Parra, Nicanor (1914–)

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Parra, Nicanor (1914–)

Nicanor Parra (b. 5 September 1914), Chilean poet. A former science teacher, Parra, who published his first collection of poems, Cancionero sin nombre, in 1937, describes himself, adopting a term coined by Vicente Huidobro, as an antipoet. Like Huidobro, Parra demonstrates in his poems a freedom of experimentation and an irreverence toward traditionally held poetic values. Parra gained immediate popular acclaim with his second collection, Poemas y antipoemas (1954). With subsequent books, such as La cueca larga (1958), Versos de salón (1962), Artefactos (1972), Sermones y prédicas del Cristo de Elqui (1977), Hojas de Parra (1985), Páginas en blanco (2001) and Lear Rey & Mendigo (2004), Parra received international recognition. His innovative style of poetry combines wordplay, humor, the vernacular, and elements of literary tradition and popular culture to formulate an ironic commentary on human nature and society. Parra avoids personal involvement in his writing; his poems reflect a critical skepticism toward social conformism. A self-styled nihilist, Parra offers no escape from the absurdities and inconsequence of human values and beliefs. His sobering, if cynical, view of reality and his simple, direct style have made a lasting impact on Hispanic lyrical verse.

See alsoHuidobro Fernández, Vicente .


Hugo Montes, Nicanor Parra y la poesía de lo cotidiano (1970).

Edith Grossman, The Antipoetry of Nicanor Parra (1975).

Antonio Skármeta, "Nicanor Parra," in Latin American Writers, edited by Carlos A. Solé and Maria Isabel Abreu, vol. 3 (1989), pp. 1195-1200.

Additional Bibliography

Carrasco, Iván. Para leer a Nicanor Para. Santiago, Chile: Universidad Nacional Andrés Bello, 1999.

Olivera, Sonia Mereles. Cumbres poéticas latinoamericanas. New York, P. Lang, 2003.

Rowe, William. Poets of Contemporary Latin America. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.

                                        S. DaydÍ Tolson