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After-Dinner Declarations

poetry by Nicanor Parra
translated by Dave Oliphant
bilingual Spanish/English

8.5" x 5.5"
513 pages

In the 235 poems that make up these collective declarations, renowned Chilean "antipoet" and Cervantes prize winner Nicanor Parra provides an entertaining and enlightening perspective on the modern world. Delivered as a series of five "verse speeches" during the 1990s, the poems in After-Dinner Declarations eschew literary ostentation in favor of playful, conversational musings. In a language steeped in colloquialisms, Parra's declarations employ a diverse range of discourses - from puns and allusions to diatribes and eulogies—in order to expose the hypocrisy of human institutions and offer a quipping challenge to those who remain satisfied with the status quo. Parra uses his linguistic brilliance and logical ingenuity to confront some of the most serious problems of our day, addressing perennial motifs such as ecology, human rights and responsibilities, and the limits of scientific knowledge. As the antipoet moves deftly from one topic to another with unbounded inventiveness, he discovers for us a wealth of political, philosophical, and literary insights, as well as unexpected connections between ideas that shape our lives.

"One of the great names in the literature of our language."

– Pablo Neruda

"After-Dinner Declarations, brilliantly translated by Dave Oliphant, shows us a new side of Nicanor Parra, one of the truly seminal figures of modern Spanish American poetry. Written in a raucous and wry vernacular, and enriched by the lyricism and wisdom that come from a long and fully engaged life, Parra's observations offered here touch on a wide variety of topics and issues, ranging from personal relationships and culture to politics, ecology, and the future of our planet. After-Dinner Declarations is a must read for anyone interested in Parra, the power and appeal of socially conscious poetry, or the exciting new field known as inter-American literature."

– Earl E. Fitz, Vanderbilt University

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