From the Publisher
"The call for a more accessible collection of Neruda's important poems is answered with City Lights' The Essential Neruda, a 200-page edition that offers 50 of Neruda's key poems. The editors and translators know how to extract gold from a lifetime of prolific writing. If you want a handy Neruda companion and don't know where to begin, this is it."—Bloomsbury Review
" ...The Essential Neruda will prove to be, for most readers, the best introduction to Neruda available in English. In fact, I can think of few other books that have given me so much delight so easily. At only 234 pages (bilingual), it somehow manages to convey the fullness of Neruda's poetic arc: Reading it is like reading the autobiography of a poetic sensibility (granted, the abridged version)."—Austin Chronicle
"This book is a must-have for any reader interested in a definitive sampling of the most essential poems by one whom many consider one of the best poets of the 20th century."—Tulsa World
"What better way to celebrate the hundred years of Neruda's glorious residence on our earth than this selection of crucial works - in both languages! - by one of the greatest poets of all time. A splendid way to begin a love affair with our Pablo or, having already succumbed to his infinite charms, revisit him passionately again and again and yet again."—Ariel Dorfman, author of Konfidenz and The Nanny and the Iceberg
"If the notion had struck Pablo Neruda, I am quite sure that like Fernando Pessoa and Antonio Machado he would have given birth to what the former called heteronyms. Like Pessoa especially, Neruda can be several poets according to where he is and when and what his mood might be. It is quite fitting therefore that his work in this anthology be shared by various translators, for, ideally, a translator is but another heteronym speaking in a different tongue and at a different time. Neruda is well served here by these other voices of his."—Gregory Rabassa
The Bloomsbury Review
"The call for a more accessible collection of Neruda's important poems is answered with City Lights' The Essential Neruda, a 200-page edition that offers 50 of Neruda's key poems. The editors and translators know how to extract gold from a lifetime of prolific writing. If you want a handy Neruda companion and don't know where to begin, this is it."
Read an Excerpt
Prefatory Note by Lawrence Ferlinghetti
There have been many Pablos in history, and Pablo Neruda is one to exceed Picasso in the prolific production of great works, as well as in the depths of his proletarian empathies.
I met this Pablo in the Hotel Havana Libre (once the Havana Hilton) in 1959 in the first days of revolutionary euphoria, and that night he spoke his poetry to several thousands of multi-ethnic Fidelistas (still in combat clothes) in the great government hall where the late dictator had held forth. His rapport with the masses was evident in every poem he spoke (with standing ovations), just as poems in this book speak to us all, Spanish-speaking or not.
Neruda had told me before the reading, "I love your wide-open poetry" by which he meant, I believe, the poetry of the Beat Generation that we had published in San Francisco and some of which had been published in translation in Lunes de Revolucion (the Monday literary supplement to the big daily).
And I answered, "You opened the door." I hope this edition will open the door for the greater American public (who needs these messages). Lawrence Ferlinghetti San Francisco, January 2004