Pablo Neruda
Overview
Pablo Neruda was the pen name and, later, legal name of the Chilean poet, diplomat and politician Neftalí Ricardo Reyes Basoalto. He chose his pen name after Czech poet Jan Neruda
Jan Neruda
Jan Nepomuk Neruda was a Czech journalist, writer and poet, one of the most prominent representatives of Czech Realism and a member of "the May school".-Early life:...

.

Neruda became known as a poet while still a teenager. He wrote in a variety of styles including surrealist
Surrealism
Surrealism is a cultural movement that began in the early 1920s, and is best known for the visual artworks and writings of the group members....

 poems, historical epics, overtly political manifestos, a prose autobiography, and erotically-charged love poems such as the ones in his 1924 collection Twenty Poems of Love and a Song of Despair.
Quotations

Quiero hacer contigo lo que la primavera hace con los cerezos.

I want to do with you what spring does with cherry trees.

Me gustas cuando callas porque estás como ausente,y me oyes desde lejos, y mi voz no te toca.

I like for you to be still: it is as though you were absent,and you hear me from far away and my voice does not touch you.

Puedo escribir los versos más tristes esta noche.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.

Es tan corto el amor y tan largo el olvido.

Love is so short and forgetting is so long.

Encyclopedia
Pablo Neruda was the pen name and, later, legal name of the Chilean poet, diplomat and politician Neftalí Ricardo Reyes Basoalto. He chose his pen name after Czech poet Jan Neruda
Jan Neruda
Jan Nepomuk Neruda was a Czech journalist, writer and poet, one of the most prominent representatives of Czech Realism and a member of "the May school".-Early life:...

.

Neruda became known as a poet while still a teenager. He wrote in a variety of styles including surrealist
Surrealism
Surrealism is a cultural movement that began in the early 1920s, and is best known for the visual artworks and writings of the group members....

 poems, historical epics, overtly political manifestos, a prose autobiography, and erotically-charged love poems such as the ones in his 1924 collection Twenty Poems of Love and a Song of Despair. In 1971 Neruda won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Colombian
Colombian people
Colombian people are from a multiethnic Spanish speaking nation in South America called Colombia. Colombians are predominantly Roman Catholic and are a mixture of Europeans, Africans, and Amerindians.-Demography:...

 novelist Gabriel García Márquez
Gabriel García Márquez
Gabriel José de la Concordia García Márquez is a Colombian novelist, short-story writer, screenwriter and journalist, known affectionately as Gabo throughout Latin America. He is considered one of the most significant authors of the 20th century. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in...

 once called him "the greatest poet of the 20th century in any language." Neruda always wrote in green ink as it was his personal color of hope.

On July 15, 1945, at Pacaembu Stadium in São Paulo
São Paulo
São Paulo is the largest city in Brazil, the largest city in the southern hemisphere and South America, and the world's seventh largest city by population. The metropolis is anchor to the São Paulo metropolitan area, ranked as the second-most populous metropolitan area in the Americas and among...

, Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

, he read to 100,000 people in honor of Communist revolutionary leader Luís Carlos Prestes
Luís Carlos Prestes
Luís Carlos Prestes was a leader of the 1920s tenente rebellion and the Communist opposition to the dictatorship of Getúlio Vargas in Brazil....

. During his lifetime, Neruda occupied many diplomatic positions and served a stint as a senator for the Chilean Communist Party. When Conservative Chilean President González Videla
Gabriel González Videla
Gabriel González Videla was a Chilean politician. He was a deputy and senator in the Chilean Congress and was President of Chile from 1946 to 1952...

 outlawed communism
Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

 in Chile in 1948, a warrant was issued for Neruda's arrest. Friends hid him for months in a house basement in the Chilean port of Valparaíso
Valparaíso
Valparaíso is a city and commune of Chile, center of its third largest conurbation and one of the country's most important seaports and an increasing cultural center in the Southwest Pacific hemisphere. The city is the capital of the Valparaíso Province and the Valparaíso Region...

. Later, Neruda escaped into exile through a mountain pass near Maihue Lake
Maihue Lake
The Maihue Lake is a lake located east of Ranco Lake in the Andean mountains of southern Chile. The lake is of glacial origin and it is enclosed by mountain ranges of the Andes, by all sides, and drains west to Ranco Lake....

 into Argentina. Years later, Neruda was a close collaborator to socialist
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

 President Salvador Allende
Salvador Allende
Salvador Allende Gossens was a Chilean physician and politician who is generally considered the first democratically elected Marxist to become president of a country in Latin America....

. When Neruda returned to Chile after his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, Allende invited him to read at the Estadio Nacional
Estadio Nacional de Chile
The Estadio Nacional Julio Martínez Prádanos is the national stadium of Chile, and is located in the Ñuñoa district of Santiago). It is the largest stadium in Chile with an official capacity of 47,000, and is part of a 62 ha sporting complex which also features tennis courts, an aquatics center, a...

 before 70,000 people.

Neruda was hospitalized with cancer at the time of the Chilean coup d'état led by Augusto Pinochet
Augusto Pinochet
Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte, more commonly known as Augusto Pinochet , was a Chilean army general and dictator who assumed power in a coup d'état on 11 September 1973...

. Three days after being hospitalized, Neruda died of heart failure. Already a legend in life, Neruda's death reverberated around the world. Pinochet had denied permission to transform Neruda's funeral into a public event. However, thousands of grieving Chileans disobeyed the curfew and crowded the streets.

Early years

Ricardo Eliezer Neftalí Reyes Basoalto was born on July 12, 1904 in Parral, Chile
Parral, Chile
Parral is a city and commune and in the Linares Province of central Chile's seventh region of Maule.-History:Parral was founded in 1795 by the Viceroy of Peru, Ambrosio O'Higgins...

, a city in Linares Province
Linares Province
Linares is one of four provinces of the central Chilean region of Maule . The provincial capital and most populous center is the city of Linares.-Administration:...

 in the Maule Region
Maule Region
The VII Maule Region is one of Chile's 15 first order administrative divisions. Its capital is Talca. The region takes its name from the Maule River which, running westward from the Andes, bisects the region and spans a basin of about 20,600 km2...

, some 350 km south of Santiago
Santiago, Chile
Santiago , also known as Santiago de Chile, is the capital and largest city of Chile, and the center of its largest conurbation . It is located in the country's central valley, at an elevation of above mean sea level...

 to José del Carmen Reyes Morales, a railway employee, and Rosa Basoalto, a school teacher who died two months after he was born. Neruda and his father soon moved to Temuco
Temuco
Temuco is a city and commune, capital of the Cautín Province and of the Araucanía Region in southern Chile. The name comes from the Mapudungun language, meaning "temu water"; "temu" is a tree used by Mapuches for medicinal purposes. The city is located 670 km south of Santiago...

, where his father married Trinidad Candia Marverde, a woman with whom he had a child nine years earlier, a boy named Rodolfo. Neruda also grew up with his half-sister Laura, one of his father's children by another woman. On September 26, 1904 the young Neruda was christened "Neftalí", his late mother's middle name. In the winter of 1914, Neruda composed his first poems.

Early career

Neruda's father opposed his son's interest in writing and literature, but Neruda received encouragement from others, including future Nobel Prize winner Gabriela Mistral
Gabriela Mistral
Gabriela Mistral was the pseudonym of Lucila de María del Perpetuo Socorro Godoy Alcayaga, a Chilean poet, educator, diplomat, and feminist who was the first Latin American to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, in 1945...

