Nicanor Parra was born in the area of Chillán on 5 September 1914. He grew up in a family of musicians and is the brother of singer Viola Parra. Parra studied mathematics and physics and taught theoretical physics at the University of Santiago de Chile after extensive studies and teaching in the US and England. During his time as a student, he already published his first poetry collection, Cancionero sin nobre in 1937. He became well-known after his second book, Poemas y antipoemas, which introduced the concept of anti-poems, was published in 1954. He was always looking to discover poetry anew (artefactos, ecopoetry, sermons, visual poetry).
Parra's works were translated into countless languages. He received many awards, such as the Chilean National Award for Literature (1969), Premio de Literatura Latinoamericana y del Caribe Juan Rulfo (1991), Premio Reina Sofia Iberoamericana (2001), Premio Cervantes (2011), and honorary doctorates. He was suggested as a candidate for the Nobel Prize by different universities on several occasions.