The Hands of Day

Overview

Pablo Neruda is one of the world’s great poets, and Copper Canyon Press has long been dedicated to publishing translations of his work in bilingual editions.

The Hands of Day—at long last translated into English in its entirety—pronounces Neruda’s desire to take part in the great human making of the day. Moved by the guilt of never having worked with his hands, Neruda opens with the despairing confession, “Why did I not make a broom? / Why was I given hands at all?” The themes ...

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Overview

Pablo Neruda is one of the world’s great poets, and Copper Canyon Press has long been dedicated to publishing translations of his work in bilingual editions.

The Hands of Day—at long last translated into English in its entirety—pronounces Neruda’s desire to take part in the great human making of the day. Moved by the guilt of never having worked with his hands, Neruda opens with the despairing confession, “Why did I not make a broom? / Why was I given hands at all?” The themes of hands and work grow in significance as Neruda celebrates the carpenters, longshoremen, blacksmiths, and bakers—those laborers he admires most—and shares his exuberant adoration for the earth and the people upon it.

Yes, I am guilty of what I did not do,
of what I did not sow, did not cut, did not measure,
of never having rallied myself to populate lands,
of having sustained myself in the deserts and of my voice speaking with the sand.

Pablo Neruda (1904–1973) was a Chilean poet and diplomat who received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1971. Recognized during his life as “a people’s poet,” he is considered one of the greatest artists of the twentieth century.

William O’Daly is the best-selling translator of six of Pablo Neruda’s books, including The Book of Questions and The Sea and the Bells. His work as a translator has been featured on The Today Show.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781556592720
  • Publisher: Copper Canyon Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/2008
  • Language: Spanish
  • Edition description: Bilingual
  • Pages: 200
  • Sales rank: 1,418,290
  • Product dimensions: 7.48 (w) x 7.16 (h) x 0.61 (d)

Meet the Author

Pablo Neruda

Pablo Neruda (1904-1973) held diplomatic posts in Asian and European countries. After joining the Communist Party, Neruda was elected to the Chilean Senate but was forced to live in exile in Mexico for several years. Eventually he established a permanent home on Isla Negra. In 1970 he was appointed as Chile's ambassador to France; in 1971 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. William O'Daly has translated six books of Pablo Neruda's late and posthumous work, including the best-selling Book of Questions. His work as a translator has been featured on The Today Show.

Biography

Pablo Neruda (1904-1973), whose real name is Neftalí Ricardo Reyes Basoalto, was born on 12 July, 1904, in the town of Parral in Chile. His father was a railway employee and his mother, who died shortly after his birth, a teacher. Some years later his father, who had then moved to the town of Temuco, remarried Doña Trinidad Candia Malverde. The poet spent his childhood and youth in Temuco, where he also got to know Gabriela Mistral, head of the girls' secondary school, who took a liking to him. At the early age of thirteen he began to contribute some articles to the daily "La Mañana," among them, Entusiasmo y Perseverancia -- his first publication -- and his first poem. In 1920, he became a contributor to the literary journal "Selva Austral" under the pen name of Pablo Neruda, which he adopted in memory of the Czechoslovak poet Jan Neruda (1834-1891). Some of the poems Neruda wrote at that time are to be found in his first published book: Crepusculario (1923). The following year saw the publication of Veinte poemas de amor y una canción desesperada, one of his best-known and most translated works. Alongside his literary activities, Neruda studied French and pedagogy at the University of Chile in Santiago.

Between 1927 and 1935, the government put him in charge of a number of honorary consulships, which took him to Burma, Ceylon, Java, Singapore, Buenos Aires, Barcelona, and Madrid. His poetic production during that difficult period included, among other works, the collection of esoteric surrealistic poems, Residencia en la tierra (1933), which marked his literary breakthrough.

The Spanish Civil War and the murder of García Lorca, whom Neruda knew, affected him strongly and made him join the Republican movement, first in Spain, and later in France, where he started working on his collection of poems España en el corazón (1937). The same year he returned to his native country, to which he had been recalled, and his poetry during the following period was characterized by an orientation towards political and social matters. España en el corazón had a great impact by virtue of its being printed in the middle of the front during the civil war.

