Monday, April 16, 2012

N is for Pablo Neruda

Poetry is difficult to write about.  It seems ephemeral to many,  some people hate it, but there are countries, especially in South America, that revere their poets.  One is Chile and that poet is Pablo Neruda.  

He was born in 1904 in Chile, and "enjoyed from an early age the luck of attention."  And from an early age he absorbed his country's sights, sounds and atmosphere.  During his lifetime, he had many roles, diplomat, senator, politician, but always a poet first. He witnessed the Spanish Civil War and wrote a bitter, passionate poem about what he saw called, "I'm Explaining a Few Things," "Explico Algunes Cosas," a poem/painting like Picasso's 'Guernica."

One of his most famous poems is many times simply referred to as, '20.' 

Puedo Escribir Los Versos Mas Tristos Esta Noche 

"Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
 Write for example, 'The night is shattered
and the blue stars shiver in the distance.'

The night wind revolves in the sky and sings.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines,
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too."

That is just the first part, but notice the word sometimes;
everything hinges on that word 'sometimes.'

He has a huge  body of work, some historical, about the history of South America, some political.  He became a communist when he returned from Spain and wrote some very passionate poetry, intense and filled with imagery. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1971.  He died in 1973 a few days after the coup in Chile in which Salvador Allende was assassinated..

Gabriel Garcia Marquez called him: "The greatest poet of the twentieth century, in any language."

Reference:  Pablo Neruda;  Selected Poems, A Bilingual Edition

 Poems by Neruda can be found on the internet, hard to put more here.  Thoughts, questions, familiar with Neruda?  poetry lover or not?


  1. I love his poetry. He was an interesting man. We visited one of his houses in Isla Negra, Chile a few years ago. It is built like a ship with many nautical features and overlooks the Pacific Ocean. I believe he and his wife are buried in a plot by the side of the house.

  2. Thank you for your comment, CQ, hard for me to write about such wonderful writing in just a few words. When we were in Chile, his home in town was closed, so we were able to just peer in through the gates, but happy memories nevertheless.

  3. found you through a - z. I know nothing of poetry, found your post very interesting though.

  4. Thanks for visiting my blog! I like to write my own version of poetry but I don't follow or study poetry.
    -MJ A to Z blogger

  5. no not familiar but will become--great post

  6. The wonderful thing about the A-Z challenge is finding interesting new bloggers--and also, learning something new. I wasn't familiar with Pablo Neruda until reading your post. :)

  7. Thanks to Lynn, and Super Earthling. When I taught high school in LA I had many Mexican/American students and I searched for authors and poets who had Spanish surnames to share with my students so that they would become familiar with Latino /Latina authors. Pablo N's poetry is in Spanish and my book had Spanish on one side and the translation in English on the opposite side. I had my students read the Spanish and then the English. That's how I first found Pablo Neruda.

  8. Oh! Neruda is one of my most favorite authors ever! So cool to find another fan!

    From Diary of a Writer in Progress

    1. So glad to find another Neruda fan. I haven't begun to read all his work, but I have some amazing books about his life and they are here waiting for me to jump in.

  9. Hi Nice to be here too, Thanks for dropping in.
    Short and sweet postings. Best regards

  10. Thank you for the introduction to Neruda. I bet you were a great high school teacher!

    1. Mommy Patient: You made my day with that comment.

  11. Thanks, Gina, Mr. Ariel, and MP. Neruda had a fascinating life, if you Google him you will see more poetry and his very passionate love poetry and if you read Spanish it is even better. There is a recording of Hollywood stars reading his poems and my favorite is Madonna reading one in her throaty voice.

  12. I've read stuff by Neruda and enjoyed it, but unfortunately I don't know much Spanish so the full impact is lost. I know Russian, so I tend towards their poets instead, especially Akhmatova and Pushkin.