Nicanor Segundo Parra Sandoval (5 September 1914 – 23 January 2018) was a Chilean poet and physicist. He was considered one of the most influential Chilean poets of the Spanish language in the 20th century, often compared with Pablo Neruda. Parra described himself as an "anti-poet," due to his distaste for standard poetic pomp and function; after recitations he would exclaim "Me retracto de todo lo dicho" ("I take back everything I said").

Nicanor Parra Sandoval
Nicanor Segundo Parra Sandoval

(1914-09-05)5 September 1914
Died23 January 2018(2018-01-23) (aged 103)
La Reina, Chile
AwardsMiguel de Cervantes Prize (2011)

Life edit

Parra in 1935

Parra, the son of a schoolteacher, was born in 1914 in San Fabián de Alico, near Chillán, in Chile.[1] He came from the artistically prolific Parra family of performers, musicians, artists, and writers. His sister, Violeta Parra, was a folk singer, as was his brother Roberto Parra Sandoval.

In 1933, he entered the Instituto Pedagógico of the University of Chile, where he qualified as a teacher of mathematics and physics in 1938, one year after the publication of his first book, Cancionero sin Nombre. After teaching in Chilean secondary schools, in 1943 he enrolled in Brown University in the United States to study physics. In 1948, he attended Oxford University to study cosmology.[2] He returned to Chile as a professor at the Universidad de Chile in 1952. Parra served as a professor of theoretical physics at the University of Chile from 1952 to 1991, and was a visiting professor at Louisiana State University, New York University, and Yale University.[3] He read his poetry in England, France, Russia, Mexico, Cuba, and the United States. He published dozens of books.

As a young man, he was promoted by Gabriela Mistral and Pablo Neruda. He came to Mistral's attention when she visited Chillán. The national anthem was played in her honor, as Latin America's first Nobel laureate; at its conclusion, Parra leapt onto the stage and recited a poem he'd written for her the previous night. Mistral, standing for the anthem, remained standing until Parra finished, and later introduced him to important people in Santiago as a poet of future global renown. Subsequently, Neruda arranged for Parra's collection Poemas y Antipoemas to be published in Buenos Aires, in 1954.[4]

Poemas y Antipoemas is a classic of Latin American literature, one of the most influential Spanish poetry collections of the twentieth century. It is cited as an inspiration by American Beat writers such as Allen Ginsberg.[5][6]

Nicanor Parra at the age of 100

A fictionalized version of Parra appeared in Alejandro Jodorowsky's autobiographical film Endless Poetry (2016).

Death edit

Parra died on 23 January 2018, at 7:00 am, in La Reina in Santiago de Chile, at the age of 103.[7]

Awards edit

As far I know, only the Mexican poet Mario Santiago has made a lucid reading of his work. We others have only seen a dark meteorite.

— Roberto Bolaño about Nicanor Parra in Entre paréntesis

Parra was proposed on four occasions for the Nobel Prize in Literature.[8] On 1 December 2011, Parra won the Spanish Ministry of Culture's Cervantes Prize, the most important literary prize in the Spanish-speaking world.[9][10] On 7 June 2012, he won the Pablo Neruda Ibero-American Poetry Award.[11]

