A Reader's Guide to Fifty Modern European Poets

By John Pilling | Go to book overview

Pablo Neruda (1904-73)

Born Naftali Ricardo Reyes in Parral, Chile, the son of a railway worker. Grew up in the wild regions of Southern Chile at Temuco, where he knew the poetess Gabriela Mistral. Adopted the pseudonym Pablo Neruda in October 1920. In 1921 moved to Santiago to study at the Teachers' Institute for a career as professor of French. Achieved overnight fame on the publication in 1924 of Veintepoemas de amor y una cáncion desperada. Made Chilean consul in Rangoon, Burma in 1927; consul in Colombo, Ceylon in 1928, in Batavia, Java in 1930 and in Singapore in 1931. First married in 1930. Consul in Buenos Aires in 1933, where he met Garcia Lorca. Consul in Barcelona and Madrid 1934-5. Dismissed from his post by the Nationalists in 1936. Lived in Paris in 1937 and again in 1939. Consul in Mexico 1940; beaten up by Nazis in Cuernavaca. Visited the Peruvian Inca ruins of Macchu Picchu in 1943. Removed from the Chilean Senate in 1948, and forced to go into hiding, crossing the Andes on a horse. Travelled very extensively in Europe and South America in the next four years, returning to Chile in 1952. Settled in later life with his third wife in Valparaíso. Communist Candidate for the Chilean presidency in 1969; stood down to make way for Allende. Ambassador to France 1971, the year in which he won the Nobel Prize. Died twelve days after the military coup which toppled Allende in Santiago. Internationally recognized and the recipient of numerous honours from the 1930s onwards.

Nerucla is perhaps the major modern example of a poet with

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