Poet from Punta Arenas wins Chile’s national Pablo Neruda Award

Since 1987, the prize has been awarded annually to a young Chilean poet. This year’s choice recognizes the poetry of Christian Formoso, with its focus on unique cultural world of Patagonia.

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The Pablo Neruda Foundation will present its 23rd Pablo Neruda Award to Christian Formoso, a 39-year-old poet from Punta Arenas, Chile’s southernmost major city.

It was Formoso’s unique interest in the life of southern Chile, and in its indigenous cultures, that set him apart from the six other candidates on the jury’s shortlist, said the Foundation.

The jury, composed of representatives from the Society of Chilean Writers, the Chilean Academy of Language, the University of Chile and the Pablo Neruda Foundation, praised “the originality of his poetry, where he brings together the historical, the ethnic, the indigenous and the domestic.

“What stands out in his work is the Patagonian universe and his profound poetic vision of this world.”

Born in Patagonia’s largest city in 1971, Formoso was licenced in English education at the Universidad de Magallanes, a degree he completed following time at Villanova University in the United States.

He published his first volume of poetry, “Hatred or the Inverted City,” in 1997, and has since published three more, most recently in 2008.

The Pablo Neruda Award is Formoso’s most recent accolade. He also received the Scholarship for Literary Creation from the National Council on Books and Reading in 1999, and the Bi-national Literary Prize for Argentine-Chilean Patagonia, in both 1998 and 2000.

Founded in 1987, the Pablo Neruda Award is distributed annually by the Pablo Neruda Foundation and recognizes the work of Chilean poets under the age of 40, offering a US $6,000 prize, along with a medal and certificate.

The Foundation, named for Chile’s most famous poet, was created in 1986 to protect and promote the legacy of the Chile’s second Nobel laureate, converting his three houses into museums of his work.

The Foundation has maintained contact with the world’s major Neruda scholars and encourage the work of the young writers carrying on Chile’s vibrant poetic tradition.

The award will be presented on Dec. 10 at La Chascona in Santiago.

This post is also available in Spanish