The Goldfish by Ikhda Ayuning Maharsi Degoul Illustrated by Emma Wright (The Emma Press)

Tears in the Fence

The poems of the Indonesian poet Ikhda Ayuning Maharsi Degoul featured inThe Goldfishtrace a journey of self-awareness and rebirth from the limited world of a fishbowl to a freedom that was difficult to achieve. The narratives are surreal and thought-provoking and challenge stereotypes concerning femininity in an often-fragmented discourse. Ayuning Maharsi Degoul’s explorations play with the ‘inhuman’ qualities of the fish but also evoke the realistic condition of a woman being constricted because of her limited environment. Her anger and disillusionment are expressed in continuous provocations that envisage sheer rebellion and suggest alternatives:

Stars are starving

Cats are getting mad

My mouth

wide open

O what I –

I need to be a newborn

immediately

delivered by a long river

O what I –

I

need

to give birth to the newest meevery day

Ovulating my apperception.(‘The Goldfish’)

‘O revolt!’ is announced in the poem ‘Rebellion Red’; she…

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