, who headed the local girls' school. On July 18, 1917, at the age of thirteen, he published his first work, an essay entitled Entusiasmo y perseverancia (Enthusiasm and Perseverance) in the local daily newspaper, La Mañana, signed Neftalí Reyes. From 1918 to mid-1920 he published numerous poems such as "Mis ojos" ("My eyes") and essays in local magazines as Neftali Reyes. In 1919, he participated in the literary contest Juegos Florales del Maule where he won third place for his poem "Comunión ideal" or "Nocturno ideal". By mid-1920, when he adopted the pseudonym of Pablo Neruda, he was a published author of poetry, prose, and journalism. The young poet wanted to find a name that would mislead his father. "Neruda" originated from the Czech poet Jan Neruda
Jan Neruda
Jan Nepomuk Neruda was a Czech journalist, writer and poet, one of the most prominent representatives of Czech Realism and a member of "the May school".-Early life:...

. Years later, Pablo Neruda in recognition of the Czech poet, left a flower at the foot of his statue in Prague “Confieso que he vivido”. The first name Pablo is thought to be inspired by the French poet Paul Verlaine
Paul Verlaine
Paul-Marie Verlaine was a French poet associated with the Symbolist movement. He is considered one of the greatest representatives of the fin de siècle in international and French poetry.-Early life:...

.

In 1921, at the age of 16, Neruda moved to Santiago
Santiago, Chile
Santiago , also known as Santiago de Chile, is the capital and largest city of Chile, and the center of its largest conurbation . It is located in the country's central valley, at an elevation of above mean sea level...

to study French at the Universidad de Chile with the intention of becoming a teacher, but soon Neruda was devoting himself full time to poetry. In 1923, his first volume of verse, Crepusculario (Book of Twilights), was published, followed the next year by Veinte poemas de amor y una canción desesperada (Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair), a collection of love poems that was controversial for its eroticism, especially considering its author's young age. Both works were critically acclaimed and were translated into many languages. Over the decades, Veinte poemas would sell millions of copies and become Neruda's best-known work, though it did not go to a second edition until 1932. By the age of 20, Neruda had established an international reputation as a poet, but was facing poverty. In 1926, he published the collection Tentativa del hombre infinito (The trying of infinite man) and the novel Tentativa y su esperanza (The inhabitant and his hope).Tarn (1975) p15 In 1927, out of financial desperation, he took an honorary consulship in Rangoon
Yangon
Yangon is a former capital of Burma and the capital of Yangon Region . Although the military government has officially relocated the capital to Naypyidaw since March 2006, Yangon, with a population of over four million, continues to be the country's largest city and the most important commercial...

, then a part of colonial Burma
Myanmar
Burma , officially the Republic of the Union of Myanmar , is a country in Southeast Asia. Burma is bordered by China on the northeast, Laos on the east, Thailand on the southeast, Bangladesh on the west, India on the northwest, the Bay of Bengal to the southwest, and the Andaman Sea on the south....

 and a place of which he had never heard before.Tarn (1975) p15 Later, mired in isolation and loneliness, he worked stints in Colombo
Colombo
Colombo is the largest city of Sri Lanka. It is located on the west coast of the island and adjacent to Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte, the capital of Sri Lanka. Colombo is often referred to as the capital of the country, since Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte is a satellite city of Colombo...

 (Ceylon), Batavia
Jakarta
Jakarta is the capital and largest city of Indonesia. Officially known as the Special Capital Territory of Jakarta, it is located on the northwest coast of Java, has an area of , and a population of 9,580,000. Jakarta is the country's economic, cultural and political centre...

 (Java), and Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

. In Java he met and married his first wife, a Dutch bank employee named Maryka Antonieta Hagenaar Vogelzang. While on diplomatic service, Neruda read large amounts of poetry and experimented with many different poetic forms. He wrote the first two volumes of Residencia En La Tierra, which included many surrealistic
Surrealism
Surrealism is a cultural movement that began in the early 1920s, and is best known for the visual artworks and writings of the group members....

 poems.

Spanish Civil War

After returning to Chile, Neruda was given diplomatic posts in Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires is the capital and largest city of Argentina, and the second-largest metropolitan area in South America, after São Paulo. It is located on the western shore of the estuary of the Río de la Plata, on the southeastern coast of the South American continent...

 and then Barcelona
Barcelona
Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain after Madrid, and the capital of Catalonia, with a population of 1,621,537 within its administrative limits on a land area of...

, Spain.Tarn (1975) p16 He later replaced Gabriela Mistral as consul in Madrid
Madrid
Madrid is the capital and largest city of Spain. The population of the city is roughly 3.3 million and the entire population of the Madrid metropolitan area is calculated to be 6.271 million. It is the third largest city in the European Union, after London and Berlin, and its metropolitan...

, where he became the center of a lively literary circle, befriending such writers as Rafael Alberti
Rafael Alberti
Rafael Alberti Merello was a Spanish poet, a member of the Generation of '27....

, Federico García Lorca
Federico García Lorca
Federico del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús García Lorca was a Spanish poet, dramatist and theatre director. García Lorca achieved international recognition as an emblematic member of the Generation of '27. He is believed to be one of thousands who were summarily shot by anti-communist death squads...

, and the Peruvian poet César Vallejo
César Vallejo
César Abraham Vallejo Mendoza was a Peruvian poet. Although he published only three books of poetry during his lifetime, he is considered one of the great poetic innovators of the 20th century in any language. Thomas Merton called him "the greatest universal poet since Dante"...

.A daughter, Malva Marina Trinidad, was born in Madrid in 1934; she was to be plagued with health problems, especially hydrocephalus
Hydrocephalus
Hydrocephalus , also known as "water in the brain," is a medical condition in which there is an abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the ventricles, or cavities, of the brain. This may cause increased intracranial pressure inside the skull and progressive enlargement of the head,...

, during her short life. During this period, Neruda became slowly estranged from his wife and began a relationship with Delia del Carril, an Argentine twenty years his senior.

As Spain became engulfed in civil war, Neruda became intensely politicized for the first time. His experiences of the Spanish Civil War
Spanish Civil War
The Spanish Civil WarAlso known as The Crusade among Nationalists, the Fourth Carlist War among Carlists, and The Rebellion or Uprising among Republicans. was a major conflict fought in Spain from 17 July 1936 to 1 April 1939...

 and its aftermath moved him away from distinctive, privately focused work in the direction of collective obligation. Neruda became an ardent communist, and remained so for the rest of his life. The radical leftist politics of his literary friends, as well as that of del Carril, were contributing factors, but the most important catalyst was the execution of García Lorca by forces loyal to the Spanish dictator Franco
Francisco Franco
Francisco Franco y Bahamonde was a Spanish general, dictator and head of state of Spain from October 1936 , and de facto regent of the nominally restored Kingdom of Spain from 1947 until his death in November, 1975...

. By means of his speeches and writings, Neruda threw his support behind the Republican
Second Spanish Republic
The Second Spanish Republic was the government of Spain between April 14 1931, and its destruction by a military rebellion, led by General Francisco Franco....

 side, publishing the collection España en el corazón (Spain in The Heart, 1938). Consequently, he lost his post as consul due to his political militancy. Neruda's marriage broke down and couple divorced in 1936. She moved to Monte Carlo
Monte Carlo
Monte Carlo is an administrative area of the Principality of Monaco....

 and then to the Netherlands with their only child, and he would never see either of them again. After leaving his wife, he lived with Delia del Carril in France.

Following the election in 1938 of President Pedro Aguirre Cerda
Pedro Aguirre Cerda
Pedro Aguirre Cerda was a Chilean political figure. A member of the Radical Party, he was chosen as the Popular Front's candidate for the 1938 presidential election, and was triumphally elected. He governed Chile until his death in 1941...

, whom Neruda supported, the poet was appointed special consul for Spanish emigration in Paris. There Neruda was given responsibility for what he called "the noblest mission I have ever undertaken": shipping 2,000 Spanish refugees, who had been housed by the French in squalid camps
Concentration camps in France
There were internment camps and concentration camps in France before, during and after World War II. Beside the camps created during World War I to intern German, Austrian and Ottoman civilian prisoners, the Third Republic opened various internment camps for the Spanish refugees fleeing the...

