Spain's Cervantes prize goes to Chilean poet Parra

MADRID (AP) — Chilean poet Nicanor Parra has won the Cervantes Prize, the Spanish-speaking world's highest literary honor, for his influential work mixing everyday slang with traditional verse.

The 97-year-old poet, essayist and physics graduate was announced the winner Thursday in Madrid by Spanish Culture Minister Angeles Gonzalez-Sinde.

He published his first book of poetry in 1937 and eventually adopted the style he called anti-poetry, introducing colloquial language into traditional poetry, the Spanish Culture Ministry said.

He has won the Chilean National Literature Award twice — in 1969 and again in 1981 — and his work has been translated into many languages.

The €125,000 ($170,000) prize honors writers who contribute to the richness of Spanish-language literature, and generally alternates between Spanish and Latin American writers. Last year, it went to Spain's Ana Maria Matute.

Other front-runners this year included Ernesto Cardenal of Nicaragua and Uruguay's Eduardo Galeano.

First handed out in 1976, previous winners include Carlos Fuentes of Mexico, Mario Vargas Llosa of Peru and Spain's late Camilo Jose Cela, who also won the Nobel prize for literature.