For a nation of only 13 million inhabitants, Chile has the distinction of being the birthplace of at least five world

-renowned poets, two of those, Gabriela Mistral and Pablo Neruda, winners of the Nobel Prize for literature. A third poet who has been touted as deserving of the Noble Prize is the 84-year-old self-proclaimed antipoet, Nicanor Parra. The concept of antipoetry as prescribed by Parra -"You can do anything in poetry"; "in sincerity lies the danger" and "truth is a collective error" -owes something of its iconoclastic outrageousness to an earlier Chilean poet, Vicente Huidobro, who declared that "the poet is a little God" and "an adjective, when it doesn't give life, takes it away.". Following both Huidobro and Parra, a fifth Chilean poet, Enrique Lihn, carried on the antipoetry tradition by attacking both his medium and himself as the messenger, asserting that poetry is "a big pile of muck stirred by chance" and the poet is "a rotten little rhetorician." Despite what may seem an overly negative and therefore limited approach to the making of a poem, Chilean poets have produced in the antipoetic mode some of the most provocative and original writing of the last half of the twentieth century. The present selection of work by a handful of Chilean poets is hardly representative of the wide range of styles and techniques employed by writers up and down their long, thin, and highlyvaried land. Only one of the poets, Francisco Véjar, exemplifies a more romantic tradition that has always existed in Chilean poetry and perhaps has drawn its inspiration most fully in recent times from the work of Jorge Teiller, who, like Neruda and Parra, was a product of the country's rainy southern region. But the emphasis here, necessarily, is on the more antipoetic style, which has, through the influence of both Parra and Lihn, had such a profound impact on the younger generation of Chilean poets. The first poem offered here is an early work by Enrique Lihn, which was only discovered in 1998, ten years after the poet's death and some 45 years after its original composition. Lihn's "Portrait" is clearly a self-portrait, and even though its writing antedates the publication of Nicanor Parra's defining collection of Poems and Antipoems in 1954, this early poem indicates that Lihn was well aware of the work of Parra, which had begun its influence from the time of his first published collection in 1937. Already apparent in Lihn's self-portrait is his characteristic belittling of himself as a person and poet, which may remind one of Parra's declaration in his "Warning to the Reader," from Poems and Antipoems: "I`m proud of my shortcomings." Lihn may not exhibit the same type of humorous pride as Parra, but he certainly shares with him and Huidobro a sense of the poetic power of an anti view, of being a "little God" of an "exiled domain," of being "joyful in his grief." (For more of Lihn's poetry, see issues number 1 and 2 of The Dirty Goat.) The antipoet of Chile is, by definition, a poet who both takes his writing seriously and yet can poke fun at his own foibles. This is demonstrated repeatedly in Nicanor Parra's longest and in some ways most ambitious poem, his over 400-line elegy in memory of his classmate and fellow poet, Luis Oyarzún. Like all of Parra's seriocomic antipoems, his homage to Oyarzún - first published in December 1997 in the Chilean newspaper El Mercurio- contains words and phrases difficult to render in another language, beginning in this case with the title, which plays on a speaker's traditional disclaimer that he has not come prepared to give a speech but then proceeds to talk on and on, in love with the sound of his own voice. Here, as elsewhere, Parra inserts additional letters into certain words -in this case "prepared"- in order to form something of a pun on his own name. Similarly, he adds the letter "i" to the word "particular" for punning on the verb "culiar," one of the Chilean "f" words. Another instance of Parra's playfulness is when he changes the name of the teacher training or pedagogical school at the University of Chile by adding an "i" and an "a" to "peda" to form the word for "stone." These are examples of Parra's methods for satirizing both individuals and institutions, even as, by contrast, he eulogizes a man who distinguised himself as a university teacher and administrator. Parra's more serious side is illustrated by his wide reading, which takes the form of allusions to Greek and German philosophy, Chilean literature (naming, among others, Gabriela Mistral, Enrique Lihn, Jorge Millas, and Enrique Lafourcade), and Shakespeare (Hamlet, which, along with King Lear, Parra has brilliantly translated for the Chilean stage). In addition, Parra's poem touches on such contemporary issues as ecology and pollution, the population explosion, politics (seeing all forms of government as dictatorship; asking whether a return to socialism would make any difference), economics (proposing the Mapuche Indian of Chile's system of minimal subsistence), sports (both soccer and "Collaborative Sonnets"), and religious belief and practice. Throughout the 46 sections of his elegy, Parra playfully manipulates language to achieve a running commentary on what he called in his first volume "The Vices of the Modern

