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Exhibition celebrates one of the most important poets writing in the Spanish language
People visit a photographic exhibition in honour of Chilean poet Nicanor Parra in Santiago, on August 19, 2014. The exhibit, made with his personal pictures, is part of the celebrations ahead of September 5 when the poet turns 100. Parra, who is also a mathematician, is considered to be one of the most important poets writing in the Spanish language. He describes himself as an "anti-poet" because his works reject the traditional refinement of most Latin American literature and instead use a more colloquial tone. AFP PHOTO / MARTIN BERNETTI.

SANTIAGO.- “Parra 100” opened this Wednesday in the Gabriela Mistral Center in Santiago (GAM), to commemorate the 100th birthday (5th of September) of the most important, irreverent and anti systemic Chilean poet alive: the creator of the “anti-poetry”, Nicanor Parra. Parra 100 is exhibited in the Visual Arts Department of GAM, and it consists of six stages, a journey that goes through his infancy in Chillan, his studies in Santiago and abroad, his travels through the world and the intellectual cultural scene, even his unknown and intimate stages with his wives and relationship with his sister Violeta. The exposition, available until the 14th of December, has 52 big format photographs in black and white as well as 60 more photographs in a smaller format.

This is one of the many tributes to the writer, mathematician, physicist and engineering professor that revolutionized poetry in Spanish with a new language in his anti poems.

With much irony, mundane writing with a simple lexicon and ordinary subjects, the anti poems capture the attention of the reader, especially the younger ones.

In the exhibition, there is a famous photograph of him with Pat Nixon, whom at the time of the photograph was the wife of president of the United States Richard Nixon, is one of the many photographs that show the true dimensions of Parra’s character, who was determined to go against everything and defended his independence fiercely. The so called “episode of the tea cup” in the White House, which was taken during the context of the Cold War, Vietnam and Cambodia, unchained the wrath of the Chilean leftists and the Cuban government, who annulled the invitation of the writer to be a judge at the Book Fair in Havana. Parra asked for forgiveness but it amounted to nothing. Since then, a much more personal trajectory begins, a different road from the conservative and liberal politics and all their intermediate forms, and it also helps him become “incorruptibly independent”, as he is defined by his friend, the Chilean poet Raul Zurita.

The story is well known. After the earthquake, the library of Nicanor Parra in La Reina was destroyed, and it was then that his grandson Cristobal Ugarte Parra, also known as “Tololo”, who accidentally found a suitcase that contained hundreds of photographs, most of them unknown, and which showed a big part of his grandfather’s life.

This great material deserved to be seen and just as his 100 years approach, the material will arrive at GAM, at the inauguration of the exposition Parra 100, an unpublished visual biography of Parra. Along with the exhibition, there will be many documents, unedited videos and audio registries with his most emblematic works.

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August 22, 2014

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