Was Nicanor Parra the King Lear of the Chilean Literary Kingdom

Truth, like beauty, is neither created nor lost.
–Nicanor Parra*

I read King Lear as if he were here these days.
I wonder: it was Nicanor Parra, King Lear,
who translated himself using the Parrian style
as a dialogue on his deathbed, of those lands of power
in the old region of the anti-poet, even without having won the Nobel Prize.
In any case, Shakespeare himself says, in Lear’s voice:
‘Give me the map there.
Know that we have divided in three our kingdom.’

I have been informing myself through letters, articles and opinions
about his death, on that map of Cartagena that divided his kingdom

Like blood on the streets, sword of sharp words and insults that come and go.
Finally, I listen to what Raúl Zurita says, who was close to Nicanor.
He was the one who de-polished map lines and knew who could be the new King Lear from the Chilean literary domain.
By the way, I enjoyed reading Parra’s King Lear Spanish translation.
Daughters of mine tell me
Since we have resolved / leave the government territories and concerns of the State / Which one of you three loves us the most?

Juan Garrido Salgado has lived in Australia since 1990. He has published eight books of poetry in Australia and Chile. His work has been widely translated into several languages. Juan has translated works by Australian and Aboriginal poets into Spanish. In 2019, he read poems from his book When I was Clandestine (Rochford Press) as part of a poetry tour at the Granada International Poetry Festival in Nicaragua, and in Mexico and Cuba. His most recent collection is Hope Blossoming in Their Ink (Puncher & Wattmann 2020). Juan has written a new manuscript, The Dilemma of Writing Poems, which will be published by Puncher & Wattmann in 2023.

I acknowledge I live, work and create on the land of the Kaurna People and pay my respects to their Elders past, present, and emerging.

*Nicanor Parra (1914–2018) is one of Latin America’s most important and celebrated poets. He translated King Lear in 1992 for a production by the Escuela de Teatro de la Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. Click here to read more about Parra.

By Juan Garrido Salgado

Issue 3 | Autumn 2023

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