World". In his middle 80s the antipoet continues to create lines that reveal the hypocrisy beneath our contemporary word and deed, summarizing much of the period since the 1930s. The antipoet even manages to look into the future to predict "What Will Happen in This Next Century" when he sees human life cloned, individuality eliminated in terms of no more private coffins, and his own creation, a Chilean vagabond-wit, the Christ of Elqui, elected as his country's president. Parra's homage to Luis Oyarzún also reveals how rooted his antipoetry is in popular culture, as he alludes in the stanza entitled "What You Hear Ladies & Gentlemen" to a familiar refrain about Father Gatica who doesn't practice what he preaches, unlike Oyarzún, who practiced but didn't preach. The younger poets of Chile have been deeply affected by Nicanor Parra's irreverent manner and his willingness to speak on any subject, especially through the most mundane objects or activities. This is especially evident in the work of two women poets, Heddy Navarro Harris and Carmen Gloria Berríos. Both illustrate the antipoetic mode through their very direct and witty use of language. As Parra recommends, the language of poetry should not be unlike what the reader speaks, or as Huidobro before him advised, no adjectives that overkill. Harris limits herself to a simple, concise analogy to make her single point on love, while Berríos can work with food and flavor as a way of discussing other timeless matters like transcendence and revenge. Tomás Harris and Diego Maquieira also speak as the reader speaks, although they may be talking of topics that are further from the reader's immediate experience. Harris (no relation to Heddy Navarro) goes back to the period of the Spanish conquistadors for his subject matter, but his timeless theme, like that of Berríos, is revenge, which recalls for me William Carlos Williams' 1925 "DeSoto and the New World." The witty ending of Harris' poem is different from the wit of Parra, as is the narrative style Harris employs. Both Harris and Maquieira have in fact created their own approach, yet have taken a page from Parra by finding a way of doing anything in poetry. Their poems include video games, Phantom jets, gorillas, Renaissance paintings, movie stars, and historical figures from the mafia and the Spanish conquest and Inquisition. Like Parra, they satirize contemporary society, but rather than attacking directly, Harris and Maquieira tend to do so through scenes unassociated with modernday Chile but drawn from other places and earlier eras. Nonetheless, the parallels with political developments in Chile are undeniable, although Maquieira's dark, futuristic allegories may be difficult to decipher for those who did not live through the censorship of a military regime. Maquieira's reference to liberty should remind readers, however, that Chile, over time, has enjoyed the longest tradition of democracy among Latin American nations. Political difference has dominated the news from Chile since the period of Allende's minority government, and although the country is prospering as never before, poets like Harris and Maquieira take a dim view of Chile's present and future. The effects of dictatorship still linger in their poetry, making it more obtuse than Parra's antipoetry. Rarely do these two younger poets sound a hopeful note. By dramatic contrast, Francisco Véjar's poem is romantically optimistic, which demonstrates that even in Chile there are still poets who believe that the dreams and bridges they offer are not impossible. ALTHOUGH I HAVEN`T COME PREPARRAED The fundamental question that needs to be resolved in any approach to Parra's technique is why he invariably uses the glaringly prosaic discourse that characterizes antipoetry. There are two primary reasons for the consistent presence of colloquialisms and clichés in his writing. One grows directly out of Parra's continuing commitment to familiar, popular speech as his expressive and descriptive medium; this consideration has been discussed in Chapter 2, "The Theory of Antipoetry." The other is intimately related to Parra's ironic and comic purposes. When Parra uses banal language and humorous turns of phrase in compositions that are essentially tragic or pathetic, he creates an irony so pervasive that it determines important elements of structure in many of the antipoems. Language that is not emotively congruous with the subject matter is a basic component of the structure of antipoetry. The ironic effect of prosaic language in this context underscores the

