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Nicanor Parra: Google Doodle celebrates Chilean poet and physicist’s 107th birthday

Google Doodle celebrates the 107th birthday of Chilean poet and physicist Nicanor Parra, who was viewed as one of the most influential poets in the Spanish language of the 20th century, on September 5, 2021.

Who was Nicanor Parra?

Nicanor Parra

Nicanor Segundo Parra Sandoval, the son of a teacher, was born onn September 5, 1914 in San Fabián de Alico, close to Chillán, in Chile. He was one of the most important Latin American poets of his time, the originator of so-called antipoetry (poetry that goes against conventional lovely strategies or styles).

Nicanor Parra studied mathematics and physics at the University of Chile in Santiago; at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.; and at the University of Oxford. From 1952 to his retirement in 1991 he taught theoretical physics at the University of Chile.

Despite the fact that Nicanor Parra later repudiated his first book of poetry, Cancionero sin nombre (1937; “Songbook Without a Name”), it foretells his use in later “antipoetry” of colloquial, regularly disrespectful language, light treatment of classical forms, and humorous tone. Nicanor Parra’s collection Poemas y Antipoemas (1954) is a classic of Latin American literature, one of the most influential Spanish poetry collections of the 20th century. It is refered to as a motivation by American Beat writers like Allen Ginsberg.

With Poemas y antipoemas (1954; Poems and Antipoems), Nicanor Parra’s endeavors to make poetry more available acquired him national and international popularity. In lucid, direct language, these verses treat with black humor and ironic vision common, ordinary issues of an abnormal and regularly crazy world.

In 1967, Nicanor Parra started to compose experimental short poems that he later published as a collection of postcards entitled Artefactos (1972; “Relics”). In these he endeavored to lessen language to its least difficult form without obliterating its social and philosophical effect.

Nicanor Parra’s work has been converted into English in the collections Poems and Antipoems (1967), Antipoems: New and Selected (1985), Antipoems: How to Look Better and Feel Great (trans. Liz Werner, 2004), and After-Dinner Declarations (trans. Dave Oliphant, 2009). Nicanor Parra was proposed on four events for the Nobel Prize in Literature.

On 1 December 2011, Parra won the Spanish Ministry of Culture’s Cervantes Prize, the most important literary prize in the Spanish-speaking world. On 7 June 2012, he won the Pablo Neruda Ibero-American Poetry Award.

Nicanor Parra died on 23 January 2018 in La Reina in Santiago de Chile, at 103 years old.

All through an exploring career decorated by some of the highest honors for Spanish-language literature, Nicanor Parra published many poetry collections. This body of work has since been widely translated for an international readership.

Nicanor Parra’s global eminence stretched out into scientific community as one of the leading specialists on Newtonian physics and a large number of his students are as yet working physicists today.

On September 5, 2021, Google featured Doodle on its homepage for celebrating Nicanor Parra’s 107th Birthday.

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