Parra Poesie

“Those who, just as Nicanor Parra, write 'anti poems' need to have a deeper understanding about the nature of poetry. Going on his rollercoaster ride is well worth it – he descended Mount Olympus along with every other poet after all! But be careful because (anti) poems can, according to Parra, cause blindness, confusion among the police, attacks, and even death. But fortunately they can also save the enironment and one's own splendid head of hair first.

In 2014 Nicanor Parra celebrated his one hundrieth birthday. While there were celebrations for the poet, who has been nominated for the Nobel Prize many times, all over Chile and other Latin American countries, Europeans needed to follow their media more closely to find articles referring to this occasion. To mend this unbalanced relationship, physicist and poet Ingolf Brökel selected and freely translated some of Parra's poetry, which you find in this book.” (from the epilogue by Nils Bernstein)


Ein halbes Jahrhundert
War die Poesie
Das Paradies für feierliche Narren
Bis ich kam
Mit meiner Achterbahn.

Steigen Sie nur ruhig ein.
Ich halte den Kopf nicht hin wenn Sie danach
Aus Mund und Nase bluten.

Nicanor Parra

Portrait by Wolfgang Nieblich

Portrait by Wolfgang Nieblich

Nicanor Parra was born in the area of Chillán on 5 September 1914. He grew up in a family of musicians and is the brother of singer Viola Parra. Parra studied mathematics and physics and taught theoretical physics at the University of Santiago de Chile after extensive studies and teaching in the US and England. During his time as a student, he already published his first poetry collection, Cancionero sin nobre in 1937. He became well-known after his second book, Poemas y antipoemas, which introduced the concept of anti-poems, was published in 1954. He was always looking to discover poetry anew (artefactos, ecopoetry, sermons, visual poetry).

Parra's works were translated into countless languages. He received many awards, such as the Chilean National Award for Literature (1969), Premio de Literatura Latinoamericana y del Caribe Juan Rulfo (1991), Premio Reina Sofia Iberoamericana (2001), Premio Cervantes (2011), and honorary doctorates. He was suggested as a candidate for the Nobel Prize by different universities on several occasions.

Ingolf Broekel (translator)

Born in 1950 in Sauo near Senftenberg, teaches physics at a Berlin college. Lyric and essays, scenic readings. Several volumes of poetry, CDs, DVDs. Numerous publications in newspapers and journals.   

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