Nicanor Parra, the poetry of vertigo

On January 23, 2018, he left this planet. Nicanor Parra. After living many lives and only one at the same time, at the age of 103, the anti-poet, the breakmaker, began another journey. He left us at that intersection point where death leaves us: far from the body and close to the spirit.

They say that Parra had a plan for after death: resurrect!
For this reason, from Chile, the third TV is making a series of audiovisuals entitled “Five years without Parra”, where they wonder: Where does Parra’s ghost live?

There they say that one night the poet dreamed of his sister Violeta. “Kill yourself Nicanor, don’t be so bourgeois!” the poet told him in the dream.
Laughter, irreverence, breaking learned codes were Parra’s energy. «For half a century poetry was the paradise of the solemn fool until I came and settled with my roller coaster” declared the poet defining his art.

The poet of the poets

I ask the Argentine poet Rubén Vedovaldi, what can you tell me about Nicanor. Ruben answers me “Nicanor Parra has renewed the desire to read and write verses in South America. His anti-poetry caused a whole new current to run in the already very rich river of Chilean poetry. I am not a critic of poetic art, but I have enough Chilean anthologies to see the most important from Alonso de Ercilia to Raul Zurita. and Nicanor is among the greats like Gabriela Mistral, Vicente Huidobro, Pablo Neruda Y Gonzalo Rojas.

Argentine actor Daniel Querol, A native of the city of Rosario, he made an eruption of words, images and music to pay homage to Nicanor Parra. «Letters from the poet who sleeps in a chair» is edited with Images from Werner Herzog’s film: Into the hell.

Brief biography of an enormous life

Born in San Fabián de Alico, near Chillán, 1914, Nicanor Parra grew up in a humble home with his numerous siblings. He was a street vendor and he himself remembers wandering the streets with his wicker basket when he was in his third year of humanities at the Liceo de Chillán.
In 1937 he graduated as a professor of Mathematics and Physics at the Pedagogical Institute of the University of Chile. He was a teacher and continued his studies in Cosmology at Oxford.
His first book of poetry nameless songbook was published in 1935. Upon returning to Chile in 1954, he published Poems and Antipoems marking a radical break in Chilean and Hispanic poetry.
The popular festive rhythms of Chile were a great source of inspiration and parody that were reflected in The long cueca, published in 1958. His work also includes: Living room verses (1962), Russian songs (1967), Gross work (1969), Artifacts (1972), Sermons and sermons of the Christ of Elqui (1977), New sermons and sermons of the Christ of Elqui (1979), Jokes to disorient to poetry: Jokes to disorient the police (1983), Christmas Songs (1983), Political Poetry (1983), Vine Leaves (1985).
In 1969 he won the National Literature Prize, the Juan Rulfo Prize in 1991, the Reina Sofía in 2001 and the highest award in Hispanic literature, The Cervantes Prize in the year 2011.

Your Visual Artifacts

They are a synthesis of his anti-poems that, as he describes in his essay Antonio Landauro, they feed on waste, banal things, rubbish, which the poet uses with a sarcastic wit to account for the emptiness of our time.

Five years after his departure, Nicanor Parra continues to be a vast land of wonder and mystery to keep unveiling. Only as a tribute we want to remember some of his poems, chosen at random as in life.

name changes

To lovers of belles lettres
I send my best wishes
I’m going to change the name of some things.
My position is this: The poet does not keep his word
If you don’t change the names of things.
Why should the sun continue to be called the sun?
I ask that it be called Micifuz
The one with the forty-league boots!
Do my shoes look like coffins?
Know that from now on Shoes are called coffins.
Communicate, sign up and publish
That the shoes have changed names:
From now on they are called coffins.
Well the night is long
Every poet who esteems himself
You must have your own dictionary
And before I forget
God himself must be renamed
Let everyone call it what they want:
That is a personal problem.


What is an antipoet:
A dealer in urns and coffins?
A priest who doesn’t believe in anything?
A general who doubts himself?
A bum who laughs at everything
Even old age and death?
A bad-tempered interlocutor?
A dancer on the edge of the abyss?
A daffodil who loves everyone?
a bloody joker
deliberately miserable
A poet who sleeps in a chair?
An alchemist of modern times?
A pocket revolutionary?
A petty bourgeois?
A charlatan?
a God?
an innocent?
A villager from Santiago de Chile?
Underline the phrase you consider correct.

What is antipoetry:
A temp in a teacup?
A patch of snow on a rock?
A tray full of human excrement
How does Father Salvatierra think?
A mirror that tells the truth?
A slap to the face
From the President of the Society of Writers?
(God have him in his holy kingdom)
A warning to young poets?
A spouted coffin?
A coffin with centrifugal force?
A paraffin gas coffin?
A burning chapel without a deceased?

mark with a cross
The definition that you consider correct.

piano solo

Since the life of man is but an action at a distance,
A bit of foam that shines inside a glass;
Since trees are but furniture that shakes:
They are nothing but chairs and tables in perpetual motion;
Since we ourselves are nothing more than beings
(As the god himself is nothing other than god)
Since we don’t speak to be heard
But for others to talk
And the echo is prior to the voices that produce it;
Since we don’t even have the consolation of chaos
In the garden that yawns and fills with air,
A puzzle that must be solved before dying
To be able to revive later calmly
When the woman has been overused;
Since there is also a heaven in hell,
Let me do a few things too:

I want to make a noise with my feet
And I want my soul to find its body.

Adriana is an educator in the District of San Carlos, California. She has a degree in Social Communication from the Faculty of Political Science, of the National University of Rosario. Mother of Dante, a 23-year-old autistic boy, Adriana enjoys writing daily chronicles, which she has titled “Photos with words.” Her texts can be seen on Facebook. She has also published in Urbanave and Brando magazines, from Diario Nación and Página 12 Rosario.

Nicanor Parra, the poetry of vertigo