Nicanor Parra was a great poet but NOT fun to work with on translations

“As I went about preparing my manuscript, Parra canceled meetings and refused to answer queries, which I sent by mail across the three blocks that separated us. The straw that broke the camel’s back was when I assigned “The Man He Imagined,” a wonderful lyric poem about a lonely, heartbroken man who lives in a mansion, to Edith Grossman, a translator just hitting her stride and the author of The Antipoetry of Nicanor Parra. Behind my back, Nicanor had sent this same poem to at least four other translators. I asked him why he had done that. He said translation should be a horse race and he should be able to pick the winner.”

-David Unger –  Nicanor Parra, the Alpha-Male PoetParis Review – 1/29/18

Nicanor Parra – The Man He Imagined – translated by Edith Grossman

The man he imagined
lives in a mansion he imagined
in the middle of trees he imagined
on the banks of a river he imagined

Read rest of poem 

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