, to Chile on an old boat called the Winnipeg
Winnipeg (ship)
SS Winnipeg was a French steamer notable for arriving at Valparaíso, Chile, on 3 September 1939, with 2,200 Spanish immigrants aboard. The refugees were fleeing Spain after Franco's victory in the Spanish Civil War...

. Neruda is sometimes charged with only selecting communists for emigration while excluding others who had fought on the side of the Republic. Others deny these accusations, pointing out that Neruda chose only a few hundred of the refugees personally; the rest were selected by the Service for the Evacuation of Spanish Refugees, set up by Juan Negrín
Juan Negrín
Juan Negrín y López was a Spanish politician and physician.-Early years:Born in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Negrín came from a religious middle-class family...

, president of the Spanish Republican government in Exile
Spanish Republican government in Exile
The Spanish Republican government in exile was a continuation of the government of the Second Spanish Republic, which was established in exile after the victory of Francisco Franco's forces in the Spanish Civil War in April 1939...

.

Mexico

Neruda's next diplomatic post was as Consul General in Mexico City, where he spent the years 1940 to 1943.Tarn (1975) p17 While in Mexico, he married del Carril, and learned that his daughter Malva had died, age eight, in Nazi-occupied Netherlands from various health problems.He also became a friend of the Stalinist assassin Vittorio Vidali
Vittorio Vidali
Vittorio Vidali , also known as Vittorio Vidale, Enea Sormenti, Jacobo Hurwitz Zender, Carlos Contreras, "Comandante Carlos") was an Italian-born Stalinist.- Early life :...

.

After the failed 1940 assassination attempt against Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky , born Lev Davidovich Bronshtein, was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and theorist, Soviet politician, and the founder and first leader of the Red Army....

, Neruda arranged a Chilean visa for the Mexican painter David Alfaro Siqueiros
David Alfaro Siqueiros
José David Alfaro Siqueiros was a social realist painter, known for his large murals in fresco that helped establish the Mexican Mural Renaissance, together with works by Diego Rivera and José Clemente Orozco, and also a member of the Mexican Communist Party who participated in an...

 who was accused of having been one of the assassination conspirators. Neruda later said he did it at the request of Mexican President Manuel Ávila Camacho
Manuel Ávila Camacho
Manuel Ávila Camacho served as the President of Mexico from 1940 to 1946.Manuel Ávila was born in the city of Teziutlán, a small town in Puebla, to middle-class parents, Manuel Ávila Castillo and Eufrosina Camacho Bello. He had several siblings, among them sister María Jovita Ávila Camacho and...

. This enabled Siqueiros, then jailed, to leave Mexico for Chile, where he stayed at Neruda's private residence. In exchange for Neruda's assistance, Siqueiros spent over a year painting a mural in a school in Chillán
Chillán
Chillán is a city in the Biobío Region of Chile located about south of the country's capital, Santiago, near the geographical center of the country. It is the capital of Ñuble Province and, with a population of approximately 170,000 people , the most populated urban center of this province...

. Neruda's relationship with Siqueiros attracted criticism and Neruda dismissed the allegations that his intent had been to help an assassin as "sensationalist politico-literary harassment". In Mexico, Pablo Neruda met the famous Mexican writer Octavio Paz
Octavio Paz
Octavio Paz Lozano was a Mexican writer, poet, and diplomat, and the winner of the 1990 Nobel Prize for Literature.-Early life and writings:...

 with whom he nearly came to blows in 1942.

Return to Chile

In 1943, following his return to Chile, Neruda made a tour of Peru, where he visited Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu is a pre-Columbian 15th-century Inca site located above sea level. It is situated on a mountain ridge above the Urubamba Valley in Peru, which is northwest of Cusco and through which the Urubamba River flows. Most archaeologists believe that Machu Picchu was built as an estate for...

. The austere beauty of the Inca citadel later inspired Alturas de Macchu Picchu, a book-length poem in twelve parts which he completed in 1945 and which marked a growing awareness and interest in the ancient civilizations of the Americas: themes he was to explore further in Canto General
Canto General
Canto General is Pablo Neruda's tenth book of poems. It was first published in Mexico in 1950, by Talleres Gráficos de la Nación. Neruda began to compose it in 1938....

. In this work, Neruda celebrated the achievement of Machu Picchu, but also condemned the slavery which had made it possible. In the Canto XII, he called upon the dead of many centuries to be born again and to speak through him. Martín Espada
Martín Espada
Martín Espada is a Latino poet, and professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he teaches poetry. Puerto Rico has frequently been featured as a theme in his poems.- Life and career :Espada was born in Brooklyn, New York...

, poet and professor of creative writing at the University of Massachusetts
University of Massachusetts
This article relates to the statewide university system. For the flagship campus often referred to as "UMass", see University of Massachusetts Amherst...

, has hailed the work as a masterpiece, declaring that "there is no greater political poem".

Neruda and Stalinism

Bolstered by his experiences in the Spanish Civil War, Neruda, like many left-leaning intellectuals of his generation, came to admire the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 of Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

, partly for the role it played in defeating Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

.This is echoed in poems such as poems "Canto a Stalingrado" (1942) and "Nuevo canto de amor a Stalingrado" (1943). In 1953 Neruda was awarded the Stalin Peace Prize. On Stalin's death that same year, Neruda wrote an ode to him, as he also (during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

) wrote poetry in praise of Fulgencio Batista
Fulgencio Batista
Fulgencio Batista y Zaldívar was the United States-aligned Cuban President, dictator and military leader who served as the leader of Cuba from 1933 to 1944 and from 1952 to 1959, before being overthrown as a result of the Cuban Revolution....

 "Saludo a Batista", ("Salute to Batista") and later to Fidel Castro
Fidel Castro
Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz is a Cuban revolutionary and politician, having held the position of Prime Minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976, and then President from 1976 to 2008. He also served as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba from the party's foundation in 1961 until 2011...

. His fervent Stalinism eventually drove a wedge between Neruda and longtime friend Octavio Paz
Octavio Paz
Octavio Paz Lozano was a Mexican writer, poet, and diplomat, and the winner of the 1990 Nobel Prize for Literature.-Early life and writings:...

 who commented that "Neruda became more and more Stalinist, while I became less and less enchanted with Stalin". Their differences came to a head after the 1939 Nazi-Soviet Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact when they almost came to blows in an argument over Stalin. Although Paz still considered Neruda "the greatest poet of his generation", in an essay on Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn was aRussian and Soviet novelist, dramatist, and historian. Through his often-suppressed writings, he helped to raise global awareness of the Gulag, the Soviet Union's forced labor camp system – particularly in The Gulag Archipelago and One Day in the Life of...

 he wrote that when he thinks of "Neruda and other famous Stalinist writers and poets, I feel the gooseflesh that I get from reading certain passages of the Inferno
Inferno (Dante)
Inferno is the first part of Dante Alighieri's 14th-century epic poem Divine Comedy. It is followed by Purgatorio and Paradiso. It is an allegory telling of the journey of Dante through what is largely the medieval concept of Hell, guided by the Roman poet Virgil. In the poem, Hell is depicted as...

. No doubt they began in good faith [...] but insensibly, commitment by commitment, they saw themselves becoming entangled in a mesh of lies, falsehoods, deceits and perjuries, until they lost their souls". Neruda called Lenin the "great genius of this century". His speech of June 5, 1946) gives a tribute to the late Soviet leader Mikhail Kalinin
Mikhail Kalinin
Mikhail Ivanovich Kalinin , known familiarly by Soviet citizens as "Kalinych," was a Bolshevik revolutionary and the nominal head of state of Russia and later of the Soviet Union, from 1919 to 1946...

, who for Neruda was "man of noble life", "the great constructor of the future", and "a comrade of arms of Lenin and Stalin".

Neruda later came to rue his support of the Soviet leader; after Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev led the Soviet Union during part of the Cold War. He served as First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964, and as Chairman of the Council of Ministers, or Premier, from 1958 to 1964...

