AUTHOR OF THE DAY: Pablo Neruda
Neftali Ricardo Reyes Basoalto was born on July 12, 1904 in Parral, Chile; he is best known for his pseudonym, Pablo Neruda. Neruda is famous for his enticing poetry and infamous affiliation with the Communist Party.
Neruda took on his pen name as a teenager, mainly because it was in style and to conceal his work from his father. His father was a stern man, who preferred his son had a “practical” career. Neruda’s pen name is composed of the Czech author, Jan Neruda; whereas, Pablo is speculated to be derivative from Pablo Verlaine.
He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971. This honor was considered a controversy due to his Communist political streak. Pablo Neruda occupied several diplomatic posts, he served as a senator for the Chilean Communist Party. When González Videla, the Chilean president of the time, outlawed communism in Chile, a warrant for Neruda’s arrest was issued. During this crucial political period in Chile, Neruda hid until he escaped into exile to Argentina.
Nevertheless, his mastery in poetry was irresistible. He was deserving of the award. Gabriel García Márquez has called “the greatest poet of the 20th century in any language.” He is famous for being accomplished in several writing styles, specifically erotic and love poems.
He is credited to be as the most impressive poet to write in the Spanish language. His literature in English is a sliver of his total portfolio. His work is extremely difficult to translate; it is best and most beautifully read in its native language. Mark Strand from the New Yorker commented:
"There is something about Neruda—about the way he glorifies experience, about the spontaneity and directness of his passion—that sets him apart from other poets. It is hard not to be swept away by the urgency of his language, and that’s especially so when he seems swept away.”
Pablo Neruda died on September 23, 1973. A legend during his lifetime, his death moved the entire world. Augusto Pinochet, the Chilean dictator of the era, prohibited to give the public access to Neruda’s funeral. However, the Chilean people’s love for Neruda caused the first public protest against the Chilean military dictatorship. They disobeyed their curfew and crowded the streets.
Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair (1924)
The Poetry of Pablo Neruda (1979)
100 Love Sonnets (1986)
The Essential Neruda: Selected Poems (2004)
Read excerpts by Pablo Neruda here! Buy his books here!