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[Mar 13] The Fall of Santiago in Contemporary Chilean Poetry (1990-2020)

Date: March 13, 2024 (Wednesday)

Time: 5:30 to 6:30 pm

Venue: CRT-5.41, Run Run Shaw Tower, 5/F, Centennial Campus, HKU

Speaker: Dr Bárbara Fernández-Melleda (Assistant Professor in Latin American Studies, HKU)



Depictions of city fall date back to the earliest written texts, such as Sumerian literary catalogues and ancient lamentations. This study seeks to analyse the way Santiago has been portrayed as a city that has been destroyed or is facing the prospect of destruction. My reading of Escrito en Braille (Written in Braille, 1999) by Alejandra Del Río, considers it a contemporary example of the lamentation genre following on Jeremiah’s Book of Lamentations. This poetry book also establishes the Pinochet regime as the destructor of the city. The second example to study presents a foreshadowing of city fall as a consequence of the social inequality stemming from neoliberal rule in the country—which is directly linked to the dictatorship’s economic reform. Through Elvira Hernández’s Santiago Rabia (Santiago Rage, 2016) readers encounter an early evocation of what came to happen in Santiago during the 2019 revolts. As Chile’s most prominent cultural manifestation, poetry remains central to the understanding of Chilean history, life and its possible future.


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