Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Latin American, Iberian and Latino Cultures


Paul Julian Smith

Committee Members

Fernando Degiovanni

Carlos Riobó

Subject Categories

Latin American Literature | Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies | Modern Literature | Other Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Spanish Literature


Chile, Latin American, Surrealist poetry, Queer, Deterritorialization


Una enunciación intersticial: la poética del destierro de Carlos de Rokha

The era of the Chilean vanguard, in early twentieth century, is currently experiencing a resurgence of interest and study. In particular, the popular uprisings of 1938 and significant advancement of women in cultural and social terms are pivotal, yet it was also the stage of state-sanctioned repression and violence, and in the ensuing decades, persecution of activists and marginalized individuals. My study of the work of the surrealist poet, Carlos de Rokha (1920-1962), highlights the close relationship in the creation of the literary canon with the definition of a national subjectivity.

With respect to de Rokha’s work, I theorize the concept of an interstitial poetics that emerges as a literary enunciation during the Chilean vanguard in a key historical moment, relying principally upon two ideas: Bourdieu’s habitus and Deleuze & Guattari’s deterritorialization. I advance the metaphor of a minor literature, also proposed by the latter, to the cultural field wherein the interstice opens. The work of Chicana lesbian poet, Gloria Anzaldúa, on the concept of the borderlands as a liminal space, provides the connection to contemporary context for study of an interstitial literary enunciation. The poetry by Carlos de Rokha is a work of fractured subjectivity, initially aligned with the surrealist esthetic, where the I surrenders its territory in an erotic disintegration and transformation of its fluid form. The deRokhian imaginary is characterized by visionary figurations of prophecy, ecstasy and self-annihilation, often associated with undiagnosed schizophrenia, of a poetic voice that projects towards an exile imagined beyond existence and beyond death, aware of the impossibility of living.

My research in the archives of the Fundación de Rokha, in Santiago de Chile, forms the basis for my study of Carlos de Rokha in an original and comprehensive close reading of his work, including some unpublished material, as well as the critical reception to date. In a tradition deeply influenced by its literary canon, Chilean cultural production is a paradox of canons, of national identity and literature of the margins, periodically challenged by a third other, as Carlos de Rokha illustrates, constantly fluid and deterritorialized.

#4161 Report of Final Examination.pdf (78 kB)
Signed Report of Dissertaion defense