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NAME: MUHAMMAD HAJI SALLEH DATE OF BIRTH: 26TH MARCH 1942 PLACE OF BIRTH: TAIPING, PERAK.

EDUCATION: OBTAINED PH.D .IN COMPARATIVE LITERATURE IN 1973 AT UNIVERSITIES OF SINGAPORE, MALAYA, AND MICHINGAN, USA. CURRENT POST: PROFESSOR OF LITERATURE AT THE SCIENCE UNIVERSITY OF MALAYSIA. AWARDS: ASEAN LITERARY AWARDS (1977), MALAYSIAN NATIONAL LITERARY AWARDS (1991), S.E.A. WRITE AWARD (1997), MASTERA AWARD (2002).

SOME OF MUHAMMAD HAJI SALLEHS PUBLISHED WORKS: THE TRAVEL JOURNALS OF SI TANGGANG II (1979) ROWING DOWN TWO RIVERS (2000) THE MIND OF THE MALAY AUTHOR (1991) BEYOND THE ARCHIPELAGO (1995) BURNISHED GOLD: AN ANTHOLOGY OF MALAYSIAN POETRY (2004) MALAY LITERARY POETICS (2004) SINGAPORE POETRY (1965) COMMONWEALTH POEMS OF TODAY (1967) SEVEN POETS OF SINGAPORE (1973) MALAYSIA (1973) THE SECOND TONGUE (1976) CONTEMPORARY LITERATURE OF ASIA (1996) PETALS OF HIBISCUS: A REPRESENTATIVE ANTHOLOGY OF MALAYSIAN LITERATURE IN ENGLISH (2003)

MUHAMMAD HAJI SALLEHS ANSWERS ABOUT WHY HE CHOSE POETRY. Why poetry? Why not some other genre? Good question! Perhaps it has something to do with my personality. I was quite shy, and did not say much, and tended to think in metaphors. Perhaps I was impatient with long-winded information or explanations, and preferred not to explain myself. Moreover, I worked in the intense fire and blaze of concentrated short periods, which all drove me to poetry. And poetry as a genre is the great house of the imagination, closer to music and artit is felt rather than explained or described.

RAIN by Muhammad Haji Salleh

Suddenly they came, the mid-year padi rains, falling slanted among the dried lalang and into the branch-drains of the brown canals; The big regular drops falling at their own rhythm became the overwhelming sound of an insistent tempo. It woke up the child in the sarong cradle and the old resting father. Water has come. He looked out into the sheet of rain descending along the atap eaves. The rivulets carried the flattened straw and the dust of the drought, in their dark grey flowing threads slithering to the depressions in the ground. Thin dry ducks quacked splashed by the strange rain and chickens ran from under the trees. It was the beginning of an answer, Pak Usins dark skinned muscles quivered. Rain slapped the leaves and bent the young coconuts, shook the drought of its death-dust and swept the remains of harvest rubbish. For this season they collected hopes again, carried them under cover from the heat to this day, the rain fell and wetted their praying throats.