El Chancho Seis: Political Poetry in Barrio Yungay

On Friday nights in Barrio Yungay, Chanco Seis is a hub of chatter, warmly lit excitement, poetic expression and people toasting drinks to each other. Swept in by Santiago’s chilly June breezes, a progressive poets’ community gathers to share drinks and verse.

 Photo by Anika Rice
Photo by Anika Rice

Chanco Seis is a small restaurant and bar near Quinta Normal in the lively Barrio Yungay. Besides serving Chilean and other Latin American cuisine, it hosts weekly poetry nights in its traditional peña-style space. A Chilean peña is a cheap, popular folk music venue often associated with social justice and grassroots culture. Chancho Seis extends the traditional musical crowd to include the literary community as well.

 Photo by Anika Rice
Photo by Anika Rice

On this particular Friday, the restaurant is hosting both musical performances and bilingual poetry readings. A young duo start the night by playing Cueca and other folk songs. Cueca is Chile’s traditional folkloric dance. Among their numbers is Violeta Parra’s 'La Mariposa.'

Poet Valentina Marchant is next up with some readings from her book, Tránsito Ciego. She finishes with a shout-out to the University of Chile’s Literature Department.

Next up, the young poet Nea Pankracia recites some of her politically-charged “everyday poetry.” One of her pieces, which ends with “we are the children of Neoliberalism, don’t mess with us” is awarded some hearty whoops from the young crowd.

 Photo by Anika Rice
Photo by Anika Rice

The following guest is Marcela Saldaño, a winner of the National Prize for Poetry. She recites poems from various books of hers, and has a friend recite her French translations. At the end of the night, a lively duo called Cactus Andante belt out some folky tunes.

Chancho Seis' ambience is cozy and intimate. Vases of dried flowers and colorful collages decorate the walls. Mismatched tables and chairs are squeezed closer and closer together with the growing crowds. In the back of the restaurant, white cards with words, perhaps messages or poetry, cover a black wall. Near the doorway, an inviting lounge area awaits with comfortable couches. Streamers plunge down from the ceiling.

An evening at Chancho Seis results in many pleasurable memories: a drink shared with friends, inspiring political commentary, a young woman’s beautiful singing voice, or perhaps a book won during the raffle at intermission. Come listen any Friday night at 8:00 pm, and be sure to bring your own poems in the event of an open mic.

Chancho Seis
Huérfanos 3025
At the corner of Huérfanos and Maipú
Barrio Yungay
Metro Quinta Normal
Poetry on Fridays 8:00-midnight
Telephone: 02-6812238

No votes yet

Other articles you might enjoy

Leave a comment