Nicanor Parra Analysis

Other literary forms

(World Poets and Poetry)

Nicanor Parra (PAH-rah) and Pablo Neruda coauthored Pablo Neruda y Nicanor Parra: Discursos (1962; Pablo Neruda and Nicanor Parra: speeches), which celebrated the appointment of the latter as an honorary member of the faculty of the College of Philosophy and Education of the University of Chile. The volume includes the speech of presentation by Parra, in which he proffers his point of view regarding Neruda’s work, and that of acceptance by Neruda. Parra has been active on an international scale in poetry readings, seminars, conferences, and informal gatherings. Many of his poems composed since the publication of Cancionero sin nombre (untitled songs) are available in English through the two bilingual volumes published by New Directions—Poems and Antipoems and Emergency Poems—and one bilingual volume, After-Dinner Declarations, published by Host.


(World Poets and Poetry)

Nicanor Parra is the originator of the contemporary poetic movement in Latin America known as antipoetry. The antipoet, as this Chilean calls himself, is the absolute antiromantic, debasing all, even himself, while producing verses that are aggressive, wounding, sarcastic, and irritating. He has plowed new terrain in Latin American poetry using a store of methods that traditional poetry rejects or ignores. Parra’s work is attacked as boring, disturbing, crude, despairing, ignoble, inconclusive, petulant, and devoid of lyricism. The antipoet generally agrees with these points of criticism, but begs the reader to lay aside what amounts to a nostalgic defense of worn-out traditions and join him in a new experience. Parra has established himself firmly in a prominent position in Hispanic American literature, influencing both his defenders and detractors.


(World Poets and Poetry)

Carrasco, Iván. Para leer a Nicanor Parra. Santiago, Chile: Editorial Cuarto Propio, 1999. An insightful analysis of the perception of Parra’s work as antipoetry. An expert on Parra’s work analyzes the evolution of his poetry from its rejection of thematic and syntactic structures to the development of a unique yet mutable voice that responds to its social and political environment. In Spanish.

Neruda, Pablo. Pablo Neruda and Nicanor Parra Face to Face. Lewiston, N.Y.: Edwin Mellen Press, 1997. This is a bilingual and critical edition of speeches by both Neruda and Parra on the occasion of Neruda’s appointment to the University of Chile’s faculty, with English translations and a useful introduction by Marlene Gottlieb. Bibliographical references.

Parra, Nicanor. Antipoems: New and Selected. Translated by Frank MacShane, edited by David Unger. New York: New Directions, 1985. This bilingual anthology focuses on representative antipoems in an attempt to demonstrate how Parra’s poetry has revolutionized poetic expression globally as well as within the sphere of Latin American poetry. Notes by the editor enhance understanding for English-speaking readers.

Parrilla Sotomayor, Eduardo E. Humorismo y sátira en la poesía de Nicanor Parra. Madrid: Editorial Pliegos, 1997. This study identifies and...

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