Saturday, March 30, 2013

We all love Nicanor Parra. He’s now 94 years old and a resounding consensus as to the nature of his writing is growing. This is good news. Parra is one of the greatest living poets and his work is not poetry but antipoesía: a sustained attempt to debunk what we understand as poetry. Antipoetry interprets something never before expressed regarding our life and world, something that profoundly bounds poetry to life. That’s the way it is, and yet, there’s something disturbing, something that doesn’t quite fit together. I am referring to a Gordian knot underlying his antipoetry that obstinately opposes institutionalization. Skeptics attribute a premature rigor mortis to Parra’s project, deeming it impossible to fully acknowledge antipoetry’s implicit subversion and demolishing force without first turning it into a stuffed animal. This is the exaltation and burial: on the one hand, readers admire antipoetry. On the other, they deny it by converting the most revolutionary vision of poetry in Spanish of our time into something neither more nor less acceptable than what could be the inopportune laugh of a student during mass. If it were just this, there’d be no problem, except for the fact that the church that this student goes to is horrifying. This student is a victim of sexual abuse and for some time now we’ve known that mass is a bloody ritual. Antipoetry shows us this brutal scenario.

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