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Pablo Neruda

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Pablo Neruda

Pablo Neruda (July 12, 1904 - September 23, 1973) is a Chilean poet, winner of the 1971 Nobel Prize for Literature; possibly the most important Latin American poet of the 20th century. His real name is Neftalí Reyes Basoalto (in full: Ricardo Eliecer Neftalí Reyes Basoalto). He used the pen name Pablo Neruda (after Jan Neruda, Czech writer and poet) to avoid conflict with his parents because they did not want him to become an author. It would later become his legal name.

Table of contents
1 Early life
2 Political involvement
3 Notes
4 See also
5 External Links

Early life

Neruda was born in Parral, Chile. His mother died soon after he was born and his father was a railway employee. Neruda and his father soon moved to Temuco, where his father remarried Doña Trinidad Candia Malverde. At thirteen, he submitted a few of his poems to the daily newspaper, La Mañana. His first poem was titled "Entusiasmo y perseverancia", or "Enthusiasm and Perseverance." In 1920 he sent more poems to the literary journal Selva Austral under the pen name Pablo Neruda.

Neruda published his first collection of poems, La Canción de la fiesta in 1920. In 1923 he released the critically acclaimed Crepusculario, and the following year he published Veinte poemas de amor y una canción desesperada, or Twenty Poems of Love and a Song of Despair, one of his best-known works. The Heights of Macchu Picchu is considered one of his best works.

Literary experts agree that the poet's defining work was Canto General, an extensive work about the Americas that he wrote while living in clandestinity in 1948 and 1949, when he was persecuted by the government of Gabriel González Videla (1948-1952), which banned the Communist Party, for which Neruda had been elected senator.

Neruda studied French and education at the University of Chile. In 1927 the government gave him honorary consulships to many countries. These jobs let him travel to seven different countries, including Spain. While he was an ambassador, Neruda read and tried many different types of poems. During that time, he wrote the first two volumes of Residencia en la tierra, which included many surrealistic poems for which later became famous.

Neruda went on to win many awards, including the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971. He won the Stalin Peace Prize in 1953.

Neruda had three wives, María Antonieta Hagenaar, Delia de Carril, and Matilde Urrutia. He married María in 1930, but they divorced in 1936. He lived with Delia from the 1930s until they were divorced in 1955. They were married in 1943. In 1966, he married Matilde Urrutia.

Political involvement

In his beach-house (Isla Negra). Behind him a figurehead, one of his favorite collections

Politics influenced many parts of his life, including his job, his poems, and his death. He was very concerned about social justice and equality, which is reflected in many of his poems.

Neruda joined the Republican movements in Spain and France in 1937 after the Spanish Civil War. He was instrumental in evacuating 2000 Spanish Republicans to Chile in 1939 after their defeat by Franco. His experience of the civil war and it's aftermath were a big factor in moving him away from an inward focused Romanticism and towards a more political perspective.

Although he was an anarchist for a while, on March 4, 1945 he was elected a Communist senator for Antofagasta and Tarapacá. He officially joined the Communist Party of Chile four months later. After the violent repression of a miner's strike in Lota by the Chilean government in October 1947, he became an outspoken critic of President Gabriel González Videla and his policies. His opposition culminated in a dramatic speech in the Chilean senate in which he read the names of the miners (and their families) who were imprisoned at a concentration camp in Pisagua.

After his speech to the senate, which came to be known as "Yo acuso" ("I accuse" in Spanish), Neruda was forced underground. In March of 1949 he fled over the mountains to Argentina on horse back. From there he went to Europe where he spent 3 years in exile. He returned to Chile in 1952.1

He nearly ran for president of Chile, but ended up giving his support to Salvador Allende who was inaugurated in 1970 as the first democratically elected Marxist head of state.

Neruda died of prostate cancer in the evening of Sep. 23, 1973 in the Santa María Clinic of Santiago. Two days later, his funeral took place surrounded by military machine guns (the military coup against Allende's government was 12 days before), but nonetheless it turned into the first act of rebellion and public denunciation against Gen. Augusto Pinochet, whose dictatorship lasted until 1990.

Neruda owned three houses in Chile: today they are open as museums:


1 Information on Neruda's political involvement from 1939 to 1952 from "More blood than ink: Edited extracts from Pablo Neruda: A Biography, by Adam Feinstein" in The Guardian Saturday July 3, 2004

See also

External Links