's famous Secret Speech at the Soviet 20th Party Congress in 1956, which denounced the "cult of personality
Cult of personality
A cult of personality arises when an individual uses mass media, propaganda, or other methods, to create an idealized and heroic public image, often through unquestioning flattery and praise. Cults of personality are usually associated with dictatorships...

" that surrounded Stalin and accused him of committing crimes during the Great Purges, Neruda wrote in his memoirs "I had contributed to my share to the personality cult," explaining that "in those days, Stalin seemed to us the conqueror who had crushed Hitler's armies".Feinstein (2005) p312-313 Of a subsequent visit to China in 1957, Neruda would write: "What has estranged me from the Chinese revolutionary process has not been Mao Tse-tung
Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong, also transliterated as Mao Tse-tung , and commonly referred to as Chairman Mao , was a Chinese Communist revolutionary, guerrilla warfare strategist, Marxist political philosopher, and leader of the Chinese Revolution...

 but Mao Tse-tungism", which he dubbed Mao Tse-Stalinism: "the repetition of a cult of a Socialist deity". However, despite his disillusionment with Stalin, Neruda never lost his essential faith in communist theory and remained loyal to "the Party". Anxious not to give ammunition to his ideological enemies, he would later refuse publicly to condemn the Soviet repression of dissident writers like Boris Pasternak
Boris Pasternak
Boris Leonidovich Pasternak was a Russian language poet, novelist, and literary translator. In his native Russia, Pasternak's anthology My Sister Life, is one of the most influential collections ever published in the Russian language...

 and Joseph Brodsky
Joseph Brodsky
Iosif Aleksandrovich Brodsky , was a Russian poet and essayist.In 1964, 23-year-old Brodsky was arrested and charged with the crime of "social parasitism" He was expelled from the Soviet Union in 1972 and settled in America with the help of W. H. Auden and other supporters...

: an attitude with which even some of his staunchest admirers disagreed.
On March 4, 1945 Neruda was elected a Communist party senator
Senate of Chile
The Senate of the Republic of Chile is the upper house of Chile's bicameral National Congress, as established in the current Constitution of Chile.-Composition:...

 for the northern provinces of Antofagasta
Antofagasta Region
The II Antofagasta Region is one of Chile's fifteen first-order administrative divisions. It comprises three provinces, Antofagasta, El Loa and Tocopilla...

 and Tarapacá
Tarapacá Region
The I Tarapacá Region is one of Chile's 15 first order administrative divisions. It borders the Chilean Arica and Parinacota Region to the north, Bolivia's Oruro Department on the east, the Antofagasta Region on the south and the Pacific Ocean on the west. The port city of Iquique The I Tarapacá...

 in the arid and inhospitable Atacama Desert
Atacama Desert
The Atacama Desert is a plateau in South America, covering a strip of land on the Pacific coast, west of the Andes mountains. It is, according to NASA, National Geographic and many other publications, the driest desert in the world...

. He officially joined the Communist Party of Chile
Communist Party of Chile
The Communist Party of Chile is a Chilean political party inspired by the thoughts of Karl Marx and Lenin. It was founded in 1922, as the continuation of the Socialist Workers Party, and in 1934 it established its youth wing, the Communist Youth of Chile .In the last legislative elections in Chile...

 four months later. In 1946, Radical Party presidential candidate Gabriel González Videla
Gabriel González Videla
Gabriel González Videla was a Chilean politician. He was a deputy and senator in the Chilean Congress and was President of Chile from 1946 to 1952...

 asked Neruda to act as his campaign manager. González Videla was supported by a coalition of left-wing parties and Neruda fervently campaigned on his behalf. Once in office, however, González Videla turned against the Communist Party. The breaking point for Senator Neruda was the violent repression of a Communist-led miners' strike in Lota
Lota, Chile
Lota is a city and commune located in the center of the Chile on the Gulf of Arauco. It lies within the Concepción Province of the Biobío Region.-History:...

 on October 1947, where striking workers were herded into island military prisons and a concentration camp in the town of Pisagua
Pisagua
Pisagua is a Chilean port on the Pacific Ocean, located in Huara comuna , in Tarapacá Region, northern Chile. In 2007, the new province of El Tamarugal was established and the comuna of Huara, previously within the province of Iquique, was incorporated to the newly created province.-Early...

. Neruda's criticism of González Videla culminated in a dramatic speech in the Chilean senate on January 6, 1948, which became known as "Yo acuso" ("I accuse"), in the course of which he read out the names of the miners and their families who were imprisoned at the concentration camp.

Exile

A few weeks later in 1948, finding himself threatened with arrest, Neruda went into hiding and he and his wife were smuggled from house to house hidden by supporters and admirers for the next thirteen months. While in hiding, Senator Neruda was removed from office and in September 1948 the Communist Party was banned altogether under the Ley de Defensa Permanente de la Democracia (Law for the Permanent Defense of Democracy), called by critics the Ley Maldita (Accursed Law), which eliminated over 26,000 people from the electoral registers, thus stripping them of their right to vote. Neruda moved later to Valdivia
Valdivia, Chile
Valdivia is a city and commune in southern Chile administered by the Municipality of Valdivia. The city is named after its founder Pedro de Valdivia and is located at the confluence of the Calle-Calle, Valdivia and Cau-Cau Rivers, approximately east of the coastal towns of Corral and Niebla...

 in southern Chile. From Valdivia he moved to Fundo Huishue a forestry estate in the vicinities of Huishue Lake
Huishue Lake
Huihue Lake is located in the Andes of the Lago Ranco commune in southern Chile. More precisely the lake is located 10 km south of Maihue Lake , 15 km northeast of Puyehue Volcano and 10 km west of the Chile-Argentina.Around the year shift of 1948-1949 Chilean poet Pablo Neruda hided in...

. Neruda's life underground ended in March 1949 when he fled over the Lilpela Pass
Lilpela Pass
Ipela or Lilpela is a mountain pass through the Andes along the border between Chile and Argentina. It is most notable for being the pass used by Pablo Neruda to flee from Chile in 1949. The pass is not outfitted as an international border crossing. During summer months Carabineros guards the...

 on the Andes Mountains to Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

 on horseback. He would dramatically recount his escape from Chile in his Nobel Prize lecture.

Once out of Chile, he spent the next three years in exile. In Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires is the capital and largest city of Argentina, and the second-largest metropolitan area in South America, after São Paulo. It is located on the western shore of the estuary of the Río de la Plata, on the southeastern coast of the South American continent...

, Neruda took advantage of the slight resemblance between him and his friend, the future Nobel Prize-winning novelist and cultural attaché to the Guatemalan embassy, Miguel Ángel Asturias
Miguel Ángel Asturias
Miguel Ángel Asturias Rosales was a Nobel Prize–winning Guatemalan poet, novelist, playwright, journalist and diplomat...

, to travel to Europe using Asturias's passport.Feinstein (2005) p236-7 Pablo Picasso
Pablo Picasso
Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso known as Pablo Ruiz Picasso was a Spanish expatriate painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, and stage designer, one of the greatest and most influential artists of the...

 arranged his entrance into Paris and Neruda made a surprise appearance there to a stunned World Congress of Peace Forces, while the Chilean government denied that the poet could have escaped the country. Neruda spent those three years traveling extensively throughout Europe as well as taking trips to India, China, Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

 and the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

. His trip to Mexico in late 1949 was lengthened due to a serious bout of phlebitis
Phlebitis
Phlebitis is an inflammation of a vein, usually in the legs.When phlebitis is associated with the formation of blood clots , usually in the deep veins of the legs, the condition is called thrombophlebitis...

.Feinstein (2005) p290 A Chilean singer named Matilde Urrutia
Matilde Urrutia
Matilde Urrutia was the third wife of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, from 1966 until his death in 1973. They met in Santiago in 1946. Urrutia was the inspiration behind Neruda's work 100 Love Sonnets which includes a beautiful dedication to her...

 was hired to care for him and they began an affair that would, years later, culminate in marriage. During his exile, Urrutia would travel from country to country shadowing him and they would arrange meetings whenever they could. Matilde Urrutia was the muse for "Los versos del Capitán", which he later published anonymously in 1952.

