Monday, April 02, 2012

Poem: Nicanor Parra

One of the living greats, Nicanor Parra (1914-), whom I posted about last December on the occasion of his receipt of the Cervantes Prize, has among his delectable trove the following gem, a poem written to young (and all) poets, that could serve as a distillation of his entire approach to poetry, and a guide for any poet--or writer, for that matter--who thinks that she must follow one school or style or method. The ultimate challenge is always the one Parra, in his witty way, identifies. Here goes:


Write as you will
In whatever style you like
Too much blood has run under the bridge
To go on believing 
That only one road is right.
In poetry everything is permitted.

With only this condition of course,
You have to improve the blank page.

Copyright © Nicanor Parra, translated by Miller Williams, from Poems and antipoems, Edited by Miller Williams. Translators: Fernando Alegría and others. New York: New Directions Pub. Corp., 1967. All rights reserved.

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