05 September 2011

Happy 97th, Nicanor Parra!

Nicanor Parra, the Chilean anti-poet, turns 97 years old today. Back when I was a teenager, I came across a copy of the New Directions collection Emergency Poems. I had never heard of Parra, but, flipping through the book, I was blown away. And I never turned back. What Nicanor makes possible for poetry is remarkable.

Jim Smith, another poet who has been a huge inspiration to me, celebrates Parra with a new blog. Jim is probably the closest thing Canada has to a Parra — the boldness, the audaciousness, the directness, the humour, the refusal to compromise in either art or politics. If you don't believe me, have a look at this book of his I edited for Mansfield Press:

On September 17, Jim turns 60. And I sure hope he has at least another 37 years of poetry-writing ahead of him!

Happy birthday to both of 'em and thanks for all the poetry and the courage!

Over and out.


At September 07, 2011 8:35 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Stu ... Thanks for reminding us of the urgency and beauty of Nicanor Parra. Thanks to you, I picked up a couple of his books decades ago. I remember the thrill of finding an old copy of his classic Poems and Antipoems in an old used bookstore on Clark St in Chicago (I don't remember the name but almost for certain it's not there anymore). I pulled it out tonight after too many years.



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