In memoriam: Nicanor Parra (1914-2018)

The news of the death of Nicanor Parra of Chile-the antipoet of the masses forced me to reflect on the lifecycle of poetry and its material manifestation-the book. In the era of changing digital environments, the book in its analog form is oftentimes examined through the lens of its utility to the user. Like every material object, the book has its origins, its life-cycle, and its end. However, as a librarian who deeply cares about the preservation of such artifacts in the era of proclaimed digitization efforts, I thought that it might be a good idea to visit our library’s stacks to examine what is sitting on the shelves for a user to grab and read. And yes, Ranganathan is pretty much alive in my memories, and there it was Nicanor Parra’s 1937 edition (the first edition) of “Cancinero sin nombre“, sitting in our “open-stacks.”. This title was published in Santiago de Chile by Nascimento.  The first thought that came to my mind is perhaps as a recent curator, I have failed to protect it and guard it against the ravages of time. The second thought that came to my mind was -what might be some of the ways, I could protect it? Should I transfer it to Bancroft for custodial reasons? But then the original binding was what should I do next! Thus came the decision to request a transfer of this title to Doe’s protected medium-rare cage! I was able to walk it over in person to our stacks supervisor who was more than helpful in this matter. Thank you, my colleagues, for allow me to protect the common heritage object of our humanity! RIP Nicanor Parra, I, El Indio (as I was called by one of my Latin Americal relatives) from India, remains committed to the preservation of Parra’s contribution to the literature of Chile, Latin America, and the World!

Author Parra, Nicanor, 1914-Inside flap of book Title Cancionero sin nombre / Nicanor Parra. Published Santiago de Chile : Nascimento, 1937. Location Call No. Status Main (Gardner) Stacks PQ8097.P32 C3 AVAILABLE PRINTED MATERIAL Description 87 p. ; 20 cm. Direct Link And here one can hear the poet’s voice (courtesy of the Library of Congress) –Chilean poet Nicanor Parra reading from his work. His poem- Jazmin de muerte, made me really think of life, flowers and death! I want to share an excerpt of it with you here.

Inside flap of book

Below is the site that our colleague Ms. Claudia Cuevas from Chile shared so generously with us!

A blurry screenshot of a website home page