Saturday, October 04, 2008

Chilean Antipoetic Political Commentary

This from Nicanor Parra's new book, due in December 2008:


We do not respond
To ill-disposed comments:
Even a nursing child knows
That the tapeworm of extreme poverty
Was caused by previous administrations

We recognize that the unemployment figure
Is somewhat higher than one would like
But we have the responsibility to remind you
That the Government is not an employment agency

There are no lack of beds in the hospitals
It just happens that there are too many sick people...
There's an excessive number of sick in this country
The truth of the matter is
That owing to the high level of excellence
Of our hospital services
The sick are not dying quickly enough

They go on living even if in precarious conditions
Causing numerous difficulties

Parra, in his nineties, is one of the more influential poets of Chile, and Ginsberg and Ferlinghetti cited him as influential in the writing of their own poems. His latest book, from which this is drawn, is After-Dinner Declarations, in parallel translations by Dave Oliphant. Keep an eye out for it--it's so new even Amazon doesn't have it available for pre-order.
ISBN: 978-0-924047-63-3

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