Pablo Neruda’s Biography Essay


From those various – and varying – chronicles, it becomes clear that from a very early age he lived in an entranced absorption in everything around him, natural and human, and at the same time, as a solitary child, he stumbled on poetry and became similarly entranced by it. From then on, he never stopped writing; it was like breathing to him, he said2. He moved from his previous absorbed solitude into an artist’s underworld of close friendships, night-long conversations, and passionate sexual love, discovering the poems of Rimbaud and Baudelaire and the companionship of other poets.3. The five years before he moved to Chile were for the poet, separated from his language and his roots, a time of extreme loneliness and alienation; yet at the same time, he was taking in through his senses the wonders and horrors around him.4. Out of that extreme distress of spirit came Neruda’s poems [..

.] which cast private experience in a hallucinatory flow of images, part surreal, part prophetic, and the voice Neruda was making confidently his own.5. From that transforming experience came the vision for his next undertaking, a cluster of poems in which he explored and revealed how Latin America had come into being, invoking not just its exotic geography but also its drastic history, its social ; political realities, its dictators and its injustices.6. The passion of Neruda’s political stance and the savagery of his diatribes against injustice made some of its sequences more polemic than poetry7.

In this visionary sweep, Neruda comes to realize ; affirm what must be his new and entire dedication as poet: to become a voice, a voice for the dead past, for the stones themselves, for the inanimate world of objects, for the natural world, for the continent in all its myriad forms, and, above all, for those in the present who lack a voice.8. [Neruda’s Odes] reveal Neruda’s utter absorption in the details of existence, his intimate sense of the secret life of things. He made himself into their voice, humanizing them.9.

He though of himself mainly as a love poet, not just in that he continued throughout his life to write remarkable love poems celebrating the women, past and present, who brought focus to his being, but because he felt deeply, and transmitted in his poems, a similar intimacy with the physical world, writing of it often as a lover.10. Neruda once said: “If my poetry has any virtue, it’s that it’s an organism, it’s organic and emanates from my own body”11. Encrusted like jewels throughout his work, early, middle, and late, are poems of such a wholeness, such a singular beauty, poems of such searing rage and savage irony, poems of such joy and affirmation, poems of such startling newness, poems of such utter absorption, that Neruda continues to tower over the poetry of the Spanish-speaking world in this century, and over Latin American consciousness, as has no poet I can think of in ant other language. In the great flow of his poems, he has left us the gift of his whole vivid life.12. Pablo Neruda’s poetry and politics have made him the writer with perhaps the greatest influence in contemporary Latin America.

13. Neruda’s poetic development reflects both a personal odyssey and the history of poetic expression in the 20th century (powerful forms of exploration and meaning).14. He achieved a balance between subjectivity and sensuality, and his striking personal style opened up Latin American poetry to modernist techniques without losing its distinctive feel for place and identity15. Over his lifetime, Neruda recorded a remarkable odyssey of self-discovery and engagement with deeply personal and publicly important questions, distilled into poverty of consummate craftsmanship and power.


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