List of works edit

  • Cancionero sin nombre (Songbook without a Name), 1937.
  • Poemas y antipoemas (Poems and Antipoems), 1954; Nascimento, 1956; Cátedra, 2005, ISBN 978-84-376-0777-1
  • La cueca larga (The Long Cueca), 1958
  • Versos de salón (Parlor Verses), 1962
  • Manifiesto (Manifesto), 1963
  • Canciones rusas (Russian Songs), 1967
  • Obra gruesa (Thick Works), 1969
  • Los profesores (The Teachers), 1971
  • Artefactos (Artifacts), 1972
  • Sermones y prédicas del Cristo de Elqui (Sermons and Teachings of the Christ of Elquí), 1977
  • Nuevos sermones y prédicas del Cristo de Elqui (New Sermons and Teachings of the Christ of Elquí), 1979
  • El anti-Lázaro (The Anti-Lazarus), 1981
  • Plaza Sésamo (Sesame Street), 1981
  • Poema y antipoema de Eduardo Frei (Poem and Antipoem of Eduardo Frei), 1982
  • Cachureos, ecopoemas, guatapiques, últimas prédicas, 1983
  • Chistes parRa desorientar a la policía (Jokes to Confuse the Police), 1983
  • Coplas de Navidad (Christmas Couplets), 1983
  • Poesía política (Political Poetry), 1983
  • Hojas de Parra (Grape Leaves / Pages of Parra (Spanish pun)), 1985
  • Nicanor Parra: biografía emotiva (Nicanor Parra: Emotional Biography), Ediciones Rumbos, 1988
  • Poemas para combatir la calvicie (Poems to Combat Baldness), 1993
  • Páginas en blanco (White Pages), 2001
  • Lear, Rey & Mendigo (Lear, King & Beggar), 2004
  • Obras completas I & algo + (Complete Works I and Something More), 2006
  • Discursos de Sobremesa (After Dinner Declarations), 2006
  • Obras Completas II & algo + (Complete Works II and Something More), 2011
  • Así habló Parra en El Mercurio, entrevistas dadas al diario chileno entre 1968 y 2007 (Thus Spoke Parra in El Mercurio, Interviews Given to the Chilean Newspaper Between 1968 and 2007), 2012
  • El último apaga de luz (The Last One to Leave Turns Off the Lights), 2017

English translations

  • Poems and antipoems:. Edited by Miller Williams. Translators: Fernando Alegría and others. New Directions Pub. Corp., 1967
  • Antipoems, new and selected. New York, N.Y: New Directions. 1985. ISBN 0811209601.
  • Antipoems: How to Look Better and Feel Great. Translator: Liz Werner. New Directions. 2004. ISBN 978-0-8112-1597-8.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  • After-Dinner Declarations. Translator: Dave Oliphant. Host. 2009. ISBN 978-0-924047-63-3.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)

References edit

  1. ^ "Nicanor Parra un antipoeta, matemático y físico". EL UNIVERSAL (in Spanish). EL UNIVERSAL, Compañía Periodística Nacional. 1 December 2011. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
  2. ^ Los desconocidos años de Nicanor en Oxford, Qué Pasa (in Spanish), 5 August 2009
  3. ^ Holmes, Anne (23 January 2018). "Literary Treasures: Chilean Poet Nicanor Parra Reading from his Work | From the Catbird Seat: Poetry & Literature at the Library of Congress". Retrieved 25 May 2019.
  4. ^ Parra, Nicanor (1985). Antipoems: New and Selected. Introduction by Frank MacShane. New York: New Directions Publishing. p. x. ISBN 0811209598. OCLC 1043466364.
  5. ^ "Chilean poet Nicanor Parra wins Cervantes Prize". CBC News. 1 December 2011.
  6. ^ "Nicanor Parra Havana 1965". Allen Ginsberg Project. Allen Ginsberg Project. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
  7. ^ Otis, John (23 January 2018). "Nicanor Parra, Chile's eminent poet and 'anti-poet,' dies at 103". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  8. ^ "Nicanor Parra va nuevamente tras el Nobel, respaldado por Bachelet". 5 January 2012. Retrieved 7 September 2014.
  9. ^ "Nicanor Parra awarded Cervantes Prize". BBC News. 1 December 2011.
  10. ^ Rodriguez M., Javier (1 December 2011). "El poeta chileno Nicanor Parra, premio Cervantes". El Pais. Retrieved 1 December 2011.
  11. ^ "Nicanor Parra gana Premio de Poesía Pablo Neruda". Cultura Latercera (in Spanish). Latercera. 6 July 2012. Retrieved 21 June 2012.

External links edit