born Sept. 5, 1914, San Fabian, Chile
A student of mathematics and physics, Parra began teaching theoretical physics at the University of Chile in 1952. One of the most important Latin American poets of the 20th century, he is known for originating so-called antipoetry (poetry that opposes traditional poetic techniques or styles). In Poems and Antipoems (1954), he sought to make poetry accessible to the masses by treating everyday problems of a grotesque world in clear language with black humour and ironic vision. In later works he experimented with language, and he continued to use antipoetic techniques.