Rodrigo Lira was born in Santiago, in 1949. He studied philosophy, psychology, arts, communication arts, linguistics, and philology, among other things, but he never graduated. An eccentric fellow, he never published a book while he was alive. His poems, though, were spread by hand, around different university campuses, where he used to hang out with other poets and friends. Diagnosed with schizophrenia, Rodrigo committed suicide in 1981, on the day of his thirty-second birthday. Conisdered a cult figure, his fame most of the time prevents a serious assessment of the real importance of his work.
The great Nicanor Parra turned one-hundred years old last September. Obviously, nobody has wanted to miss the opportunity to celebrate and honor the world-renowned anti-poet. Local and foreign media have been publishing extensive biographies, reviews, and special notes on Parra’s life and work (some examples here, here, here, and here). Also different institutions in Chile have organized activities such as exhibitions and collective readings. The Gabriela Mistral Cultural Center (GAM) installed a photo exhibit labeled as his “first visual biography,” organized an international seminar about anti-poetry, and launched the book “Nicanor Parra or the art of demolition” by the British poet and scholar, Niall Binns. The National Council for Culture and Arts organized a collective reading called “National Parra-phrase” where people were invited to simultaneously read the poem “The Imaginary Man” (watch a video here), and Diego Portales University put together a remarkable exhibition of his visual work, installations, and his famous “Artifacts.”