Contemporary Latin American Fiction

Asynchronous Blog Post on Bolaño, Lihn, and Massacre at the Stadium

Asynchronous Blog Post

Instructions:

1. Watch the Netflix documentary Massacre at The Stadium  (Bent Jorgen Perlmutt, 2019).

2. Read Roberto Bolaño’s short story “Meeting with Enrique Lihn” and the poem “Six Solitudes” by Enrique Lihn.

3. Pick ONE of the following options and respond in the comment section down below. The deadline is 1/30 before the class. 200-words minimum.

OPTION ONE

According to the documentary, why singer-songwriter Victor Jara was considered an enemy of Augusto Pinochet’s right-wing military regime? Why do you think Bolaño brings a distorted Jara into his story? How this ghostly figure fits into Bolaño’s nightmarish narrative?

OPTION TWO

In “Meeting with Enrique Lihn” Roberto Bolaño says that Chile and its capital Santiago “once resemble hell, a resemblance that, in some subterranean layer of the real city and the imaginary city, will forever remain” (191). Explain this quote by bringing examples from the documentary Massacre at the Stadium.

OPTION THREE

After reading these two sections from “Six Solitudes” by Enrique Lihn discuss how Bolaño builds the dream atmosphere of his short story using Lihn’s poetic style and imagery.

Six Solitudes

1.

The unending loneliness from which others drink
at happy hour
is not my cup, but my grave. I bring it to my lips
and flail within it till I slip from sight
into its morbid waves.
Loneliness for me is not a caged bird but a monster,
as if I were living with an insane asylum.

3.
Everyone’s waiting for war but me.
The housewife is waiting for war
with the invading rats.
Kids are waiting for the future,
for the war ahead.
Men walk the warpath
with banners and slogans.
All but me, who am waiting for what?
Waiting for poetry.
Waiting for nothing.

Welcome

Initial Chat with a Partner

Were you born in the US, the Caribbean, or Latin America? Where? Did you migrate to New York? When? From where? Where is your ancestral land? Do you still have contact with it? Do you belong to a diasporic community here in NYC? Where is home for you?

Group Discussion: Debriefing on the Syllabus

What struck your attention? What interested you the most about it? What question(s) do you have? Do you recognize any of the authors and sources that we are going to discuss? Do you usually read fiction or watch films from Latin America and the Caribbean? If that is the case, what was the last thing you watched or read from the region?

Short Analytical Exercise

How does this short cinematic text challenge borders and national constructs?

Compare the protagonist and discuss their respective crisis. Elaborate on their survival mechanism and their ways of envisioning futures.

How the film narrates contrasting diasporic realities while creating spaces for self-reliance and hope.

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