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Yohanes Manhitu

Yogyakarta (Jogja), Indonesia


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I was born in 1976 in a mountainous village named Sunu (in West Timor, Indonesia) and grew up in the East Timorese enclave of Oecusse-Ambeno, where I finished my elementary, secondary and high school. I graduated from the University of Nusa Cendana in Kupang, in February 2000. Besides writing poetry and dictionaries, I teach Spanish (and sometimes Tetum) as well as translating (poetry, etc.).

My major influences in poetry are the poets Pablo Neruda, Alfredo García Valdez, Arthur Rimbaud, Paul Verlaine, Rabindranath Tagore, Fernando Pessoa, Gabriela Mistral, Octavio Paz, and Charles Baudelaire. Besides I do enjoy reading the works of Karol Wojtyla.

I write in Indonesian, the National Tetum (of East Timor), Uab Meto (Dawan), English, Esperanto, French, etc. and have participated in a number of French poetry competitions and won several times. Besides, I have been active in poetry discussions. I have participated in the writing of "TruAlfa Indonesian-English Dictionary" (2012) and "TruAlfa Concise English-Indonesian Dictionary" (2005). In July 2007, PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama in Jakarta (the capital city of Indonesia) published my "Kamus Indonesia-Tetun, Tetun-Indonesia" (Indonesian-Tetum, Tetum-Indonesian Dictionary), the first dictionary of its kind ever systematically written according to the official spelling systems of the two neighbouring countries. And in December 2015, again, PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama published my "Kamus Portugis-Indonesia, Indonesia-Portugis" (Portuguese-Indonesian, Indonesian-Portuguese Dictionary), the first dictionary of its kind published in the country.

I have translated into Indonesian—mostly from the originals—at least one work of the following poets: Alfredo García Valdez (Mexico), Alfredo Pérez Alencart (Spain), Arthur Rimbaud (France), Charles Baudelaire (France), Elena Liliana Popescu (Romania), Emily Dickinson (USA), Fernando Pessoa (Portugal), Fray Luis de León (Spain), Gabriela Mistral (Chile), Juan Cameron (Chile), Karol Józef Wojtyła (Poland), Luís Vaz de Camões (Portugal), Octavio Paz (Mexico), Pablo Neruda (Chile), Paul Verlaine (France), Rabindranath Tagore (India), Ramón Hernández-Larrea (Cuba), and William Auld (UK). And I have finished the translation of the Nobel-winning work of Rabindranath Tagore, GITANJALI, into Uab Meto (Dawan), the most widely spoken indigenous language of West Timor. The Indonesian translations of the works of Alfredo Pérez Alencart, Elena Liliana Popescu, Fray Luis de León, Juan Cameron, and Ramón Hernández-Larrea have been included in multilingual anthologies. The others have not been published in book form, but mostly available online (on blogs, etc.).

Interests: Reading (both fiction and non-fiction), Literature and literary activities (reading and discussion), Movies (almost all kinds), Art exhibitions (mainly painting), Cycling, Radio (news and language programs), Music (classical, Latin, country).

Published writer: Yes

Freelance: Yes


Published works:


  • Kamus Indonesia-Tetun, Tetun-Indonesia (Indonesian-Tetum, Tetum-Indonesian Dictionary)
  • Multlingva Frazlibro (A polyglot phrasebook with Esperanto as the main language)
  • Kamus Portugis-Indonesia, Indonesia-Portugis (Dicionário Português-Indonésio, Indonésio-Português)
  • Poetry

  • Sub La Vasta Ĉielo (An anthology of Esperanto poetry)
  • Nenomatne Nbolen (An anthology of Dawan poetry)