|Pablo Neruda - http://www.tehelka.com/story_main4.asp
| Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Columbia’s most famous writer, once said "[Pablo Neruda],
the greatest poet of the 20th century in any language." Neruda is one of the most admired Spanish poets of the 20th century.
His poems consisted of many different themes from "erotically charged" love poems, surrealist poems, historical epics, and
overtly political manifestos to more common poems more about nature and the sea.
Pablo Neruda was born as Ricardo Eliecer Neftali Reyes Basoalto on July 12, 1904 in Parral, Chile not too far from the
capital, Santiago. José Del Carmen Reyes Morales, his father, was a railway employee and his mother, Rosa Neftalí Basoalto
Opazo, was a schoolteacher whom died of tuberculosis shortly after Neruda was born. Don José Carmen moved with his sons in
1906 to Temuco, and married Trinidad Candia Marvedre. Neruda spent his childhood in Temuco, while in high school, he met the
Chilean poet Gabriela Mistral, at which time was the head of the local all girls school. Mistral recognized Neruda's talent
and passion for writing and encouraged him to embrace the gift and to persist on succeeding, even though his father did not
At the age of thirteen Neruda published his first work; an essay he wrote for the local newspaper called “Entusiasmo
y Perseverancia” (“Enthusiasm and Perseverance”). Around 1920 he was already a published author of journalism,
and poetry, under the pen name of Pablo Neruda. By the time he was eighteen Neruda was more into his poetry than anything
else. At nineteen he published his first volume of verse, “Crepusculario” (“Book of Twilights”), followed
by “Veinte Poemas de Amor y una Canción Desesperada” (“Twenty Poems of Love and a Song of Despair”),
a compilation of love poems that were thought to be controversial because of its eroticism. Both works were translated into
many languages, and “Veinte Poemas” would go on to sell millions of copies and become Neruda’s most recognized
collection of work.
Since Neruda was in a state of poverty and desperation between the years of 1927 and 1935, the government had placed Neruda
in charge of many honorary consulships that would send him to Burma, Ceylon, Singapore, Buenos Aires, and Spain. In Java he
met and married his first wife Maryka Antonieata Hagenaar Vogelzang, a Dutch bank employee. Both the Spanish Civil War and
the murder of close friend Garcia Lorca, a Spanish poet and dramatist, affected Neruda strongly and eventually led up to his
joining of the Republican movement, first in Spain, and later in France. During 1939, Neruda had been recently appointed consul
for the Spanish emigration, in Paris, and soon the Consul General in Mexico. In 1943 Neruda went back to Chile, and then in
1945 he was elected senator of the Republic, and also joined the Communist Party of Chile. In consequence of his protests
against President González Videla’s tyrannical policy against striking miners in 1947, he was forced to live incognito
for two years. Neruda's life underground ended in March 1949 when he fled over the Andes Mountains to Argentina on horseback,
nearly drowning while crossing the Curringue River. Once out of Chile, Neruda spent the next three years in exile. A friend
of Neruda, novelist and future Nobel Prize winner Miguel Ángel Asturias, was a cultural attaché to the Guatemalan embassy.
Some slight similarities between the two men, allowed Neruda to enter Europe using Asturias's passport, where Pablo Picasso
arranged Neruda’s entrance into Paris. He finally returned home in 1952.
While on diplomatic service, Neruda read large amounts of poetry and experimented with many different poetic forms. Neruda
wrote, among other works, the collection of esoteric surrealistic poems, “Residencia en la tierra,” which led
to his inevitable literary breakthrough. While in Mexico, during his exile, Neruda published his poem “Canto General,”
a Whitmanesque catalogue of the history, geography, plant life, and animals of South America, along with his observation and
experiences while underground in Chile. He actually carried this manuscript with him on his journey through the Andes Mountains.
His first manuscript, which he had left behind in Chile, was published by the Communist Party of Chile.
In 1970 Neruda was asked to run for Presidency in Chile but kindly refused and passed over his nomination to Salvador
Allende, whom was elected and became the first socialist president of Chile. Allende did appoint Neruda as the Chilean ambassador
to France, but returned home after two and a half years due to failing health. Neruda died of leukemia shortly after, 1973,
he returned to Chile. Matilde Urritia, Neruda’s second wife, compiled and edited the memoirs that Neruda had been working
on prior to his death, for publication. These publications created conflict with Pinochet’s government, whom had recently
overthrown President Salvador Allende and was responsible for over two thousand political assassinations. Pinochet repeatedly
fought to interfere with Neruda’s influence over the country. Neruda’s poetry was banned by the Pinochet’s
junta until the restoration of democracy in 1990.
"Look around — there's only one thing of danger for you here —
poetry." Pablo Neruda
|Young Pablo Neruda - http://myhero.com/myhero/hero.asp?hero=PabloNeruda
Pablo Neruda by Richard Montero CGHS