differing points of view of the poem's protagonist and the reader who observes him, emphasizes the disparities between the tone of the work and its intention and highlights the tensions between connative and denotative statements which result from those disparities. Parra wants the reader to sense the incongruity and respond to the disparate emotional tones in antipoetry. He calls his writing a poetry of "affective tones that contrast with one another"' and he aphoristically describes the technique of antipoetry as one compounded of simultaneous "laughter and tears." The theoretical poems- "Advertencia al lector," for example, are documents of the delight he takes in discordant juxtapositions of serious, weighty matter and slang-ridden, banal language. The affective tones of antipoetry are the product of the intentionally inconsistent system of signs which Parra creates within each poem. The imagery, the figures, the serious, comic, ordinary or exalted feeling of the language in a poem, the statement or perception which the poet communicates to the reader and the uniform or disparate manner in which all of these elements work together constitute a system of signs and emotive signals to the reader. The signals stimulate a visceral response that depends upon both the nature of each element in the sign system and whether each element is congruous or incongruous with all the others. If the response which a poet desires to stimulate and his poetic statement have an emotive tone and effect. that is comparable to the various elements which produce that statement, then the sign system is straightforward and direct and the affective texture of a poem is harmonious and classically decorous.' In compositions with a uniform sign system there is a relatively smooth and continuous development of the theme and a steady, almost predictable movement toward its conclusion. Parra, however, creates an inconsistent sign system in the antipoems. He uses comic clichés and banalities when he writes of despair and exploits the burlesque and parodic possibilities inherent in prosaic language, but behind the comically ironic mask he is in dead earnest. He intends to join the disparities, to treat pathetic themes as if they were humorous, forging a link between inconsistent signs by equating their affective impact and making a new antipoetic synthesis out of the incongruities. Parra has summarized the motivating force behind this synthesizing process with a typically sardonic and epigrammatic statement: "I think that the poet should be a specialist in communication. Humor makes contact (with the reader) easier. Remember that it's when you lose your sense of humor that you begin to reach for your pistol" (Skarmeta, p. 38). In antipoetry the most common objects -telephones, soda fountains, park benches, even the colloquial language in which the poems are written- although they are the ordinary artifacts of modern urban life, are charged with desperate significance. They become the hostile furniture of quotidian existence that stands in the way of the protagonists and prevents them from making any heroic gestures because their environment, habits and background render such gestures ludicrous:

Discourse marker: Despite Function: Contraste Idea 1: El poeta parece un pequeño podrido en la retorica Idea 2: Esto puede parecer extremadamente negativo.

Discourse marker: Therefore Function: Conclusión Idea 1: Puede parecer extremadamente negativo. Idea 2: Limitado al crear un poema.

Discourse marker : But Function: Contraste Idea 1: Parra y Neruda fueron producto del país parte sur. Idea 2: El énfasis se encuentra en el estilo más antipoético.

Discourse marker: Though Function: Contraste Idea 1: Lihn es un retrato de sí mismo Idea 2: Este poema indica que Lihn es bien consciente de la labor de Parra.

Discourse marker: When Function: Condition Idea 1: Otro ejemplo de la Parra juguetón. Idea 2: Cuando él cambia el nombre de la formación de los maestros o pedagógicas escolares de la Universidad.

Discourse marker: Nonetheless Function: Contraste Idea 1: Los acontecimientos políticos en Chile son innegables Idea 2: Maquieira de oscuro y futurista alegorías pueden ser difíciles de descifrar para aquellos que no han vivido la censura del régimen militar.

Discourse marker: Highlights Function: Causa- efecto Idea 1: Las diferencias entre el tono de su trabajo y de la intención Idea 2: Las tensiones entre connotativa y denotativo las declaraciones que son el resultado de esas disparidades.

Discourse marker: For example Function: Ejemplificación Idea 1: "Contemplan al lector" Idea 2: Los documentos de la delicia que toma en serio discordantes de yuxtaposiciones