Nobel Prize in Literature-1971
in its citation stated that the prize was given for
"a poetry that with the action of an
elemental force brings alive a continent's destiny and dreams."
Born: 12/07/1904 in Parral, Chile
Died: 23/09/1973 in Santiago, Chile of
Neftali Ricardo Reyes Basoalto,
known by the pen-name and afterwards legal name Pablo Neruda (name
taken from Czech Poet Jan Neruda and the first name is thought to be
taken from French poet Paul Verlaine) was born in Parral, a city
in South Chile, about 350 km from Santiago. His father was a Railway
employee and mother was a teacher. Soon after Neruda's birth, his
mother expired, his father remarried and the young child stayed with a
half-brother and half-sister.
the age of 10, Pablo composed his first poems. Gabriela Mistral, head
of local Girl's High School, also encouraged Pablo. Neruda wrote and
published poems, articles in local newspapers, journals and by 1920,
he was a published poet.
In 1927,he took honorary Consulship in Rangoon, capital of Burma ( now
Myanmar) and also had stints in Colombo (capital of now Sri Lanka),
Java and Singapore. During this period, he wrote 2 volumes of
Residence En La Tierra, which contained surrealistic poems and
poems with different poetic forms. Pablo later replaced Gabriela
Mistral as Consul in Madrid, Spain.
His next important assignment was Consul General in Mexico City from
1940-43.This was a controversial period for him. He was accused of
being an abettor in the assassination of Leon Trotsky. For his extreme
supportive views on Stalin and communism, his relation with
Mexican writer Octavio Paz became not only strained but also
they came to almost blows at a meeting.
In 1943, he went to Peru on a tour. The serene & majestic beauty of
the Inca remains made him spellbound and he wrote a book-length poem
de Macchu Picchu
of 12 parts.
Neruda's political views created complications back home and in
1948,he was threatened with arrest. After a brief period of hiding, he
fled to Argentina on horseback and spent 3 years in exile in Buenos
Aires. When Salvador Allende came to power in Chile, Neruda returned
home and was made ambassador to France from 1970-72.
On 11th September, 1973, Right Wing General Augusto Pinochet overthrew
the Allende government. Neruda was again under threat. His house was
searched, his writings, papers , books were seized and he was
kept under surveillance. Ten days later, he died reportedly of heart
failure. His death is still mired in controversy. The funeral took
place in massive police presence.
campaign that Neruda was a part of assassination attempt on Trotsky in
Mexico by The Congress
for Cultural Freedom,
an anti-communist organization covertly established and funded by the
became more intense when it became known that Neruda was a candidate
for the 1964 Nobel Prize, which was eventually awarded to Jean-Paul
Argentine writer Jorge
Luis Borges was
asked for his opinion of Pablo Neruda. 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."
Las uvas y el Viento --
The Grapes and the Wind(1954),
Terear libro de las odas-- The Third Book
of Odes(1957), Viajes--
Cien Sonetos de Amor-- One Hundred Love Sonnets (1959) ,
Memorial de isla Negra-- Notes
from Isla Negra (1964), Canto general--
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