Course Description

Course Name

20th Century Chilean Poetry: Neruda, Parra, and Huidobro

Session: VVPS1121

Hours & Credits


Prerequisites & Language Level

Note: A placement exam will be required when you arrive on site.


  • Prior to enrolling in courses at this language level, students must have completed or tested out of a minimum of four semesters (or six quarters) at the college level.


Course description

This course offers a vision on Chilean poetry in the 20th century, recognizing the main trends, their aesthetic characteristics and their relation to the cultural and social contexts, through interpretative reading of poems and metapoetic texts, by Neruda, Huidobro, De Rokha, and Parra, poets that together with Pezoa Véliz and Mistral are decisive for the development of the Chilean and Latin American poetic discourse. The proposed readings are aimed at recognizing the peculiarities of the process of appropriation of the artistic modernity and its contributions to the construction of the Chilean cultural identity.
The course is designed especially for foreign students that have Spanish as a second language and have an intermediate level in the language.

Main objective

Know, contextualize and challenge the function, the questions and the themes (particularly of modernity and identity) proposed by Chilean poetry of the 20th century, based on critical reading of representative texts of diverse tendencies and moments, including the work of Huidobro, Neruda, De Rokha, and Parra, in relation to the aesthetic, cultural, and social contexts.

Specific objectives

- Read with a critical perspective a representative selection of poems by Huidobro, De Rokha, Neruda, and Parra.
- Examine the influence that popular culture has had, as well as politics, and other artistic expressions in the development of the writing of these four poets.
- Know in a deep and comparative perspective the diverse poetics of the studied poets.
- Recognize the identitary display of the poetic subject of Chile?s modernity in this poetic tradition.
- Investigate the intertextuality of the studied poetry with the literature of the Spanish American and universal context to explore the features that form and distinguish it.
- Review some of the most representative critical readings about the studied poets.


Unit I:
- Chile: end of the 19th century and first decades of the 20th century. Culture and society.
- Features of peripheric modernity in Chile and Latin America.
- Main characteristics of modern poetry.
- Beginning of modern poetry in Chile. Naturalists, modernists, mundonovists.
- Pezoa Véliz and the popular. Gabriela Mistral and the telluric.
- The city as a theme in modern poetry.

Unit II

a) The avant-gardes as rupture.
Vicente Huidobro and the creationist aesthetics. Manifestos and poetics.
The avant-gardes as crisis of modernity: Altazor.

b) An expressionist avant-garde.
Excess as an experience of the subject/individual.
Cry, discourse and litany in De Rokha?s poetry.
Vernacular and baroque in De Rokha?s American social epic.

Unit III
a) Pablo Neruda?s poetics.
The sorrowful subject and the impossible overcoming of love.
Residencia en la Tierra: distress and marginality of the modern subject.
Engaged poetry: Canto general.
Poetics in Odas elementales.
Nature and the voyage in Neruda?s poetry.

b) Nicanor Parra: from the poets of luminosity to antipoetry.
The urban subject and the incorporation of mass media and orality in antipoetry.
Irony as a key to modernness.

*Course content subject to change