Nicanor Parra’s 100th Birthday

“Nicanor Parra Anti-Poet, professor of Newtonian physics, University of Santiago Chile, my host a month 1960. We couldn’t get a cab downtown from his daughter Catalina on 110 St. N.Y.C. so took Subway to N.Y.U.- here  stopped between stations, September 5, 1984 – Nicanor Para Anti-Poet on Subway from 110 Street Broadway downtown to N.Y.U. September 5, 1984”- Photo: Allen Ginsberg

Nicanor Parra, Miguel Grinberg, Allen Ginsberg, Maria-Rosa, Havana, February 1965. Photographer unknown

Allen Ginsberg and Nicanor Parra, National Arts Club, New York City, January 1984. Photo: Beryl Sokoloff

Today’s a momentous day –  it’s Nicanor Parra’s 100th birthday! –

Chile’s Minister of Culture Claudia Barratini and El Consejo de la Cultura have proclaimed today a “Parrafraseo nacional”, and, at noon, 12 PM,  (same time in Chile as it is in the United States), the entire country (the entire world!) is invited to participate in a simultaneous reading of Parra’s poem “El hombre imaginario”

(In both English and in Spanish, the poem is available here)

El hombre imaginario/vive en una mansión imaginaria/rodeada de árboles imaginarios/a la orilla de un río imaginario” (“The man he imagined/lives in a mansion he imagined/in the middle of trees he imagined/on the banks of a river he imagined…

(Hear Parra himself in 2001 declaiming the poem here)

Celebrations have been taking place all week and will continue to take place.

The University of Chile has been and is at the forefront of Parra celebration here’s their schedule

“Voy y Vuelvo” (“I go and I’ll be back”), a major exhibition of Parra-related material is currently on show (through December 4) at the Biblioteca Nicanor Parra de la Universidad Diego Portales . See here for video of the assembling of the show

El Centro Cultural Gabriela Mistral (GAM) presents (through to December 14) Parra 100 – photographs, films, videos, recordings and talks to celebrate the centenary

In Santiago, his 1972 work, Artefactos (Artifacts) is being re-invented as a city-wide interactive art project. 25o postcards (with illustrations by Juan Guillermo Tejeda) will be distributed to students, workers, sports centers and social organizations, (amongst others) with instructions to recipients to make them the basis for their own particular art projects. The whole thing will be documented and a grand exhibit will take place (on December 11) at the Palacio Consistorial.An exhibition of 100 photographs (relating to Parra’s 100 years) will also be on display in City Hall.

In San Fabián de Alico (Región del Biobío), Parra’s birthplace, there will be a variety of events – for a full schedule of events see here 

Hear the voice of Parra here

Allen in 1960, writing to Peter Orlovsky from Santiago – “Another person that I like is Nicanor Parra, a poet about 45 years old who is always falling in love with Swedish girls, writes intelligent and sincere poetry and is also a big mathematics professor…”

Allen in 1965, (shortly after his forced departure from Cuba) concluding a long letter to Parra – “’s midnight past, so I shut up with abrazos and saludos and dosvedanyas and laegitos, feliz and fatiguado, adios por una momentito Shri Shivati Comrade Comanchero Sir Zeus Nicanor, Señor..”

& from his 1987 poem, “On Cremation of Chogyam Trungpa, Vidyadhara” (Parra was, curiously, in attendance) – “noticed the crowds quiet, noticed the Chilean poet, noticed a Rainbow”

Nicanor Parra on the subway, NYC, September 5, 1984.Photo: Allen Ginsberg

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