In 1939, Neruda was appointed consul for the Spanish emigration, residing in Paris, and, shortly afterwards, consul general in Mexico, where he rewrote his "Canto general de Chile," transforming it into an epic poem about the whole South American continent, its nature, its people and its historical destiny. This work, entitled Canto general, was published in Mexico 1950, and also underground in Chile. It consists of approximately 250 poems brought together into fifteen literary cycles and constitutes the central part of Neruda's production. Shortly after its publication, Canto general was translated into some ten languages. Nearly all these poems were created in a difficult situation, when Neruda was living abroad.

In 1943, Neruda returned to Chile, and in 1945 he was elected senator of the Republic, also joining the Communist Party of Chile. Due to his protests against President González Videla's repressive policy against striking miners in 1947, he had to live underground in his own country for two years until he managed to leave in 1949. After living in different European countries he returned home in 1952. A great deal of what he published during that period bears the stamp of his political activities; one example is Las uvas y el viento (1954), which can be regarded as the diary of Neruda's exile. In Odas elementales (1954-1959) his message is expanded into a more extensive description of the world, where the objects of the hymns -- things, events and relations -- are duly presented in alphabetic form.

Neruda's production is exceptionally extensive. For example, his Obras completas, constantly republished, comprised 459 pages in 1951; in 1962 the number of pages was 1,925, and in 1968 it amounted to 3,237, in two volumes. Among his works of the last few years can be mentioned Cien sonetos de amor (1959), which includes poems dedicated to his wife, Matilde Urrutia, Memorial de Isla Negra, a poetic work of an autobiographic character in five volumes, published on the occasion of his sixtieth birthday, Arte de pajáros (1966), La Barcarola (1967), the play Fulgor y muerte de Joaquín Murieta (1967), Las manos del día (1968), Fin del mundo (1969), Las piedras del cielo (1970), and La espada encendida.

Pablo Neruda died in 1973.

© The Nobel Foundation 1971

Good To Know

Always a political activist, Neruda was an anarchist for a time, but joined the Communist Party of Chile in 1945. He actually ran for president of Chile but eventually left the race to support Salvador Allende.

He had three wives throughout his lifetime: Mar a Antonieta Hagenaar, Delia de Carril, and Matilde Urrutia. He married Mar in 1930, but they divorced in 1936. He lived with Carril from the 1930s until they divorced in 1955 (they married in 1943). In 1966, he married Urrutia.

Neruda owned three homes in Chile that are open today as museums: "La Chascona" in Santiago, "La Sebastiana" in Valpara, and "Casa de Isla Negra" in Isla Negra, where he and his third wife, Matilde Urrutia, are buried.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Neftalí Ricardo Reyes Basoalto (real name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      July 12, 1904
    2. Place of Birth:
      Parral, Chile
    1. Date of Death:
      September 23, 1973
    2. Place of Death:
      Santiago, Chile

Table of Contents

The Guilty One 3

Emptiness 7

Sitting Down 11

Negative Hands 15

Forgetting 17

A House 21

The Cold 23

The Bell Ringer 25

Destinies 29

The Traveler 31

The Absent Ones 33

Star in Daylight 37

Child of the Moon 41

The Central Hand 45

Cycle 49

Goodbyes 51

Close to the Knives 53

Returning 59

Bird 61

The Sun 63

The Weeping 67

He Who Sang Will Sing 71

The Sovereigns 75

Enigma with a Flower 79

28325674549 81

The Moon 85

The Choir 87

The Body of the Hand 91

Nocturnal Birth 93

The Bottom 95

The Traveler 97

The Ceremony 99

Early 103

Use of the Days 105

Seal of the Plow 107

They Are Questions 109

Semen 111

Such Is Destiny 113

We Drown 115

In Vietnam 117

Despite 123

A Beetle 125

J.S. 129

Bad Writers 131

Building at Noon 133

The Blow 135

The Twelve 137

The Curved Bridge of the Maldonado Bar in Uruguay 139

House of Manteras in Punta del Este 143

Dead Portraits 147

It Is Simple 149

The Rain 151

Morals 153

Not Everything Is Now 155

The Shadow 159

A Certain Man, His Own Beast 161

The Hands of the Days 163

The Past 165

The Wine 167

Verb 169

Song 171

Other Gods 173

Winter 177

The Patient Sunbathes 179

I Know Nothing 181

Suburbs 183

The Gift 187

The Flag 191

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