The Localist

Nicanor Parra Sandoval – 100 Years

People often say that Chile is a “land of poets”, and then point out that two Nobel laureates in literature have been Chilean: Gabriela Mistral (1945) and Pablo Neruda (1971). Indeed, they are the most popular and internationally known poets from Chile, but there are many more. One of them is Mr. Nicanor Parra Sandoval.

He is the oldest of the Parra’s, a very well known family in Chile for their connection to arts and local folklore.

Parra may not be the most popular Chilean poet but he is, is undoubtedly, the most long-lived poet, with a 70 year career. Parra is fun, unconventional, difficult and very interesting.


To young poets

Write as you will

In whatever style you like

Too much blood has run under the bridge

To go on believing

That only one road is right.


In poetry everything is permitted.


With only this condition of course,

You have to improve the blank page


Parra turns 100 in september. He is a physicist, a mathematician and a poet. He hates poetic structure and defines himself as an “anti-poet”. His colloquial and irreverent use of language is the object of criticism by many, but he says his antipoetry is a “new experience” that should not be analyzed using a conventional standard. Often compared to the Beat poets (Ginsberg or Kerouac) he stands out as one of the most influential authors in Latin American.

If you happen to be in Chile during the first of september, look out for all the activities that will be taking place to celebrate his centennial.




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