Nicanor Parra

Nicanor Parra Poems

Write as you will
In whatever style you like
Too much blood has run under the bridge
To go on believing
...

Whether we like it or not,
We have only three choices:
Yesterday, today and tomorrow.
...

In Santiago, Chile
The days are interminably long:
Several eternities in a day.
...

In case of fire
Do not use elevators
Use stairways
unless otherwise instructed
...

Strolling many years ago

Down a street taken over by acacias in bloom
...

During that time I kept out of circumstances that were too full of mystery
As people with stomach ailments avoid heavy meals,
I preferred to stay at home inquiring into certain questions
Concerning the propagation of spiders,
...

Before I go

I’m supposed to get a last wish:
...

Nicanor Parra Biography

Nicanor Parra Sandoval is a mathematician and poet born in San Fabián de Alico, Chile, who has been considered to be a popular poet in Chile with enormous influence and popularity in Latin America, and also considered one of the most important poets of the Spanish language literature. He describes 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, or, "I take back everything I said". Life Parra comes from the artistically prolific Chilean Parra family of performers, musicians, artists, and writers. His sister, Violeta Parra, is possibly the most important folk singer the nation has produced. Nicanor Parra was born in 1914 near Chillán, a city in southern Chile, the son of a schoolteacher. In 1933, he entered the Instituto Pedagógico of the University of Chile, and qualified as a teacher of mathematics and physics in 1938, one year after his first book appeared: Cancionero sin Nombre. After teaching in Chilean secondary schools, he went in 1943 to Brown University in the U.S. to continue his studies in physics. and then he went in 1948 to Oxford in England to study cosmology. He returned to Chile as professor at the University in 1946. Since 1952, Parra has been professor of theoretical physics in Santiago and has read his poetry in England, France, Russia, Mexico, Cuba, and the United States. He has published several books. Trying to get away from the conventions of poetry, Parra's poetic language renounces the refinement of most Latin American literature and adopts a more colloquial tone. His first collection, Poemas y Antipoemas (1954) is a classic of Latin American literature, one of the most influential Spanish poetry collections of the twentieth century, and is cited as an inspiration by American Beat writers such as Allen Ginsberg. Awards Parra has been nominated several times for the Nobel Prize in Literature. On December 1, 2011, Parra won the Cervantes Prize from Spain's Ministry of Culture, widely considered the most important literary prize in the Spanish-speaking world. As far I know, only the Mexican poet Mario Santiago Papasquiaro has made a lucid reading of [Parra's] work. We others have only seen a dark meteorite. —Roberto Bolaño about Nicanor Parra in Entre paréntesis)

The Best Poem Of Nicanor Parra

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.

(trans. by Miller Williams)

Nicanor Parra Comments

Swapon Roy 18 October 2019

Nicanor Parra is absolutely right while he holds that true poems should be anti-poema because now the whole world is cruel antagonist to suffered persona. Now the poems are jokes to cruelly suffered persona. So anti-poems are embodied with threadbare jocks and humors.

2 0 Reply
Ann Nelson 24 January 2019

Why not include his poem U.S.A.?

1 1 Reply
Stella Gutierrez 23 January 2018

A top poet, never well translated, so I am sorry for those ignorant of Spanish. Got the top Spanish Literary Award the Cervantes hugely deserved. His genius and sense of humour equal to none, absolutely unique talent. I LOVED

7 1 Reply
christian ames 13 December 2017

While some poems, or anti poems are interesting, simply by saying they are anti poems is pomposity incarnate. There is a guy here in Salt Lake City, Hector Ahumada, who is pretending to be the next anti poet, and all he does is assume an attitude rather than craft language into a thing separate and, dare I say, beautiful. He too is gettihg up there, but he is a baby compared to Nicanor, only 70. Long live The Queen Mother. I hope you break her record for longevity.

4 4 Reply

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