Sergius Seeks Bacchus

Norman Erikson Pasaribu


Translated by Tiffany Tsao

Norman Erikson Pasaribu is one of Indonesia’s most vital and irresistible new writers, a poet distinguished by his tender, tragicomic voice. Drawing on the experiences of fellow members of the queer community and especially on the poet’s life as a writer of Bataknese descent and Christian background, the collection furnishes readers with an alternative gospel, a book of bittersweet good news pieced together from the poet’s encounters with ridicule, persecution, loneliness, and also happiness.

Born in Jakarta in 1990, Norman Erikson Pasaribu’s debut poetry collection Sergius Mencari Bacchus (Sergius Seeks Bacchus) won the 2015 Jakarta Arts Council Poetry Competition and was a finalist for the 2016 Khatulistiwa Literary Award for Poetry. In 2017, he received the Young Author Award from the Southeast Asia Literary Council.

Tiffany Tsao is a novelist, translator, and critic. Her translation of poems from Sergius Seeks Bacchus was a winner of the 2017 PEN Presents East and Southeast Asia translation competition. She currently resides in Sydney.

‘A new and magical voice emerging in literature, yet one almost preternaturally wise, profoundly celebratory of the history and possibility of poetry.’ – Christos Tsiolkas

‘Norman Erikson Pasaribu spares nothing and nobody, least of all himself, in this gleefully dark, clever, beautiful book. These poems will take you into the woods of the world and make you ache.’ – Omar Sakr

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ISBN : 9781925818109
pp : 96
Published : May 2019

About the Author

Norman Erikson Pasaribu was born in Jakarta in 1990. His first short story collection Hanya Kamu yang Tahu Berapa Lama Lagi Aku Harus Menunggu (Only You Know How Much Longer I Should Wait) was shortlisted for the 2014 Khatulistiwa Literary Award for Prose. His debut poetry collection Sergius Mencari Bacchus (Sergius Seeks Bacchus) won the 2015 Jakarta Arts Council Poetry Competition, was shortlisted for the 2016 Khatulistiwa Literary Award for Poetry and named by Tempo as one of the best poetry collections of that year.


Asian American Writers’ Workshop – ‘In English, you choose to be gender-neutral. In Indonesian, it’s a gift from the language.’
Talking Indonesia podcast – Norman Erikson Pasaribu on literature and diversity


Books and Bao 
Cordite Poetry Review
Mascara Literary Review
Writing NSW