While in Mexico, Neruda also published his lengthy epic poem Canto General
Canto General
Canto General is Pablo Neruda's tenth book of poems. It was first published in Mexico in 1950, by Talleres Gráficos de la Nación. Neruda began to compose it in 1938....

, a Whitmanesque
Walt Whitman
Walter "Walt" Whitman was an American poet, essayist and journalist. A humanist, he was a part of the transition between transcendentalism and realism, incorporating both views in his works. Whitman is among the most influential poets in the American canon, often called the father of free verse...

 catalog of the history, geography, and flora and fauna of South America, accompanied by Neruda's observations and experiences. Many of them dealt with his time underground in Chile, which is when he composed much of the poem. In fact, he had carried the manuscript with him on his escape on horseback. A month later, a different edition of five thousand copies was boldly published in Chile by the outlawed Communist Party based on a manuscript Neruda had left behind. In Mexico, he was granted honorary Mexican citizenship.Tarn (1975) p22 Neruda's 1952 stay in a villa owned by Italian historian Edwin Cerio
Edwin Cerio
Edwin Cerio was a prominent Italian writer, engineer, architect, historian, and botanist. He was born on the island of Capri to an English artist mother and a well-known local physician, Ignazio Cerio.-Early life:...

 on the island of Capri
Capri
Capri is an Italian island in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the Sorrentine Peninsula, on the south side of the Gulf of Naples, in the Campania region of Southern Italy...

 was fictionalized in Antonio Skarmeta
Antonio Skármeta
Antonio Skármeta is a Chilean writer, born November 7, 1940 in Antofagasta, Chile. He was born to Croatian immigrants from the Adriatic island of Brač, region of Dalmatia....

's 1985 novel Ardiente Paciencia (Ardent Patience, later known as El cartero de Neruda, or Neruda's Postman), which inspired the popular film Il Postino
Il Postino
Il Postino is a 1994 Italian film directed by Michael Radford. The film was originally released in the U.S. as The Postman, a straight translation of the Italian title...

("The Postman", 1994).Feinstein (2005) p278

Return to Chile

By 1952, the González-Videla government was on its last legs, weakened by corruption scandals. The Chilean Socialist Party was in the process of nominating Salvador Allende
Salvador Allende
Salvador Allende Gossens was a Chilean physician and politician who is generally considered the first democratically elected Marxist to become president of a country in Latin America....

 as its candidate for the September 1952 presidential elections and was keen to have the presence of Neruda, by now Chile's most prominent left-wing literary figure, to support the campaign. Neruda returned to Chile in August of that year and rejoined Delia del Carril, who had traveled ahead of him some months earlier, but the marriage was crumbling. Del Carril eventually learned of his affair with Matilde Urrutia and he sent her back to Chile in 1955. She convinced the Chilean officials to lift his arrest allowing Urrutia and Neruda to go to Capri, Italy. Now united with Urrutia, Neruda would, aside from many foreign trips and a stint as Allende's ambassador to France from 1970 to 1973, spend the rest of his life in Chile.

By this time, Neruda enjoyed worldwide fame as a poet, and his books were being translated into virtually all the major languages of the world. He vigorously denounced the U.S. during the Cuban missile crisis
Cuban Missile Crisis
The Cuban Missile Crisis was a confrontation among the Soviet Union, Cuba and the United States in October 1962, during the Cold War...

 and later in the decade he would likewise repeatedly condemn the U.S. for the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

. But being one of the most prestigious and outspoken left-wing intellectuals alive, he also attracted opposition from ideological opponents. The Congress for Cultural Freedom, an anti-communist organization covertly established and funded by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency
Central Intelligence Agency
The Central Intelligence Agency is a civilian intelligence agency of the United States government. It is an executive agency and reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence, responsible for providing national security intelligence assessment to senior United States policymakers...

, adopted Neruda as one of its primary targets and launched a campaign to undermine his reputation, reviving the old claim he had been an accomplice in the attack on Trotsky in Mexico City in 1940.Feinstein (2005) p487 The campaign became more intense when it became known that Neruda was a candidate for the 1964 Nobel prize, which was eventually awarded to Jean-Paul Sartre
Jean-Paul Sartre
Jean-Paul Charles Aymard Sartre was a French existentialist philosopher, playwright, novelist, screenwriter, political activist, biographer, and literary critic. He was one of the leading figures in 20th century French philosophy, particularly Marxism, and was one of the key figures in literary...

.Feinstein (2005) p334-5

In 1966, Neruda was invited to attend an International PEN
International PEN
PEN International , the worldwide association of writers, was founded in London in 1921 to promote friendship and intellectual co-operation among writers everywhere....

 conference in New York City.Feinstein (2005) p341-5 Officially, he was barred from entering the U.S. because he was a communist, but the conference organizer, playwright Arthur Miller
Arthur Miller
Arthur Asher Miller was an American playwright and essayist. He was a prominent figure in American theatre, writing dramas that include plays such as All My Sons , Death of a Salesman , The Crucible , and A View from the Bridge .Miller was often in the public eye,...

, eventually prevailed upon the Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon Baines Johnson , often referred to as LBJ, was the 36th President of the United States after his service as the 37th Vice President of the United States...

 Administration to grant Neruda a visa. Neruda gave readings to packed halls, and even recorded some poems for the Library of Congress
Library of Congress
The Library of Congress is the research library of the United States Congress, de facto national library of the United States, and the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. Located in three buildings in Washington, D.C., it is the largest library in the world by shelf space and...

. Miller later opined that Neruda's adherence to his communist ideals of the 1930s was a result of his protracted exclusion from "bourgeois society". Due to the presence of many Eastern Bloc
Eastern bloc
The term Eastern Bloc or Communist Bloc refers to the former communist states of Eastern and Central Europe, generally the Soviet Union and the countries of the Warsaw Pact...

 writers, Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes
Carlos Fuentes
Carlos Fuentes Macías is a Mexican writer and one of the best-known living novelists and essayists in the Spanish-speaking world. He has influenced contemporary Latin American literature, and his works have been widely translated into English and other languages.-Biography:Fuentes was born in...

 later wrote that the PEN conference marked a "beginning of the end" of the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

.

Upon Neruda's return to Chile, he stopped in Peru, where he gave readings to enthusiastic crowds in Lima and Arequipa
Arequipa
Arequipa is the capital city of the Arequipa Region in southern Peru. With a population of 836,859 it is the second most populous city of the country...

 and was received by President Fernando Belaúnde Terry
Fernando Belaúnde Terry
Fernando Belaúnde Terry was President of Peru for two non-consecutive terms . Deposed by a military coup in 1968, he was re-elected in 1980 after eleven years of military rule...

. However, this visit also prompted an unpleasant backlash; because the Peruvian government had come out against the government of Fidel Castro
Fidel Castro
Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz is a Cuban revolutionary and politician, having held the position of Prime Minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976, and then President from 1976 to 2008. He also served as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba from the party's foundation in 1961 until 2011...

 in Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

, July 1966 saw more then one hundred Cuban intellectuals retaliate against the poet by signing a letter that charged Neruda with colluding with the enemy, calling him an example of the "tepid, pro-Yankee revisionism" then prevalent in Latin America. The affair was particularly painful for Neruda because of his previous outspoken support for the Cuban revolution, and he never visited the island again, even after receiving an invitation in 1968.

After the death of Che Guevara
Che Guevara
Ernesto "Che" Guevara , commonly known as el Che or simply Che, was an Argentine Marxist revolutionary, physician, author, intellectual, guerrilla leader, diplomat and military theorist...

 in Bolivia
Bolivia
Bolivia officially known as Plurinational State of Bolivia , is a landlocked country in central South America. It is the poorest country in South America...

 in 1967, Neruda wrote several articles regretting the loss of a "great hero".Feinstein (2005) p326 At the same time, he told his friend Aida Figueroa not to cry for Che, but for Luis Emilio Recabarren
Luis Emilio Recabarren
Luis Emilio Recabarren Serrano was a Chilean political figure. He was elected several times as deputy, and was the driving force behind the Worker's Movement in that country.- Early life :...

