Neruda - Brief Bio:
Pablo Neruda (1904-1973) is arguably the most
influential poet in the Spanish language. Born Neftali Ricardo Reyes
Basoalto in southern Chile to a teacher and a railroad foreman, the
poet took on the name of a nineteenth-century Czech writer, Jan
Neruda, in his teens, to conceal his writing pursuits from his
disapproving father. He first published poetry in a magazine at age
fourteen. In 1921, he moved from the countryside to Santiago, "with
his head 'filled with books, dreams, and poems buzzing around like
bees.'" (Roman, 33) By 1923, he had published his first book of
poetry. His life as a starving poet changed when a friend with
political connections got Neruda named as consul to Rangoon, just one
site in a string of consulates before he returned to Chile in 1932.
Despite growing popularity as a poet, he could not make a living at
writing and so went back to consul work in Buenos Aires and then
Madrid. In Madrid, Neruda sympathized with the Spanish people,
Republicans, attempting to hold fast against the Fascists who were
supported by Hitler and Mussolini. His loyalty to one side of the
conflict got him removed from Madrid and placed in Paris where
ultimately he was able to aid 2,000 Spanish refugees in reaching
Chile. Much of Neruda's poetry reflected his sympathy for the people
who fought fascism and lost. With the German invasion of Poland in
1940, Neruda was appointed consul general of Mexico where he
continued the struggle for social justice. Disillusioned with
Mexico's political conflicts, he returned home in 1943 and aligned
himself with the Communists who impressed him as a solution to the
struggle for social reform in Latin America. Neruda's tolerance for
Communism was not looked upon with favor and he was forced into exile
for a number of years eventually returning to Chile with amnesty,
running for the presidency and then dropping out to support Salvador
Allende's campaign. He won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1971 and
died in Santiago in 1973, only days after Allende's death and the
overthrow of the Popular Unity government.
In his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, Neruda
explained the connection between politics and poetry: "In the midst
of the arena of America's struggles I saw that my human task was none
other than to join the extensive forces of the organized masses of
the people, to join with life and soul, with suffering and hope, but
it is only from this great popular stream that the necessary changes
can arise for writers and for nations . . . Lastly, I wish to say to
the people of good will, to the workers, to the poets, that the whole
future has been expressed in this line by Rimbaud: 'Only with a
burning patience can we conquer the splendid City, which will give
light, justice, and dignity to all mankind.' "
Nobel e-musuem Biography of Palo Neruda
Pablo Neruda (1904-1973) - Original name
Neftalí Ricardo Reyes Basoalto - http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/neruda.htm
Il Postino. (The Postman). Dir. Michael
Radford. Cecchi Gori Group - Miramax and Buena Vista Home Video,
Neruda, Pablo. The Book of Questions.
Trans. William O'Daly. Port Townsend: Copper Canyon Press,
Neruda, Pablo. Isla Negra, a Notebook.
Trans. Alastair Reid. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux,
Neruda, Pablo. Memoirs. Trans. Hardie St.
Martin. New York: Penguin Books, 1977.
Neruda, Pablo. Odes to Common Things.
Trans. Ken Krabbenhoft. New York: Little, Brown and Co.,
Neruda, Pablo. Odes to Opposites. Trans.
Ken Krabbenhoft. New York: Little, Brown and Co., 1995.
Neruda, Pablo. Twenty Love Poems and a Song of
Despair. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1993.
Poirot, Luis. Absence and Presence. Trans.
Alastair Reid. New York: Norton and Co., 1990.
Roman, Joseph. Hispanics of Achievement: Pablo
Neruda. New York: Chelsea House, 1992.
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