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Pablo Neruda Poetry, Politics and Geography. ILEANA GONZALEZ Lincoln High School – Des Moines The essential NERUDA Selected Poems sent as a gift from Professor Oberle to the F-H Group traveling to Chile.

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pablo neruda poetry politics and geography

Pablo Neruda Poetry, Politics and Geography


Lincoln High School – Des Moines

des moines iowa may 2009
The essential NERUDA Selected Poems sent as a gift from Professor Oberle to

the F-H Group traveling to Chile.

The preface is written by a poet of the Beat Generation, Lawrence Ferlinghetti. He met Pablo Neruda in La Habana, Cuba

He is saying that this translation is for the Greater North American

Public. He adds, We all need these messages

Des Moines, Iowa May 2009
santiago chile july 2009
Voluntary tour to

Pablo Neruda’s

House museum in Santiago

Santiago, ChileJuly 2009
who was pablo neruda
Who was Pablo Neruda?

Chilean poet, writer,diplomat

Politician activist and exile,

for Literature, senator,

‘people’s poet the most

prolific and perhaps the

greatest South

American poet of the XX


early days
Neruda was born in

southern Chile on

July 12 1904 to a family

who disapproved of his

literary learnings.

He sold his possessions

to publish Crepusculario

(Twilight) in 1923.

Early days
The following year Neruda published

Veinte poemas de amor y una cancion desesperada (Twenty love poems and a song of despair)

His life-long literary

career was underway.

political life
Political life
  • In 1927, honored for his contributions as a poet, Neruda was named honorary consul to Burma. From Rangoon he went on to serve in Ceylon, Java, Argentina and Spain. His friendship with Spanish Federico Garcia Lorca began in Buenos Aires and continued in Madrid.
spanish civil war
Spanish Civil War
  • The outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 changed Neruda’s life. He reported events including the brutal murder of his friend Federico Garcia Lorca.
  • He was recalled from Madrid in 1937, left the consular service and returned to Europe to help Spanish refugees.
  • He said, this was the noblest mission that he ever had.
mexico and return to chile
Mexico and return to Chile
  • He was appointed Consul to Mexico in 1939.
  • In 1943, on his return to Chile four years later he joined the Communist party and was elected to the Senate.
  • In 1947 wrote an open letter critical of the repressive policy against striking miners
expulsion from the senate
Expulsion from the Senate
  • The Chilean government named the Communist party illegal and Neruda was expelled from the Senate.
  • He had to live underground and finally

in 1949 he left the country on horseback bringing Canto General manuscript in his saddle bag.

exile in europe
Exile in Europe
  • He lived in different European countries
  • In 1954 he published Las Uvas y el Viento.

which can be regarded as Neruda’s exile.

  • Neruda returns to Chile in 1952 and for the next 21 years, his life combined his passions for politics and


ambassor to france
Ambassor to France
  • In 1969 Neruda campaigned for the leftist candidate Salvador Allende, who appointed him ambassador to France after being elected president of Chile.
france sweden and chile
France, Sweden and Chile
  • Very ill with cancer in France, in 1971 he traveled to Stockholm to receive the Literature Nobel Prize.
  • He returned to Chile where he died
  • on September 23, 1973.
  • He survived by only a few days his friend Salvador Allende, who died in a right-wing military coup by Augusto Pinochet.
back from exile and international prizes
Back from exile and international prizes
  • Neruda returned to Chile in 1952.
  • For the next 21 years, his life combined his passions for politics and poetry.
  • He was recognized on numerous occasions, including honorary doctorates, congressional medals, the International Peace Prize in 1950, the Lenin Peace Prize and the Stalin Peace Prize in 1953, and the Novel Prize for Literature in 1971.
canto general
His Canto General was written in exile and first published in 1950.

It contains 340 poems displays his deep knowledge about the history, geography and politics of the continent.

The central theme is the struggle for social justice, making him the people’s poet.

Canto General
pablo neruda s four essential works
Pablo Neruda’s Four essential works

Four essential works are

  • Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair, trans. by W.S. Merwin (1969, reissued 1993);
  • Residence on Earth, and Other Poems, trans. by Angel Flores (1946, reprinted 1976);
  • Canto general, trans. by Jack Schmitt (1991); and
  • Elementary Odes of Pablo Neruda, trans. by Carlos Lozano (1961).
neruda s personality and poetry
Neruda’s personality and poetry

These four trends correspond to four aspects of Neruda's personality:

  • His passionate love life;
  • The nightmares and depression he experienced while serving as a consul in Asia;
  • His commitment to a political cause; and
  • His ever-present attention to details of daily life, his love of things made or grown by human hands.

Many of his other books, such as Libro de las preguntas (1974; The Book of Questions), reflect philosophical and whimsical questions about the present and future of humanity. Neruda was one of the most original and prolific poets to write in Spanish in the 20th century, but despite the variety of his output as a whole, each of his books has unity of style and purpose.

four trends of neruda s poetry
Four trends of Neruda’s poetry

Neruda's body of poetry is so rich and varied that it defies classification or easy summary. It developed along four main directions, however.