, the father of the Chilean communist movement, who preached a pacifist revolution over Che's violent ways.

Final years

In 1970, Neruda was nominated as a candidate for the Chilean presidency, but ended up giving his support to Salvador Allende
Salvador Allende
Salvador Allende Gossens was a Chilean physician and politician who is generally considered the first democratically elected Marxist to become president of a country in Latin America....

, who later won the election and was inaugurated in 1970 as the first democratically elected socialist head of state.Tarn (1975) p22Feinstein (2005) p367 Shortly thereafter, Allende appointed Neruda the Chilean ambassador to France, lasting from 1970–1972; his final diplomatic posting. During his stint in Paris, Neruda helped to renegotiate the external debt of Chile, billions owed to European and American banks, but within months of his arrival in Paris his health began to deteriorate. Neruda returned to Chile two and half years later due to his failing health.

In 1971, Neruda was awarded the Nobel Prize
Nobel Prize
The Nobel Prizes are annual international awards bestowed by Scandinavian committees in recognition of cultural and scientific advances. The will of the Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, established the prizes in 1895...

, a decision that did not come easily because some of the committee members had not forgotten Neruda's past praise of Stalinist dictatorship. But his Swedish translator, Artur Lundkvist
Artur Lundkvist
Artur Lundkvist was a Swedish writer, poet and literary critic. He was a member of the Swedish Academy from 1968....

, did his best to ensure the Chilean received the prize.Feinstein (2005) p333 "A poet", Neruda stated in his Stockholm speech of acceptance of the Nobel Prize, "is at the same time a force for solidarity and for solitude." The following year Neruda was awarded the prestigious Golden Wreath Award at the Struga Poetry Evenings
Struga Poetry Evenings
Struga Poetry Evenings is an international poetry festival held annually in Struga, Republic of Macedonia. During the several decades of its existence, the Festival has awarded its most prestigious award, the Golden Wreath, to some of the most notable international poets, including: Mahmoud...

.

As the disturbances of 1973
Chilean coup of 1973
The 1973 Chilean coup d'état was a watershed event of the Cold War and the history of Chile. Following an extended period of political unrest between the conservative-dominated Congress of Chile and the socialist-leaning President Salvador Allende, discontent culminated in the latter's downfall in...

 unfolded, Neruda, then terminally ill with prostate cancer
Prostate cancer
Prostate cancer is a form of cancer that develops in the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system. Most prostate cancers are slow growing; however, there are cases of aggressive prostate cancers. The cancer cells may metastasize from the prostate to other parts of the body, particularly...

, was devastated by the mounting attacks on the Allende government.The military coup led by General Augusto Pinochet
Augusto Pinochet
Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte, more commonly known as Augusto Pinochet , was a Chilean army general and dictator who assumed power in a coup d'état on 11 September 1973...

 on September 11 saw Neruda's hopes for a Marxist
Marxism
Marxism is an economic and sociopolitical worldview and method of socioeconomic inquiry that centers upon a materialist interpretation of history, a dialectical view of social change, and an analysis and critique of the development of capitalism. Marxism was pioneered in the early to mid 19th...

 Chile destroyed. Shortly thereafter, during a search of the house and grounds at Isla Negra by Chilean armed forces at which Neruda was present, the poet famously remarked: "Look around—there's only one thing of danger for you here—poetry." Feinstein (2005) p413

Neruda died of heart failure on the evening of September 23, 1973, at Santiago's Santa María Clinic. The funeral took place amidst a massive police
Carabineros de Chile
thumb|250px|Carabineros de Chile, patrolling a street in [[Santiago, Chile|Santiago]]The Carabiniers of Chile, are the uniformed Chilean national police force and gendarmerie, created on April 27, 1927. Their mission is to maintain order and create public respect for the laws of the country...

 presence, and mourners took advantage of the occasion to protest against the new regime, established just a couple of weeks before. Neruda's house was broken into and his papers and books taken or destroyed.

In 1974 his Memoirs appeared under the title I Confess I Have Lived, updated to the last days of the poet’s life, and including a final segment describing the death of Salvador Allende during the storming of the Moneda Palace by Pinochet and other generals – occurring only twelve days before Neruda died. Matilde Urrutia subsequently compiled and edited for publication the memoirs and possibly his final poem "Right Comrade, It's the Hour of the Garden". These and other activities brought her into conflict with Pinochet's government, which continually sought to curtail Neruda's influence on the Chilean collective consciousness. Urrutia's own memoir, My Life with Pablo Neruda, was published posthumously in 1986.

In June 2011, a Chilean judge ordered that an investigation be launched following suggestions that Neruda may have been poisoned by the Pinochet regime for his pro-Allende
Salvador Allende
Salvador Allende Gossens was a Chilean physician and politician who is generally considered the first democratically elected Marxist to become president of a country in Latin America....

 stance and political views at the time of his death.

Neruda owned three houses in Chile; today they are all open to the public as museums: La Chascona in Santiago, La Sebastiana in Valparaíso
Valparaíso
Valparaíso is a city and commune of Chile, center of its third largest conurbation and one of the country's most important seaports and an increasing cultural center in the Southwest Pacific hemisphere. The city is the capital of the Valparaíso Province and the Valparaíso Region...

, and Casa de Isla Negra
Casa de Isla Negra
Casa de Isla Negra was one of Pablo Neruda's three houses in Chile. It is located at Isla Negra, El Quisco, San Antonio Province, Valparaíso Region about 85 km to the south of Valparaíso and 110 km to the west of Santiago. It was his favorite house and where he and his third wife, Matilde Urrutia...

 in Isla Negra
El Quisco
El Quisco is a Chilean city and commune in San Antonio Province, Valparaíso Region. Located in the country's central coast, it serves as a popular summer resort for the population of Santiago...

, where he and Matilde Urrutia are buried. A bust of Neruda stands on the south side of the Organization of American States
Organization of American States
The Organization of American States is a regional international organization, headquartered in Washington, D.C., United States...

 building in Washington D.C.

Borges

During the late 1960s, Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges
Jorge Luis Borges
Jorge Francisco Isidoro Luis Borges Acevedo , known as Jorge Luis Borges , was an Argentine writer, essayist, poet and translator born in Buenos Aires. In 1914 his family moved to Switzerland where he attended school, receiving his baccalauréat from the Collège de Genève in 1918. The family...

 was asked for his opinion of Pablo Neruda. After describing a brief meeting with him when both were young, Borges stated, "I think of him as a very fine poet, a very fine poet. I don't admire him as a man, I think of him as a very mean man." When asked for the reasons for this, Borges continued,
"Well, he wrote a book -- well, maybe here I'm being political -- he wrote a book about the tyrants of South America, and then he had several stanzas against the United States. Now he knows that that's rubbish. And he had not a word against Perón. Because he had a lawsuit in Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires is the capital and largest city of Argentina, and the second-largest metropolitan area in South America, after São Paulo. It is located on the western shore of the estuary of the Río de la Plata, on the southeastern coast of the South American continent...

, that was explained to me afterwards, and he didn't care to risk anything. And so, when he was supposed to be writing at the top of his voice, full of noble indignation, he had not a word to say against Perón. And he was married to an Argentine lady, he knew that many of his friends had been sent to jail. He knew all about the state of our country, but not a word against him. At the same time, he was speaking against the United States, knowing the whole thing was a lie, no? But, of course, that doesn't mean anything against his poetry. Neruda is a very fine poet, a great poet in fact. And when they gave Miguel de Asturias
Miguel Ángel Asturias
Miguel Ángel Asturias Rosales was a Nobel Prize–winning Guatemalan poet, novelist, playwright, journalist and diplomat...

 the Nobel Prize
Nobel Prize
The Nobel Prizes are annual international awards bestowed by Scandinavian committees in recognition of cultural and scientific advances. The will of the Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, established the prizes in 1895...

