Raul Zurita was born in Santiago, Chile in 1950. He started out studying engineering before turning to poetry. His early work is a ferocious response to Augusto Pinochet’s 1973 military coup.

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Raul Zurita was born in Santiago, Chile in 1950. He started out studying engineering before turning to poetry. His early work is a ferocious response to Augusto Pinochet’s 1973 military coup.

He has written what are perhaps the most massively scaled poems ever created. He has done this with earth-moving equipment and with smoke-trailing aircraft. In the early 1980s, Zurita famously sky-wrote passages from his poem, “The New Life,” over New York and later—still during the reign of Pinochet—he bulldozed the phrase “Ni Pena Ni Miedo” (“Without Pain Or Fear”) into the Atacama Desert which, for its length, can only be seen from the sky.

Zurita is the recipient of numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and the National Poetry Prize of Chile. Three new books—INRI, translated by William Rowe; Song for His Disappeared Love, translated by Daniel Borzutzky; and Purgatory, translated by Anna Deeny—have recently been published by, respectively, Marick Press, Action Books, and the University of California Press. His books of poems include, among others: Purgatorio (1979), Anteparaíso(1982), El paraíso está vacío, Canto a Su Amor, Desaparecido, El Amor de Chile, La Vida Nueva, and In Memoriam. He lives in Santiago, Chile, where he is a professor of literature at the Universidad Diego Portales.