Neruda at Isla Negra

Overview

"We were accustomed to seeing him in the morning, contemplating the Pacific Ocean . . . filling enormous notebooks with green ink. His poetry took root here, returning to the continual rebirth of the sea."-Marjorie Agosín

Few writers are as bound to place as Pablo Neruda was to the landscape and people of Isla Negra, his home from the late thirties until his death in 1973. These poems, gathered from a trilogy of books, celebrate Neruda's house, the people, the coastline, the sea and its creatures in images that ...

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Overview

"We were accustomed to seeing him in the morning, contemplating the Pacific Ocean . . . filling enormous notebooks with green ink. His poetry took root here, returning to the continual rebirth of the sea."-Marjorie Agosín

Few writers are as bound to place as Pablo Neruda was to the landscape and people of Isla Negra, his home from the late thirties until his death in 1973. These poems, gathered from a trilogy of books, celebrate Neruda's house, the people, the coastline, the sea and its creatures in images that are fundamental to an understanding of his mature work.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This collection combines three short works--House in the Sand, The Stones of Chile, and Seaquake--translated in 1986, 1990, and 1993, respectively. All three were inspired by the desolate Chilean coastline, whose marine cries and primal warnings spoke to Nobel laureate Neruda in a "hoarse and drenching language." The first part centers on the sea, which can dissolve a man like a bar of salt, and on the poet's seaside home, where he lived from 1939. On the high beams of the roof the poet carved the cherished names of dead friends, including Federico Garcia Lorca, because "their names will not slip down." The second part is reflective, inviting readers to discover for themselves the "secret of stone and of life." The poet even suggests that the comfortable silence of his stark retreat has kept him from doing more for the Communist movement. The final section is succinctly descriptive of life forms disturbed by the raging tide (seals, crabs, seaweed, starfish, and sea urchin), which, like love, is "wet, secret and hostile." Recommended wherever Neruda is popular.--Jack Shreve, Allegany Coll. of Maryland, Cumberland
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781877727832
  • Publisher: White Pine Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/1998
  • Pages: 128
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.09 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Pablo Neruda

Pablo Neruda (1904-1973) is regarded by many as one of the greatest poets of the 20th century. Born in rural Chile he moved to the capital, Santiago, and published his first book in 1923. During the 20s and 30s he served as a diplomat and was ambassador to Spain at the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. This event profoundly changed his writing style to one of addressing social and political concerns. He returned to Chile in 1938 but spent many years in exile due to political conditions. Neruda won the Nobel Prize for 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 Sea 6
The Key 8
The Agates 10
The House 12
The People 14
The Names 16
The Medusa I 18
The Anchor 22
Love for This Book 24
Some Words for a Book of Stone 29
History 30
The Bull 34
The Dead Sailor 35
The Shipwrecked 36
Solitudes 38
Stones of Chile 42
House 46
The Blind Statue 48
Ox 52
The Harp 54
Theater of the Gods 56
The Lion 58
I Will Return 60
The Great Stone Table 61
Where the Thirsty Fell 62
The Portrait in the Rock 64
The Ship 66
The Rugged Ship 68
The Creation 70
The Tomb of Victor Hugo on Isla Negra 73
The Three Ducklings 76
The Turtle 80
The Heart of Stone 84
Air in the Stone 88
To a Wrinkled Boulder 90
The Stones and the Birds 92
To the Traveler 96
The Tender Bulk 98
Bird 98
Stones for Maria 100
Antarctic Stones 106
Nothing More 108
Seaquake 110
The Picoroco 112
Seaweed 114
The Sea Urchin 114
Starfish 114
Shells 116
Crayfish 116
Conch Shell 116
Seal 118
Anemone 118
Jaiva 118
The Bronze Dolphin 120
Octopus 120
Sun of the Sea 122
Albacores 122
Fish Market 124
Farewell to the Offerings of the Sea 124
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