, I said that it should have been given to Neruda! Now when I was in Chile
Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

, and we were on different political sides, I think he did the best thing to do. He went on a holiday during the three or four days I was there so there was no occasion for our meeting. But I think he was acting politely, no? Because he knew that people would be playing him up against me, no? I mean, I was an Argentine, poet, he was a Chilean poet, he's on the side of the Communists, I'm against them. So I felt he was behaving very wisely in avoiding a meeting that would have been quite uncomfortable for both of us."

Music

  • Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis
    Mikis Theodorakis
    Mikis Theodorakis is one of the most renowned Greek songwriters and composers. Internationally, he is probably best known for his songs and for his scores for the films Zorba the Greek , Z , and Serpico .Politically, he identified with the left until the late 1980s; in 1989, he ran as an...

     set to music the famous Canto General.
  • Austrian avantgarde composer Michael Gielen
    Michael Gielen
    -Professional career:Gielen was born in Dresden, Germany, to opera director Josef Gielen. Through his mother, Rose, he is the nephew of Eduard Steuermann and Salka Steuermann Viertel. He began his career as a pianist in Buenos Aires, where he studied with Erwin Leuchter and gave an early...

     set to music Un Día Sobresale (Ein Tag Tritt Hervor. Pentaphonie für obligates Klavier, fünf Soloinstrumente und fünf Gruppen zu je fünf Musikern mit Worten von Pablo Neruda. 1960-3).
  • Mexican composer Daniel Catán
    Daniel Catán
    Daniel Catán was a Mexican composer of Russian Sephardic Jewish descent known particularly for his operas and his creative friendship with the tenor Plácido Domingo.-Career:...

     wrote an opera Il Postino (2010), whose premiere production featured Spanish tenor Plácido Domingo
    Plácido Domingo
    Plácido Domingo KBE , born José Plácido Domingo Embil, is a Spanish tenor and conductor known for his versatile and strong voice, possessing a ringing and dramatic tone throughout its range...

     portraying Pablo Neruda.
  • Folk rock / progressive rock group Los Jaivas
    Los Jaivas
    Los Jaivas are a Chilean musical group who perform in folk, rock, and progressive rock styles.-History:Los Jaivas appeared in Chilean music in 1963 as a progressive-rock-andino group, mixing rock with South American ancestral music...

    , famous in Chile, used Las Alturas de Macchu Picchu as the text for their album of the same name.
  • Peter Lieberson
    Peter Lieberson
    Peter Lieberson was an American composer. He was ballerina and choreographer Vera Zorina and Goddard Lieberson, president of Columbia Records....

     composed Neruda Songs (2005) and Songs of Love and Sorrow (2010) based on Cien Sonetos de Amor
    Cien Sonetos de Amor
    is a collection of sonnets written by the Chilean poet and Nobel Laureate Pablo Neruda originally published in Argentina in 1959. Dedicated to his beloved wife , Matilde Urrutia, it is divided into the four stages of the day: morning, afternoon, evening, and night.The sonnets have been translated...

    .
  • Jazz vocalist Luciana Souza
    Luciana Souza
    Luciana Souza is a Brazilian jazz singer and composer who has crossed over into classical music.Daughter of poet Tereza Souza and singer-composer-guitarist Walter Santos, she grew up in São Paulo. She is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music in Boston from which she received a Bachelor's...

     released an album called "Neruda" (2004) featuring 10 of Neruda's poems set to the music of Federico Mompou
    Federico Mompou
    Frederic Mompou i Dencausse was a Catalan Spanish composer and pianist. He is best known for his solo piano music and his songs.-Life:...

    .
  • The South African musician Johnny Clegg drew heavily on Neruda in his early work with the band Juluka
    Juluka
    Juluka was a South African music band formed in 1969 by Johnny Clegg and Sipho Mchunu. Juluka means "sweat", and was the name of a bull owned by Mchunu.-Career:...

    .
  • On the back on Jackson Browne
    Jackson Browne
    Jackson Browne is an American singer-songwriter and musician who has sold over 17 million albums in the United States alone....

    's album The Pretender
    The Pretender (album)
    The Pretender is the fourth album by American singer/songwriter Jackson Browne, released in 1976 . It peaked at #5 on Billboard's album chart. The singles from the album were "Here Come Those Tears Again" which reached number 23 and "The Pretender" which peaked at number 58...

    , there is a poem by Neruda
  • Canadian rock group Red Rider named their 1983 LP/CD release, Neruda.
  • Pop band Sixpence None the Richer
    Sixpence None the Richer
    Sixpence None the Richer is an American rock/pop band that formed in New Braunfels, Texas, eventually settling in Nashville, Tennessee. They are best known for their songs "Kiss Me" and "Breathe Your Name" and their covers of "Don't Dream It's Over" and "There She Goes". The name of the band is...

     set his poem "Puedo Escribir" to music on their platinum selling self-titled album (1997).
  • The group "Brazilian Girls" turned "Poema 15" ("Poem 15") from Veinte poemas de amor y una canción desesperada (20 love poems and a song of despair) into their song "Me Gusta Cuando Callas" from their self-titled album.
  • With permission from the Fundación Neruda, Marco Katz
    Marco Katz
    Marco Katz plays trombone and arranges and composes music for Band, Brass quintet, and other musical ensembles. Reviewer Adam Gaines writes, "Katz's compositions are a real highlight of the disc...

     composed a song cycle based on the volume Piedras del cielo for voice and piano.
  • The Occitan singer Joanda composed the song Pablo Neruda
  • American contemporary composer Morten Lauridsen set Neruda's poem "Soneto de la Noche" to music as part of his cycle "Nocturnes" from 2005.
  • Juan Luis Guerra
    Juan Luis Guerra
    Juan Luis Guerra is a singer, songwriter and producer from the Dominican Republic who has sold over 30 million records, and won numerous awards including 12 Latin Grammy Awards, two Grammy Awards, and two Latin Billboard Music Awards...

     credits Neruda for two phrases for his song, "Bachata Rosa".

Literature

  • Neruda's 1952 stay in a villa on the island of Capri
    Capri
    Capri is an Italian island in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the Sorrentine Peninsula, on the south side of the Gulf of Naples, in the Campania region of Southern Italy...

     was fictionalized in Chilean author Antonio Skarmeta
    Antonio Skármeta
    Antonio Skármeta is a Chilean writer, born November 7, 1940 in Antofagasta, Chile. He was born to Croatian immigrants from the Adriatic island of Brač, region of Dalmatia....

    's 1985 novel Ardiente Paciencia (published as Burning Patience, later known as El cartero de Neruda, or Neruda's Postman).
  • In 2008 the writer Roberto Ampuero
    Roberto Ampuero
    Roberto Ampuero is a Chilean author, columnist, and a university professor. His first novel ¿Quién mató a Kristián Kustermann? was published in 1993 and in it he introduced his private eye, Cayetano Brulé, winning the Revista del Libro prize of El Mercurio. Since then the detective has appeared...

     published a novel El caso Neruda, about his private eye Cayetano Brulé, where Pablo Neruda is one of the protagonists.
  • The Dreamer (2010) is a children's fictional biography of Neruda, "a shy Chilean boy whose spirit develops and thrives despite his father's relentless negativity". Written by Pam Muñoz Ryan
    Pam Muñoz Ryan
    Pam Muñoz Ryan is a Mexican-American author.Muñoz Ryan began writing when she was encouraged by a professor while in graduate school. "It took me a number or years to make that leap of faith," she states when commenting on becoming a full-time writer...

     and illustrated by Peter Sís
    Peter Sis
    Peter Sís is an award-winning children's book writer and illustrator. Sís attended the Academy of Applied Arts in Prague and the Royal College of Art in London...

