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Irony and Politics in the Poetry of Roque Dalton, José Emilio Pacheco, and Nicanor Parra

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While Roque Dalton, José Emilio Pacheco, and Nicanor Parra are among the most well-known poets of their respective countries, their works have rarely been put in conversation with each other due to the fact that they were produced in and responded to specific social and cultural contexts. But a close reading of key texts reveals that they engaged in rigorous and even controversial critique of dominant ideas around politics and art. My dissertation argues that by attending to these poets’ use of irony it becomes clear that they utilize it as a tool that allows them to examine and question dominant political ideologies and esthetic precepts without resulting in reductive and formulaic answers. The three main areas discussed in this project are 1) the critical approach to the poet and poetry, 2) the exploration of leftist political ideologies and critique of dogmatism in the left as well as of the United States and its disproportionate influence abroad and, 3) the use of masks and characters as a way to create productive tension within a text.

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