This bilingual volume is the definitive collection of the poetry of Pablo Neruda, the 1971 Nobel Prize winner and one of the most profoundly influential poets of the twentieth century. His love poems are earthy and transcendent, and his political poems are the work of a man as incisive, impassioned, and ferociously intelligent as he was sensual. Ben Belitt has drawn the 138 selections in Five Decades from all of Neruda's major works, including the early volumes Residence on Earth, General Song, Elemental Odes, Voyages and Homecomings, Book of Vagaries, A Hundred Love Sonnets, Black Island Memorial, and the later The Hands of Day, World's End, and Skystones.
About the Author
Date of Birth:July 12, 1904
Date of Death:September 23, 1973
Place of Birth:Parral, Chile
Place of Death:Santiago, Chile
Education:University of Chile, Santiago
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Five Decades: Poems, 1925-1970 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Bilingual edition, so even a very basic knowledge of Spanish demonstrates that 70% of the poetry has been leached out during the translation process.
I have found many errors in the translation. For example, in the poem 'The Enigmas' there are symbolic images in Spanish that are not present in English. One such image is a unicorn. How can a translator omit such a metaphor? I understand the translation process is difficult, but I find it is essential to include such significant components in a poem. Overall, I was disappointed. Nevertheless, for the average Neruda fan this book is worth having if nothing else.
Many people criticize Belitt's translations because they are not overtly literal. I think they miss the point, which Belitt made in his book 'Adam's Dream: A Preface to Translation.' The gist is this: since Belitt is a translator, he must adhere to certain rules and, since Belitt is also a poet, he must adhere to his rules as well. What Belitt creates are new poems which capture what he feels is the essence of the original. In this day and age, you can get a literal translation of Neruda from Spanish to English with software. Belitt is not a program, not a machine. He is a poet. And that's that.