    , the text and illustrations are printed in Neruda's signature green ink.

Film

  • The Italian film Il Postino
    Il Postino
    Il Postino is a 1994 Italian film directed by Michael Radford. The film was originally released in the U.S. as The Postman, a straight translation of the Italian title...

    , inspired by Antonio Skármeta
    Antonio Skármeta
    Antonio Skármeta is a Chilean writer, born November 7, 1940 in Antofagasta, Chile. He was born to Croatian immigrants from the Adriatic island of Brač, region of Dalmatia....

    's 1985 novel Ardiente Paciencia (Ardent Patience, later known as El cartero de Neruda, or Neruda's Postman), centres on the story of Pablo Neruda (Philippe Noiret
    Philippe Noiret
    Philippe Noiret was a French film actor.-Biography:Noiret's father was in the clothes trade. Philippe was an indifferent scholar and attended several prestigious Paris schools, including the Lycée Janson de Sailly. He failed several times to pass his baccalauréat exams, so he decided to study...

    ) living in exile on Salina Island
    Salina Island
    Salina is an island in the Aeolian Islands north of Sicily, southern Italy. It is the second largest island in the archipelago.Salina is divided between three comuni: Santa Marina on the eastern coast, Malfa to the north, and Leni to the south-west. From Leni down towards the sea are the villages...

     near Sicily
    Sicily
    Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

     during the 1950s. While there, he befriends the local postman and inspires in him a love of poetry.
  • Pablo Neruda: The Poet's Calling is a documentary film about Neruda's life, times, and poetry, directed by Mexican director Carlos Bolado
    Carlos Bolado
    Carlos Bolado is a Mexican filmmaker.He studied cinematography and sociology both in the same university, the UNAM. He has worked as a soundman and editor on several films. After making several short films, he ventured into the genre of film features with the film Baja California: The Limit of Time...

     and Mark Eisner.}
  • Neruda is a 120 min documentary about his life and poetry including interviews with his friends like Volodia Teitelboim
    Volodia Teitelboim
    Volodia Valentín Teitelboim Volosky was a Chilean lawyer, politician and author.Born in Chillán to Jewish immigrants , Teitelboim was interested in literature from an early age...

    , Jose Balmes, Jorge Edwards
    Jorge Edwards
    Jorge Edwards Valdés is a Chilean novelist, journalist and diplomat. He is currently the Chilean ambassador to France.-Life and career:...

    , Andrej Wosnessenski, Mikis Theodorakis
    Mikis Theodorakis
    Mikis Theodorakis is one of the most renowned Greek songwriters and composers. Internationally, he is probably best known for his songs and for his scores for the films Zorba the Greek , Z , and Serpico .Politically, he identified with the left until the late 1980s; in 1989, he ran as an...

    . This film was directed by the German filmmaker Ebbo Demant and broadcast 2004 in the European culture TV channel ARTE and the German public-service broadcaster ARD
    ARD
    Ard, ARD, Ards or ARDS may refer to:Ard:*Ard or scratch-plough, a type of plough consisting of a simple spike dragged through the soil*Ard, alternate name of Arad, Iran, a city in Fars Province...

    .

Sources

  • Perales Contreras, Jaime "Paz and Neruda: A Clash of Literary Titans", Americas Magazine, (Organization of American States). July 2008.
  • Feinstein, Adam Pablo Neruda: A Passion for Life, Bloomsbury, 2004. ISBN 1-58234-410-8
  • Neruda, Pablo. Memoirs (translation of Confieso que he vivido: Memorias), translated by Hardie St. Martin, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1977. (1991 edition is ISBN 0-374-20660-0)
  • Tarn, Nathaniel, Ed (1975) Pablo Neruda: Selected Poems Penguin.
  • Burgin, Richard
    Richard Burgin
    For the American writer, see Richard Burgin Richard Burgin was a Polish-American violinist, best known as associate conductor and the concertmaster of the Boston Symphony Orchestra .-Early life:...

     (1968) Conversations with Jorge Luis Borges, Holt, Rhinehart, & Winston
  • Consuelo Hernández
    Consuelo Hernández
    Consuelo Hernández is a Colombian /U.S. poet, scholar, literary critic and Associate Professor of Latin American studies at American University since 1995....

    .“El Antiorientalismo en Pablo Neruda;” Voces y perspectivas en la poesia latinoamericanana del siglo XX. Madrid: Visor 2009.

Further reading

  • Pablo Neruda, Selected Poems ed. Ilan Stavans 2003
  • Translating Neruda: The Way to Macchu Picchu John Felstiner 1980
  • Pablo Neruda. Durán, Manuel., 1981
  • Pablo Neruda: all poets the poet . Bizzarro, Salvatore., 1979
  • The poetry of Pablo Neruda. Costa, René de., 1979
  • Pablo Neruda: Memoirs (Confieso que he vivido: Memorias) / tr. St. Martin, Hardie., 1977
  • The Essential Neruda / ed. Mark Eisner, intro by Lawrence Ferlinghetti (City Lights), 2004 Americas Magazine, Jaime Perales Contreras

Books of English translations of Neruda

  • World's End (Copper Canyon Press
    Copper Canyon Press
    Copper Canyon Press is an independent, non-profit small press, specializing in the publication of poetry and located in the picturesque town of Port Townsend, Washington. Since 1972, the Press has published poetry exclusively and has established an international reputation for its commitment to...

    , 2009) (translated by William O'Daly)
  • The Hands of the Day (Copper Canyon Press, 2008) (translated by William O'Daly)
  • The Book of Questions (Copper Canyon Press, 1991, 2001) (translated by William O'Daly)
  • The Yellow Heart (Copper Canyon Press, 1990, 2002) (translated by William O'Daly)
  • Stones of the Sky (Copper Canyon Press, 1990, 2002) (translated by William O'Daly)
  • The Sea and the Bells (Copper Canyon Press, 1988, 2002) (translated by William O'Daly)
  • Winter Garden (Copper Canyon Press, 1987, 2002) (translated by James Nolan)
  • The Separate Rose (Copper Canyon Press, 1985) (translated by William O'Daly)
  • Still Another Day (Copper Canyon Press, 1984, 2005) (translated by William O'Daly)
  • On the Blue Shore of Silence: Poems of the Sea (Rayo Harper Collins, 2004) (translated by Alastair Reid
    Alastair Reid
    Alastair Reid is a poet and a scholar of South American literature from Galloway in Scotland. He is known for his lighthearted style of poems and for his translations of South American poets Jorge Luis Borges and Pablo Neruda. Although he is famous for translations, his own poems are gaining note...

    , epilogue Antonio Skármeta
    Antonio Skármeta
    Antonio Skármeta is a Chilean writer, born November 7, 1940 in Antofagasta, Chile. He was born to Croatian immigrants from the Adriatic island of Brač, region of Dalmatia....

    )
  • Intimacies: Poems of Love (Harper Collins, 2008) (translated by Alastair Reid
    Alastair Reid
    Alastair Reid is a poet and a scholar of South American literature from Galloway in Scotland. He is known for his lighthearted style of poems and for his translations of South American poets Jorge Luis Borges and Pablo Neruda. Although he is famous for translations, his own poems are gaining note...

    )
  • The Essential Neruda: Selected Poems (City Lights, 2004) (translated by Robert Hass
    Robert Hass
    Robert L. Hass is an American poet. He served as Poet Laureate of the United States from 1995 to 1997. He was awarded the 2007 National Book Award and the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Time and Materials.-Life:...

    , Jack Hirschman, Mark Eisner, Forrest Gander, Stephen Mitchell, Stephen Kessler, and John Felstiner. Preface by Lawrence Ferlinghetti
    Lawrence Ferlinghetti
    Lawrence Ferlinghetti is an American poet, painter, liberal activist, and the co-founder of City Lights Booksellers & Publishers...

    )

External links

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