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.