  • His love poetry, such as the youthful Twenty Love Poems and the mature Los versos del Capitán (1952; The Captain's Verses), is tender, melancholy, sensuous, and passionate.
  • In his “material” poetry, such as Residencia en la tierra, loneliness and depression immerse the author in a subterranean world of dark, demonic forces.
  • His epic poetry is best represented by Canto general, which is a Whitmanesque attempt at reinterpreting the past and present of Latin America and the struggle of its oppressed and downtrodden masses toward freedom.
  • And finally there is Neruda's poetry of common, everyday objects, animals, and plants, as in Odas elementales.
southern asia travels diplomacy and poetry
Southern Asia:Travels, diplomacy and poetry
  • From Rangoon Neruda moved to Colombo in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). He increasingly came to identify with the South Asian masses, who were heirs to ancient cultures but were downtrodden by poverty, colonial rule, and political oppression. It was during these years in Asia that he wrote Residencia en la tierra, 1925–1931 (1933; Residence on Earth). In this book Neruda moves beyond the lucid, conventional lyricism of Twenty Love Poems, abandoning normal syntax, rhyme, and stanzaic organization to create a highly personalized poetic technique. His personal and collective anguish gives rise to nightmarish visions of disintegration, chaos, decay, and death that he recorded in a cryptic, difficult style inspired by Surrealism. These puzzling and mysterious poems both attract and repel the reader with the powerful and awe-inspiring vision they present of a modern descent into hell.
  • In 1930 Neruda was named consul in Batavia (modern Jakarta), which was then the capital of the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia). There he fell in love with a Dutch woman, Maria Antonieta Hagenaar, and married her. In 1932 Neruda returned to Chile, but he still could not earn a living from his poetry. In 1933 he was appointed Chilean consul in Buenos Aires, Argentina. There he met the Spanish poet Federico García Lorca, who at that time was traveling in Argentina and who was to become a close friend and an enthusiastic defender of Neruda's poetry.
neruda and the spanish civil war
Neruda and the Spanish Civil War
  • A second, enlarged edition of the Residencia poems entitled Residencia en la tierra, 1925–35 was published in two volumes in 1935. In this edition, Neruda begins to move away from the highly personal, often hermetic poetry of the first Residencia volume, adopting a more extroverted outlook and a clearer, more accessible style in order to better communicate his new social concerns to the reader. This line of poetic development was interrupted suddenly by the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936, however. While García Lorca was executed by the Nationalists and Alberti and Hernández fought at the front, Neruda traveled in and out of Spain to gather money and mobilize support for the Republicans. He wrote España en el corazón (1937; Spain in My Heart) to express his feelings of solidarity with them. The book was printed by Republican troops working with improvised presses near the front lines.
spain and the communist party
Spain and the Communist party
  • In 1934 Neruda took up an appointment as consul in Barcelona, Spain, and soon he was transferred to the consulate in Madrid. His success there was instantaneous after García Lorca introduced him. Neruda's new friends, especially Rafael Alberti and Miguel Hernández, were involved in radical politics and the Communist Party. Neruda shared their political beliefs and moved ever closer to communism. In the meantime, his marriage was foundering. He and his wife separated in 1936, and Neruda met a young Argentine woman, Delia del Carril, who would be his second wife until their divorce in the early 1950s
political persecution in chile
Political persecution in Chile
  • In the meantime, Neruda suffered a stunning reversal in his native country. He had returned to Chile in 1943, was elected a senator in 1945, and also joined the Communist Party. He campaigned for the leftist candidate Gabriel González Videla in the elections of 1946, only to see President Videla turn to the right two years later. Feeling betrayed, Neruda published an open letter critical of Videla; as a consequence, he was expelled from the Senate and went into hiding to avoid arrest. In February 1948 he left Chile, crossing the Andes Mountains on horseback by night with the manuscript of Canto general in his saddlebag.
the soviet union poland hungary and mexico
The Soviet Union, Poland, Hungary, and Mexico
  • In exile Neruda visited the Soviet Union, Poland, Hungary, and Mexico. In Mexico he again met Matilde Urrutia, a Chilean woman whom he had first encountered in 1946. Their marriage would last until the end of his life, and she would inspire some of the most passionate Spanish love poems of the 20th century. The third volume of Neruda's Residencia cycle, Tercera residencia, 1935–45 (1947; “Third Residence”), completed his rejection of egocentric angst and his open espousal of left-wing ideological concerns. His communist political beliefs receive their culminating expression in Canto general. This epic poem celebrates Latin America—its flora, its fauna, and its history, particularly the wars of liberation from Spanish rule and the continuing struggle of its peoples to obtain freedom and social justice. It also, however, celebrates Joseph Stalin, the bloody Soviet dictator in power at the time.
back to chile
Back to Chile
  • Later years

In 1952 the political situation in Chile once again became favourable, and Neruda was able to return home. By that time his works had been translated into many languages. Rich and famous, he built a house on Isla Negra, facing the Pacific Ocean, and also maintained houses in Santiago and Valparaíso. While traveling in Europe, Cuba, and China, Neruda embarked upon a period of incessant writing and feverish creation. One of his major works, Odas elementales (Elemental Odes), was published in 1954. Its verse was written in a new poetic style—simple, direct, precise, and humorous—and it contained descriptions of everyday objects, situations, and beings (e.g., “Ode to the Onion” and “Ode to the Cat”). Many of the poems in Odas elementales have been widely anthologized. Neruda's poetic output during these years was stimulated by his international fame and personal happiness; 20 books of his appeared between 1958 and his death in 1973, and 8 more were published posthumously. In his memoirs, Confieso que he vivido (1974; Memoirs), Neruda summed up his life through reminiscences, comments, and anecdotes.

pablo neruda s biography
Pablo Neruda’s Biography