Isla Negra: A Notebook

Overview

In the over one hundred poems contained in Isla Negra, Pablo Neruda fashioned a kind of poetic autobiography in which he set out to explore and gather the various "lives" or "selves" he had left behind him in the huge span of his writing existence. Written in his "autumnal" period, from the vantage point of Isla Negra, the small village on the Pacific coast of Chile which he came to regard as the center of his world, the book reads like a series of notes in which present and past interact, and is perhaps the most...

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Overview

In the over one hundred poems contained in Isla Negra, Pablo Neruda fashioned a kind of poetic autobiography in which he set out to explore and gather the various "lives" or "selves" he had left behind him in the huge span of his writing existence. Written in his "autumnal" period, from the vantage point of Isla Negra, the small village on the Pacific coast of Chile which he came to regard as the center of his world, the book reads like a series of notes in which present and past interact, and is perhaps the most self-confronting of all his collections.

"This bilingual collection of Nobel Prize winner Neruda's verse forms a loose poetic autobiography and a lovely complement to his prose memoirs... ."---Booklist

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374517342
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 12/1/1982
  • Pages: 432
  • Product dimensions: 5.68 (w) x 8.16 (h) x 1.24 (d)

Meet the Author

Pablo Neruda

Chilean poet Pablo Neruda (1904-73) received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1971.

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 House in the Sand
The Sea 11
The Key 12
The Agates 13
The House 14
The People 15
The Names 16
The Medusa I 17
The Anchor 19
Love for This Book 20
The Stones of Chile
Some Words for a Book of Stone 25
History 26
The Bull 28
The Dead Sailor 29
The Shipwrecked 30
Solitudes 32
Stones of Chile 34
House 36
The Blind Statue 37
Ox 39
The Harp 40
Theater of the Gods 41
The Lion 43
I Will Return 45
The Great Stone Table 46
Where the Thirsty Fell 47
The Portrait in the Rock 49
The Ship 50
The Rugged Ship 52
The Creation 53
The Tomb of Victor Hugo on Isla Negra 54
The Three Ducklings 56
The Turtle 59
The Heart of Stone 61
Air in the Stone 64
To a Wrinkled Boulder 65
The Stones and the Birds 67
To the Traveler 69
The Tender Bulk 70
Bird 71
Stones for Maria 72
Antarctic Stones 76
Nothing More 77
Seaquake
Seaquake 81
The Picoroco 83
Seaweed 84
The Sea Urchin 84
Starfish 85
Shells 85
Shells 85
Crayfish 86
Conch Shell 86
Seal 87
Anemone 87
Jaiva 88
The Bronze Dolphin 88
Octopus 89
Sun of the Sea 89
Swordfish 90
Fish Market 91
Farewell to the Offerings of the Sea 92
The Author 95
The Translators 96
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