Contemporary Latin American Fiction

Meeting with Enrique Lihn [and Victor Jara]-Roberto Bolaño

Entry Question

Stylistically, Bolaño’s “Meting with Enrique Lihn” recuperates some of the tenets of the Infrarealist literary movement that Bolaño co-founded with other poets in Mexico during the mid 70s. The infrarealists thought of the poet as an adventurer, visionary, outsider, and intellectual provocateur. They believe in a poetry that could incorporate a mixture of languages and genres into the text as a way of representing the full integration of the poet into all areas of life, including the unconscious. For them there are invisible levels of reality that need to be uncovered by the poet/writer.

“A new lyricism that’s beginning to grow in Latin America sustains itself in ways that never cease to amaze us. The entrance to the work is the entrance to adventure: the poem as a journey and the poet as a hero who reveals heroes. Tenderness as an exercise in speed. Respiration and heat. Experience shot, structures that devour themselves, insane contradictions. The poet is interfering, the reader will have to interfere for himself.”

Manifesto of Infrarealism

Do you identify in the short story some of these ideas? Explain.

A Dream Meeting Between Bolaño, Lihn and Jara is a Meeting Between Ghosts

After reading the last section of the story (199) and reflecting too on the documentary Massacre at the Stadium why do you think Bolaño talks about a city inhabited by the dead.

What is imply by the observations regarding facades of another time, “a terrible time that endured for no reason other than sheer inertia”? What are the political argument behind this phrase?

How Lihn’s notion of war complements Bolaño’s dreamscape?

Six Solitudes

Who were them?

Roberto Bolaño

Enrique Lihn was a Chilean poet, playwright, and novelist. Born in 1929 in Santiago, Chile, Lihn aspired to be a painter, but after a failed attempt during university, he abandoned that dream to pursue writing. His work revolved around his contempt for the contemporary dictatorship as Chile was governed by a military junta. Works layered with social, political, and religious commentary are common throughout Lihn’s canon.

Víctor Jara was a Chilean teacher, theater director, poet, singer-songwriter and socialist political activist tortured and killed during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. The contrast between the themes of his songs—which focused on love, peace, and social justice—and the brutal way in which he was murdered transformed Jara into a potent symbol of struggle for human rights and justice for those killed during the Pinochet regime.

Oral/slide presentations

Omane,Felicia Abena Agyeiwah

Pacheco,Emily Anais


Pulla,Yamilee J

Film Noir and Bolaño


How Bolaño constructs his dream as the journey of Film Noir (anti) hero?

How Bolaño integrates Film Noir aesthetics and narrative tropes to his nightmarish representation of Lihn and Jara? 191-2; 196-7