did not come to Europe in 1908 and never really settled in London, where he didn’t have the slightest chance to become a marginal figure in the literary and artistic world, let alone be a haranguer of Eliot and Joyce (among others). During The War of the Thousand Days he did not make a series of propagandist broadcasts over Radio Bogota, for which he was subsequently committed to a hospital for the insane, anyway. Sans trial. At the age of thirty-nine, Mikael is done with poetry. He is embarking on a new life, signing up as a mercenary in what is formerly known as the Dutch East Indies. In 1880, he is going to set up as a trader in what is now not Ethiopia. He will spend the remainder of his life as a dealer in dubious-origin coffee, selvedge denim, tongsis and artisanal coffins. He is going to die in 1869 at that most coveted of dying-young age, twenty-seven.
Click here for his poetry in English.
Click here for his poetry in Indonesian.
Click here for his translations.
Click here for his essays.
Navigate around the site for everything else.