West Papua Diary

Literature in West Papua: Vonny Aronggear, the Poetry Queen of Jayapura

Papuan poet Vonny Aronggear said that young Papuans dominate literary writers in Papua. These young writers wrote carefully about the lives of Literature in West Papua and broke the silence of Papuans in the world of writing.

Literature in West Papua: Vonny Aronggear, the Poetry Queen of Jayapura
Source: Noken Live

“I appreciate the many young writers who have come to fill the literary world in Papua. In addition, almost all the literary writers in Papua are the younger generation. The young generation of Papua takes pictures of the lives of Papuans in poetry, short stories, novels, poems, and so on,” said Aronggear during a discussion on the launch of the anthology of poetry by Manfred Kudiai entitled “Jalan Pemberontak” on February 26, 2021.

Getting to Know Vonny Aronggear

Vonny Aronggear is a poet from Serui, Yapen Islands Regency, who works as a Geography teacher at the State 2 High School (SMA) Jayapura, Papua. She is also a poet with a passion for writing. 

She was involved in efforts to prevent forms of corruption organized by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) with 19 other poets from across the archipelago in Pekanbaru in early December 2016.

Vonny also accompanied ten students from SMAN 2 Jayapura, becoming the author of the first book. Literature in West Papua with the title “Punah,” published in July 2016.

Vonny Aronggear is a woman who graduated from Cenderawasih University in 2004 and a master’s degree program majoring in Geography education at Sebelas Maret University, Surakarta, with cum laude predicate in 2015. 

She likes to read books, a magazine containing short stories and novels. Her intention then became to write for others to read.

Her breakthrough began with establishing an extracurricular for students who love literature at the school and several schools in Jayapura City. She also began to be known at the National level by making the name of Papua proud and registering her name in books published from 2016 to 2018.

Aronggear’s View on Literature in West Papua

Aronggear said the generation of indigenous Papuans in the 1980s began to abandon oral literature. Papuan native. “Currently, some of the younger generation of Papua have left the speech culture. We are slowly turning to the world of writing about our lives,” she said.

Aronggear additionally continued writing and voicing about OAP’s life as a matter of pride. “We write about social inequality, poverty, and so on. Even though the Papua Special Autonomy Fund [is disbursed] billions of rupiah, it does not guarantee the success of indigenous Papuans’ lives,” he said.

Said Aronggear, a young Papuan writer, is keen to photograph various social problems in Papua in literary works. “One of the works written by Manfred Kudiai and her friends. 

Furthermore, Aronggear appreciates the young generation of Papuans who advance literacy & literature in West Papua. “I am amazed by the younger generation of Papua, because with our literacy [can make the situation in] Papua even better,” she said.

Secretary of the Papuan Literary Community Alex Giyai said her party is registering young writers who do young works in Papua. “We are just collecting data. But I am very sure that Balai Bahasa has started to record the literary works of Papuan children. [We also] document books to serve as documentation for the next generation,” he said.

West Papuan Literary Works by Vonny Aronggear

In the East of Tears, Vonny Aronggear’s testimony for Tears of Papua (a glimpse from the eyes of ordinary people) is a habit that consistently conveys that reality and the development of literature in West Papua are inseparable. It further applies to Vonny Aronggear’s poems, which were compiled in the anthology Di Timur Air Mata

The harsh reality that causes sadness and the sweet truth that is intended to be a hope wrapped in poetic poetry. It is a medium for conveying the atmosphere and emotions of testimony in the area where Vonny Aronggear was born, grew up, and lived. It emerged after absorbing the contents of the poems by Vonny Aronggear in 2017 – 2018. 

Moreover, like the requirements of a witness in a court case.  Having common sense, being able to explain the incident, and being at the scene of a flat case, Vonny Aronggear as a witness has fulfilled. On this foundation, we must dare to hold Vonny Aronggear’s poetry—the truth of reality—responsible.

Puisi Di Timur Air Mata

Tubuh-tubuh tergelak renta bermandikan tangis kemiskinan mencekam menerkam roda hidup dengan bengis

Tangan rakyat menjulur hampa ibarat pengemis mengais

Sedangkan hati penguasa korup terpeluk keserakahan berbau amis

Banyak anak-anak tak berdaya akhirnya gugur

Saat gizi buruk mewabah jasad mereka terbujur

Kesejahteraan sulit tergapai harapan pun luntur tergusur

Segudang tanya menghampiri hampa daya akhirnya kabur

Ibarat kenyataan memperlihatkan barisan panjang kaum penganggur

Teraniaya oleh kebodohan penguasa zalim yang takabur.

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